I Am Kept

Kept in Perfect Peace?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV

Perfect peace. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often have perfect peace.  I am far more often kept in a state of fretfulness.  And as we’ve explored being “kept” this week, my heart has been drawn to this verse.  It’s a promise with a catch. We can be kept in perfect peace only if our minds are “stayed” on God, trusting in Him.

So, following the logic here, it appears that my mind is not stayed on God, because I’m not peaceful. My mind does anything but stay anywhere.  It flits from one subject to another, from one unfulfilled desire to the next, from this problem to that one.  Worry creeps in, entangling me.

I am my own keeper. And I’m doing a lousy job of it.  I’m ready to allow God to do the keeping.

And so, I must choose to focus on Him, not on all the things I want or need. I must trust Him to meet my true needs instead of trying frantically to devise ways to meet them myself, worrying that I’m using the wrong means to get to my end.  I must learn to find contentment with Him alone, not in any other thing or person.

When I look at God instead of my problems – ah, there it is. Peace.  And He’ll keep me in it, as long as I keep my mind “stayed” on Him.  His faithfulness.  His sufficiency.  His trustworthiness. He is a bottomless pool of peace.  May I choose to swim in it today, tomorrow, next month and 10 years from now.

Peace.

I am seeking His kingdom

Seeking, Worrying and Money

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:24-25, 27, 33 NIV

What can I add to Jesus’ beautiful, soul-piercing words?  I find myself at a loss, perhaps because these verses are so convicting to me.

Worry is a familiar enemy of mine, one that feels like a friend.  And I often … far too often … worry about the stuff Jesus lists in these verses.  And, at least for me, worry masquerades as “repsonsbile parenthood.” I sit and ponder how my husband and I can provide better for our kids or about which situation would make life easier.  But isn’t spending tons of mental energy on those questions just worry in disguise?

Jesus clearly tells me here that I should not be seeking a more comfortable life.  I should instead spend my time thinking about, striving for, the things that advance his Kingdom.  And sometimes, perhaps even often, seeking God’s kingdom first makes life more uncomfortable. Less ideal.

And yet, he tells me to do it – to seek His Kingdom before I seek my own comfort, before I seek the things money can buy me.  And he promises that he’ll provide for my physical needs if I’ll just stop focusing on them.

Jen and I started this week with the end of the passage I chose for today.  And I’ve been dwelling on it ever since.  Jesus tied “seeking his Kingdom,” which sounds so lofty and spiritual, to two very common-place, tangible “don’ts.” Don’t worry.  Don’t seek money. Period.

And I need to remember that.  How about you?