The shock of the current crisis is weighing down on us. Beyond the unknowns to the health and well-being of our family and friends, we are experiencing serious economic consequences as those in authority are shutting down commerce. I am seeing anger starting to crop up around me and in me, too! Anger is a close cousin of fear. When we are afraid we are wired to respond with ‘fight or flight.’
Many, when feeling helpless, in circumstances that are beyond their control, feel building hostility, real, but unfocused at first. That pent up anger looks for a place to go, a person to blame. Before we know it, we’re mad at the supermarket for empty shelves, or those people who are hoarding toilet paper, or our spouse, or kids – and we say or do things that become regrettable, or worse, destructive to people and relationships.
Knowing this, let’s choose a different road, for the sake of Jesus and others. In the Word this morning, my meditation formed around this passage. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15, NIV)
I love the wisdom of our Creator that is revealed in that passage. We cannot just ignore anger or even repress it for very long. We have to deal with its source, which is about how we feel about ourselves. People who are strong and whole emotionally, do not have to use anger as a means of regaining control or soothing themselves when they are powerless. That is why the passage begins by reminding the Christian of his true identity! “God’s chosen … holy … dearly loved.”
In this crisis, those are key truths to keep front and center of our thoughts.
God owns me and you, having chosen us in Christ Jesus to become His children. So, take your fear to your Father! Leave it with Him, expecting Him to show you the way forward. Jesus promised that if we ask for bread, our Father will not give us a stone. He has made us ‘holy,’ a much misunderstood idea. Holy means we are people selected to serve His unique purpose.
Instead of letting all of this overwhelm us with a sense of futility, we can pray and ask God, “How do you want to use me in all of this? What’s the plan?” We start by caring, listening, empathizing, praying earnestly to reflect the heart of Jesus to others, self-sacrificially. Interestingly, Jesus says that when ‘we lose our life for His sake, we find a whole new kind of life’ one richer and fuller than we can imagine. We are ‘dearly loved.’ The lie that the Evil One wants us to believe is that God does not care, has abandoned us. He has not. Even His discipline is administered from a place of profound love.
All of the rest of that passage flows out of the truth of our identity in Christ Jesus – chosen, holy, beloved! If we don’t start there, we cannot make it to “let the peace of Christ rule.”
This Monday morning take Jesus’ offer of love and let Him be Lord of life. The truth is that “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12, NIV) The child of God gains great expectation and hope. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18, NIV)
So, let the peace of Christ rule your heart; not in denial of reality, not in minimizing the very real challenges, but as you pray to live your identity – chosen, holy, beloved – because that is who you are.
Here is a word from the Word. I’m receiving and believing – will you? “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” (1 John 4:18-19, The Message)
(listen to this great song and let faith grow)
When darkness tries to roll over my bones
When sorrow comes to steal the joy I own
When brokenness and pain is all I know
I won’t be shaken I won’t be shaken
My fear doesn’t stand a chance
When I stand in Your love
Shame no longer has a place to hide
I am not a captive to the lies
I’m not afraid to leave my past behind
I won’t be shaken I won’t be shaken
There’s power that can break off every chain
There’s power that can empty out a grave
There’s resurrection power that can save
There’s power in Your name power in Your name
Standing in Your love
Ethan Hulse | Josh Baldwin | Mark Harris | Rita Springer
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