The Thief is often after the Spirit's fruit in our lives, trying to pluck peace right off the branches. He's sneaky too, as I well know. As soon as this baker turns her back, he, like a conniving child, deftly approaches the window to swipe the cooling pie. Before I realize what is happening, my peace is gone and I am left rather twisted up inside.
Breathing in and out only seems to go so far as I prepare to face the day with this contorted pretzel of a heart. When it is 7 am, and I am already asking 'How fast can I get through the day so I can start all over tomorrow?', something has gone seriously awry.
An Imitator knows what to do though. An Imitator hears the whispers of the Spirit, "Be anxious for nothing" and her frantic fingers frolic to Philippians 4 so she can see the words she has read a million times. An imitator reads about the "guarding" nature of the peace of God. The kind of militant guarding that protects the heart and the mind from enemy attacks as well as keeps her from wanting to flee from what should keep her safe--i.e. the peace of her God. She begins to understand that His peace is about remaining in close connection with her Protector.
Ah, the List. Yet another familiar verse boldly leaping off the page telling her that the way to rid herself of "pretzel heart" is to think on the Far Better, the Greater Eternal things. How many are there? Eight...the number of hours in a typical work day. It doesn't escape her that she knows she needs Him every hour. What if each hour of this Everest-sized work day was spent thinking on each of those different things?
What is true? God is good, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, gracious and true. He never fails or forsakes. His Word is The Truth in a world of falsehood. He whispers those truths.
What is honorable? Prayer for those saints that need it. Noble actions I can take even this hour that put another above myself.
What is right? The Biblical calls to justice. Fighting for the weak, encouraging the fainthearted, Valiant ways of upholding God's standard. The zeal of the Lord to protect the innocent.
What is pure? Void of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride in possessions. Conversations free from gossip, slander, malice, coarse joking, complaining. Filled with holiness and clean motives.
What is lovely? All the lovable things God has made from nature to laughter.
What is commendable? Gracious thoughts towards others which can start by dwelling on the gracious nature of God Himself. Forgiveness. Favorable thoughts toward God, others, and even self.
What is excellent? Ethics, virtues, morals. The power of God.
What is worthy of praise? Why, none other than God Himself and His deeply diverse character.
There isn't much room for empty calories when her thoughts can feed on such valuable nutrition. When she takes all of "these things" into account, how can every passing hour not be fully satisfied in His rich peace? If this is what brings the "peace that surpasses understanding," then oh! may she willingly choose to set her mind on things that are above and not on things that are on earth.
For that will make any Imitator a better copy of the Original.
Anyone who really knows me can tell you that I love making lists. Some of the best gifts I've received have been pads of paper which seem to be waiting to be blessed by my next bit of brilliance or, more often, by strokes of the mundane and material that crowd my mind like...errands. I'm not sure why detailing brings me such delight but it does. The funny thing is that I still nearly always forget something, and it is usually the most crucial of all. Isn't that how it goes?
There is not much I can say that I have "mastered." Okay, maybe only one thing that would even come close, but trust me, "mastery" is the poorest of words to describe my fumbling attempts. Despite years of studying Spanish, I lack the fluency that would shock a native speaker, unlike my Dad and Grandpa. I remember being close once, and I could tell it was within my tongue's grasp when my dreams began to take on the dialect, albeit at a snail's pace. But alas (or was it hallelujah?), my family returned to the United States, and I was free from having to actually integrate the idiom of the island into my interactions.
In case you haven't figured it out, I am an artist. Now, I can't speak for all artists, but for myself, the idea part of the whole process actually yields the greatest joy. Then, comes...well, quite honestly, then comes torture. The torture of execution (Enjoy that wordplay for a moment. I did. ). In order for the vision to become a reality, certain actions must be taken. If I do nothing, well, then I have sent the idea straight to the grisly guillotine. And yes, my mind has many a tombstone marked "Died Before It Saw Light."
So, why am I telling you all of this? Because I see how often I fail to be thorough. I carry so few things through until completion. I fail to remember and recall details, and the only thing I suppose I am absolute about is truth. No matter how hard I try I just keep right on being imperfect, less than, sub par.
But then I look at HIM.
My God is so thorough that He always finishes what He starts (Phil 1:6).
My God is so thorough that He covers my sin completely at the cross(Heb. 2:17).
My God is so thorough that He saves to the uttermost because He continues forever (Heb. 7:25).
My God is so thorough that He satisfies like the richest of food (Ps. 63:5).
My God is so thorough that His death abolished sin forever (1 Cor. 15:56-57).
My God is so thorough that even His PATIENCE is perfect (1 Tim. 1:16).
My God is so thorough that no detail escapes His attention (Heb. 4:13).
And that is just the beginning. My God is the Master because He literally invented everything; so of course He masters it (whatever it is) like none other, and because even death had no dynamite power over Him (Acts 2:24).
Can I get a hallelujah?!!!!!
So guess what, this THOROUGH MASTER lives IN me. When His DEFT SKILLS reign in me, what could not be accomplished? I mean, seriously, IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? Is not my heart safe in the hands of such a MASTER ARTIST who will mold it after His own heart? His thoroughness proves He will never leave or forsake because IT IS LITERALLY AGAINST HIS NATURE.
What a mighty God I serve!
Amen and amen.
Brittany Van Ryn
Working out thoughts with HIM.