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.
Brittany Van Ryn
Working out thoughts with HIM.