Despite external circumstances, I find that I am able to experience the peace of God in a deep and sustaining way. This is indeed a blessing.
However, I believe that this experience is a direct byproduct of adhering to one of God’s main commandments in the Bible: Do not worry (Philippians 4:6-7).
Practically speaking, I’m learning that the only way I can refrain from worrying is by deliberately focusing my mind, my will, and my emotions outside of myself. This allows me to move in a way that emphasizes meeting the needs of others, rather than fixating on my own personal issues.
Indeed, the Bible has something to say about this:
This kind of love is a choice. Is it one that you are wilimg to take on? Are you willing to be fervent in your love for others?
The dictionary defines “fervent” in this way:
- very hot: glowing;
- exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling: zealous.
So I have to ask myself the following questions: is my love for others “hot and glowing”? (note that I interpret these words as statements of intensity, rather than taking them literally). Is my regard for others intentional? Do I really care about them? Can others tell that I care?
I had the opportunity to experience this recently. I had had a fairly busy day, I was preparing to head home and rest for a bit. I had already exercised that morning, and was looking forward to some quiet time at home. As I was in the car, all of a sudden the Lord bought a person to mind – not someone I know particularly well – and suggested that I do something that I thought was completely ridiculous.
In my spirit, I sensed the Lord telling me quite clearly to go back to the exercise studio and take this woman’s class. Understand that I had already taken one of her classes in the morning, and going to another one – this one focused on cardio, while the morning class emphasized strength training – simply didn’t make any sense. I’ve learned that when ideas like these pop into my mind, they’re generally from the Lord.
So I decided to go for it. I came home, briefly stretched, changed my clothes, and returned to the exercise studio. The instructor had had a long day of teaching, and what I sensed in my spirit was that she was feeling a bit depleted and isolated.
When I walked into the workout room, the instructor looked delighted. She was touched and surprised that I returned her class in the evening, and really appreciated my time. At the end of the class, she said something publicly that caught me off-guard:
“Thanks for coming back this evening, Daily. Love ya, girl!”
The fact that she called me “girl” is a whole other issue/pet-peeve that I won’t get into at this time. 😮 However, it was clear to me that my returning to the instructor’s class meant a lot to her. The look on her face when I walked into the workout room said it all!
This may not seem like a big deal, but I realize now that this small act of Spirit-prompted kindness touched this woman in a meaningful way. She simply couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that I would come back to her class again, just so she wouldn’t feel alone as she went through her day.
However, if I had only been focused on my needs, I would’ve stayed home. I would’ve thought, “I don’t really know this woman. Why should I bother to go back? After all, I already worked out this morning.” All very logical, and all quite correct. But since when has the Lord been constrained by human logic?
And seeing the look on her face and was a real blessing for me, too. It made me happy to know that she felt appreciated. I realized that I care about her as well, even though we are not well acquainted. After all, you don’t need to know someone well in order to care about her; rather, you simply decide to show her God’s love in an authentic way, and then watch what happens.
I encourage you to be sensitive to the Spirit’s guidance, and respond in faithful obedience when He asks you to express His love to somebody in a way that seems completely illogical and/or ridiculous. Always pray for wisdom, of course, and then step back and watch Him work!
Dear Lord, help me to be faithful and fervent in expressing my care and concern for others – even when doing so seems silly and illogical. Remind me to always seek Your wisdom first, and then trust You to work out the details of the situation.
Thank You for loving me fervently, even in times early in my walk with You when we weren’t terribly “well acquainted”. Remind me that I am able to love others fervently because You first loved me in this way. You always take the initiative to express Your love to me, so I am supernaturally empowered to do the same for others.
Please help me to respond in timely obedience to Your clear guidance, even (especially?) when doing so seems odd and/or inconvenient. In Your name I pray, Amen.