November 27, 2012

Not easily moved

Sometimes I’m like the duck that seems to be placidly swimming along the water without a care in the world, but under the surface is paddling like crazy. Sometimes I’m like the sparrow who is nested without a ruffle in the cleft of a rock while a storm rages all around her. Sometimes I’m like all three kinds of people in the world; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, “What happened?” 

Today’s devotional reading makes another suggestion about people and their relationship to the world and its events. It says that the people that move the world are those who do not let the world move them.

The first Christians were movers and shakers. At one point, Paul and his helpers went into a synagogue in Thessalonica and preached the gospel for a few weeks. Some were convinced and joined them, but others were jealous. They gathered a mob and set the city in an uproar. Then they attacked the home of Jason, thinking they would find Paul and his men there.

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” (Acts 17:6)

Christianity was making an impact on the world. Those who believed also demonstrated changed lives. Religious leaders were jealous. The makers of idols felt threatened. Some were angry simply because the gospel declared they were sinners. They pushed hard against Christians, yet the Christians were “turning the world upside down.”

Later, Paul met with the elders at the church of Ephesus. He knew that as he continued his work of sharing the gospel, he would experience persecution, imprisonment and afflictions. His answer to that was…

None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

I can relate to these two verses, but only a little, and only part of the second one. I’m far from being someone who moves the world, but God has given me a tremendous sense of serenity in almost any situation. That is, the world is not able to easily move me. 

Part of the reason for this is how God impresses truth in my heart. As a new Christian, He showed me something that has sustained my faith for more than forty years…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28–29)

By knowing God was able to use all things to change my life, I began looking at how I could change my own life and attitudes rather than how I could fix my situation. In that, there is peace. As I learn and experience His sovereignty and grace, trusting Him is easier, and in trusting Him there is peace. 

Again, I sometimes paddle like crazy or huddle in fright in the storms, or recoil from life saying “what happened” but for the most part He keeps me unmoved and at peace. I know who is in charge, so no matter what happens, He will make it right.

Thank You, Jesus.

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