LIVING ON PURPOSE: Joy and peace are a state of mind
By William F. Holland Jr., DD., C. ED.D.
Ordained/Licensed Christian minister
Fear and stress are often blamed for ruining our contentment and happiness, but anxiety is not an uncontrollable monster that forces us to be afraid. Actually, these negative responses originate from within our own beliefs. In this light, pessimism is a personal decision that will continue to influence our thinking until a new system of thought processing is installed.
The Bible says in the book of Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the views of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Simply stated, this verse is generally talking about interpreting our views through the lens of God’s Word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rather than through the lens of our emotions, past experiences, or the opinions of others. Recognizing our patterns and tendencies to be gloomy can explain why we react in certain ways and help us improve our pessimistic attitudes. Asking God to help us re-wire our minds is the key to learning how to trust Him as changing the way we think will change who we are as we demonstrate a life that honors Him.
The recent decline in our economy is now at the point where many are feeling stressed and worried. My wife and I have noticed our home and auto insurance is climbing along with a significant increase in our utility bills and property taxes. With mortgage interest rates rising, we are seeing home sales slowing down and subsequently real estate prices are falling. We have concerns about shortages, along with the rising cost of food and fuel and it only makes sense that as the cost of operating a business increases, they must raise prices to maintain a profit. Some are indeed jumping on the price-gouging wagon, but nonetheless, our world is currently not heading in a good direction.
We can look back in history and see there are ups and downs in the stock markets and inflation, but whether enjoying prosperity or experiencing difficulties, it’s wise to remember that God is our source and it’s more secure to place our truth in Him than any earthly government. We are not to ignore what is going on, but the way we live is not based on a political party, it’s standing for truth and doing what is right in God’s eyes. It only makes things worse to blame others or to argue about the condition of our nation. We must realize that it is Satan who manipulates humans and his purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy which includes wreaking havoc on economies, creating division, and causing people to suffer. However, the Lord promises in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
People talk about going to their “happy place” a seemingly magical location where we can take shelter from whatever is threatening our security. But what is this about? It can mean different things to different people but for those who have a relationship with God, it’s a place in the deepest part of our conscience where we can commune with God and embrace the safety and joy of His presence. It is said that trying times are not the times to stop trying and that we can either give up or get up. Often when people face serious challenges in life, they lose hope rather than persevere in faith. We are reminded in Psalm 91:1, “They who dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
In first Samuel chapter 3, it says that David found strength in the Lord, which means he encouraged himself. He was facing one of the most difficult challenges of his life, and no one was around to encourage him. There will be times when no one is around to counsel or give us a pep talk, and it’s during these seasons that we will need to embrace God’s promises for ourselves. Whether it be an emotional, psychological or spiritual issue, we can either be in control of our thoughts or our assumptions will control us. When we receive God’s wisdom it allows us to see life from His positive perspective which is never associated with fear, depression, or hopelessness.
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