Have any of you heard of Tim Keller? I hadn't before the other night. My friend Ashley invited me to listen to him speak at her church on Wednesday and I am glad I did!
He is a pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC and was here in Dallas speaking for a night. He talked about worry/anxiousness... Something everyone can benefit from.
He started off with Philippians 4:4-9
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
What a great verse, right? He went on to talk about Paul and how he had the peace that passes all understanding. Think about Paul. He had people after him to kill him. KILL him. Paul's secret to having this peace from God is by LEARNING AND PRACTICING. Seems simple, huh? It can be, but a lot of times we just go about it the wrong ways.
He said, Peace is not an absence of negative thoughts, but the presence of God. Think about that one for a minute. HOW TRUE.
SO, how do we Learn and Practice? 3 Steps...
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
He talked about how we need to THANK God while we're sitting there asking him for this and that. So many times, we thank him after we get something. Gosh, what if we're always praying for the wrong things and never get what we want because of that - we would never be thanking God!
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Keller went on to talk about worry in self help books. Normally, we'll read these books and get the advice to pamper ourselves or take some time to just relax and free our minds. These books don't tell us to stop and think about the big things like Why am I here? What is my purpose? What happens after I die? You would think this would just be a bigger stressor and for some, it is! For the believer though, we should. Look to this verse. It says to THINK. Think about whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable = JESUS. If we stop to think about our BASIC TRUTHS, everything can be put back into perspective. Think about this though. For a non-believer, the best thing for them when stressed or worried...etc. is to NOT think! If you don't have that foundation from the Lord and his promises of Eternal Life, then it would be awful to think about these big questions.
...whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...
I forget who said this, but basically, their thought was: Don't love anything too much. Don't give your heart away. Anxiety comes from doing this. Then, your heart won't break.
Well, C.S. Lewis said:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
So what do we do?
Love God More. If you're always loving something that's changeable, you will never be at peace, but loving one that NEVER changes will bring just that.
But, you can't just say, ok, I'm going to start loving God more now. You can't make yourself fall in love with someone if you don't have anything there to fall in love with. That's why it's SO SO SO important to Get To Know Him. Get to know who he REALLY is. Start your own relationship with him, not just what you've heard from others. And keep it going.
In Jesus' last hours, he prayed and prayed, he sweat blood, he was hung on a cross and said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus lost his peace in those last hours because of the separation he was feeling from the Lord. Jesus lost his peace FOR US. Now THAT is a characteristic to LOVE. (Did I word that weird? Do you know what I mean?)
Bottom line, look to Jesus for the peace that passes all understanding.
I wish you all could have been there to hear him, because my diddly notes don't do it justice.