Christ-Following 101

CARLINVILLE (Feb. 8, 2018) — “Therefore, dear friends, keep your relationship with the Lord firm! Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:1-7).

A little girl ended her bedtime prayer with, “Dear God, I need you to please take care of mommy, take care of daddy, take care of my sister and my brother and please, please, God, take care of yourself, because if you don’t we’re all sunk. Amen!”

And there you have it, the bottom line of life: without God’s power we are all sunk. When the power of God is unleashed in a life, that life takes on certain characteristics: Love beyond human capability. Patience beyond human control. Peace beyond human understanding.

It is in his power that we will find true peace. When I think of a peaceful person, I tend to think of someone in silent, still and prayerful meditation with a cloud of tranquility hovering overhead. Not necessarily. The Apostle Paul was a man of peace, and he was anything but tranquil and still. As I study Paul’s life, I have the sense that he lived as if a helicopter was always landing nearby. When he wrote his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul was in jail, facing possible execution, and still we find him writing a letter filled with joy and peace.

If we want to know God’s power to give unimaginable peace, we must first know God. If you have a personal relationship with God, then you have access to all of His power and all of His peace through the Holy Spirit.

I have the most amazing daughter. One afternoon several years ago, when she was 3 or 4 years old, she and I were driving though our neighborhood. Every time I would come to intersection I would routinely ask her “Where do I turn now?” as I sought to test her knowledge of where we lived and how to get home. At one intersection, Annie looks each direction for some sort of landmark she recognized. Seeing her puzzled I asked, “Annie, are you lost? Sure sounds to me like you’re lost, sweetheart.” With a confident grin, and a twinkle in her eye Annie looks at me and responded, “Nope. I can’t be lost. I’m with you.”

Wow! What a lesson of how we should be with God. We come into this world with an ache in our soul, a longing in our heart and a deep feeling of being lost and looking for something to fill that God-shaped hole in us. We try to satisfy that longing and eliminate that ache. We keep looking for home. We can only find our true home and true peace when we find God.

You may not know where you are, or where you are going, but if you are traveling with God, you can’t get lost.

Christ-Following 101 is written by Tim Rhodus, Lead Pastor of Cross Church, Carlinville-Staunton-Hettick, thecrossmatters.org, timrhodus.com.