A man can’t always be defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.
~ C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, 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. Whatever 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…. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
~ paul, The Least of the Apostles in Philippians 4
So often it is true beloved. We are trying to convince ourselves of the goodness of our good G_d. So often we are trying to convince others that this goodness is true.
Yet, so often there are those moments where we feel like perhaps the goodness is not true. We begin to listen to the rational words of rational people around us who speak that perhaps our faith is just a little bit too hyperbolic.
And in our minds we (as we doff His helmet) we receive those fiery darts laced with the messages that really only say one thing: Did G_d really say? And the doubt begins to burn deeply.
And then the old man within us begins to whine for attention. Oh, that old man will scream for attention; both screaming and lying that if we but listen for just a moment, he will go away… but that old dead self neither requires (nor deserves) digging up, attention, analysis, validation, recognition, sustenance, encouragement, financing, or friends. His Word makes it abundantly clear that that old man has gone. Period.
What to do?
Stop trying to believe. Stop trying to convince ourselves… and simply allow Him to be who He has named Himself. For, beloved, He Is Who He Is. He is YHWH-Jireh. He has named Himself the G_d Who Provides. For, it is He who is True and Noble and Just and Pure and Lovely and Admirable and Good and Right and Excellent and Worthy of Praise.
Can we see it?
Paul was not asking us to think about a few of our favorite things so that we might maintain some sort of happiness. No, paul demanded that the only thing to do was to keep the One who is all of these things the very epicenter of our thinking. We are to fully commit our thinking to Him and His goodness. We are to consecrate our minds to a single purpose. And it is in fully committing our thinking to Him and everything about Him – that this peace that passes understanding becomes tangible reality in our lives.
It is vital for us to keep also in mind that the Gospel is an infinite proposition. It does not work in amounts (neither small nor large). We will either live in Christ, or we will not. There are no degrees of victory in a Christian’s life. We are either winning, or being defeated. Balance is a myth. Obsession with Christ and a view of total death-to-self are the normal state of a healthy believer. We must live with a mindset that there are no boundaries to what we will allow G_d to do in and through our lives. ONLY then, will the “outlandish” claims of Scripture (like “fullness of joy” and “peace that passes all understanding”) begin to actually make sense and show up in our lives.
Do we want it?
Simple test: Got peace? If no, then our lives are not consecrated to Him. Too simple? Sorry, gentle reader, this writer won’t even belabor the point. We know it’s true; Both those of us Christians who have found true Peace in Him, AND those who have not.