“For he himself IS our peace, …” (Ephesians 2:14a). There it is, the gauge by which to measure our “peace.” When we are feeling uptight, stressed, irritable, anxious, fearful, or a myriad of other emotions, we need to take a close look at our gauge. I have learned over the years that when I am experiencing any of the above emotions, it is because at the moment I have taken my eyes (my focus) OFF my Lord and I am LOCKED in to a stare down with my circumstances. That’s a sure guarantee of a downward spiral. I have the choice to continue spiraling OR to stop it in its tracks. How do I do that?
One method that helps me is that of music. Songs sing to the soul. Deeper than words can be, songs swim to the bottom of our soul’s sea. Listening to music that tells of the Lord’s love and faithfulness re-enforces what my spirit knows but what my mind – or my fickle emotions - may be challenging (as in… will He REALLY be faithful in THIS circumstance even though He’s NEVER failed me before?). I sing songs that focus on Him and His character. I make up songs that tell Him how much I love Him and how thankful I am for Him being the loving, faithful, caring God He is - this in spite of my circumstances.
I cannot focus 100% on Him and my circumstances at the same time. Circumstances often feel like they have heavy anchors attached to them that are trying to pull me down, down, down. But, as I take my eyes off them, focusing upward, the weights slip off and I have brought my natural man, my 'self' under submission, and I am honoring Him by this action. This brings Him much pleasure and delight. And, somehow… I feel strengthened. I have won a war against myself.
“The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey him; serve Him and HOLD FAST to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:3b-4). Even ‘circumstances’ do not happen to us without His Sovereign permission.
God already knows how much we love Him and are committed to Him. He knows not only our thoughts before we think them but the motives behind them. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It is we, ourselves, who will learn what we truly believe and what is within our heart of hearts. So the next time your circumstances try to get a death grip on your mind and emotions… sing!