On Day 13 of 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, Tommy Newberry reminds us Christians that being full of joy, peaceful and unruffled by the world’s circumstances is the way to make non-believers sit up and take notice. They will want what we’ve got.
This message is certainly a word for a time such as this.
The Corona virus in the US has surpassed 800 cases and 27 deaths. The world is in a panic as countries try to contain this deadly virus. Oil prices have fallen and the stock market has crashed. There is a world-wide sense of panic. How can Christians remain at peace in the face of all the bad news?
Sometimes I hear a whisper in my spirit of a snippet of a verse that sends me to the Word (or google, really the best search engine for those of us who can never remember where the verses in our heads live in the Bible.) This morning I heard, “A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, But danger will not come near you.” Turns out that is from Psalm 91 (AMP). Sixteen verses famous for their promises of safety in the middle of dire circumstances. In times like these, if we are to be an example to those who do not know our God, we must stand firm in our faith and believe those promises.
Newberry has been admonishing us to practice the 4:8 Principle of thinking about the good things in our lives. The process of focusing on the good things starts by off-loading our fears and worries to God. Philippians 4:6-7 (AMP) advises us, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation]; by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests know to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Only in this peaceful state is it possible to think confidently about good things.
The Amplifed Version of Philippians 8 adds more meat to the subject of where we are to focus our minds stating, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”
The assignment for Day 13 is to think about ways you’ve handled your less-than-joyous recent moments, and then some times when you clearly shared your joy with the world. Finally, Newberry urges us to jot down a few ideas for improving this area over the next month or so.
I suggest that the next month or so, those around you are going to need your joyful example more than ever. As Christians we must arm ourselves with the Word of God and His promises so that when every outlet blasts the bad news we can calmly retort with the Good News. We will certainly need the peace that stands guard over our hearts and minds. Jesus never promised us a problem free life. In fact, He was clear that we would have many trials and sorrows but comforted us with the reminder that He has overcome every difficulty (John 16:33 NLT).
How do you hold on to peace in crazy times like these?