“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all you do be done with love.” I Corinthians 16:13-14
I had chosen the verse for this week’s blog early, but when I saw that the Rhododendrons along the creek were blooming, I had to add the blooming metaphor to the post. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the post!
We all deal with stresses and troubles on a daily basis. After all Jesus promised, “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b Our calendars are full. We have jobs and responsibilities at home and church. We have commitments to volunteer, to help a neighbor or friend, to chauffeur our children to their activities. Are you stressed yet? Just thinking about all that has to be accomplished in a day is overwhelming! We feel out of control and stressed and struggling.
But God’s word offers us advice and directions on handling the troubles of the world. The above verse written by Paul to the church at Corinth is one of my favorites.
First, “watch”- I try to take a step back and take a deep breath and look at the “tribulations” that are causing me anxiety. What part is stressing me out? Why am I worried? Who will I have to interact with?
Second, “stand fast in the faith”- I remind myself that I am not alone. I don’t have to depend only on my abilities (which are sadly lacking). Because of my faith in God and all His promises, I have help in handling the world and its problems. I say a short prayer and invite God into my day. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” I Peter 5:7 It can be amazing; the peace that comes when I share my burdens with the Lord!
Third, “be brave” – I have fears. I am afraid I might offend someone or I’m worried that I’ll say the wrong thing or I’m afraid that I will let people down. But it is God that gives me the courage to handle my fears and to move through my day with Him by my side. When I am afraid, He makes me brave.
Fourth, “be strong”- Sometimes I would rather just give up or put off what is difficult or stressful. I am weak, but God gives me the strength and persistence to carry on. When I am weak, He makes me strong.
Fifth, “let all you do be done with love” – Wow! This is the game changer. Just as I feel God’s love for me, I try (sometimes it is difficult!) to pass that love on in each interaction or task or situation. When I treat people with kindness, respect and love, they most always respond in kind. And tasks aren’t nearly as daunting when I do them as a service to those God, and I, love.
God’s love is what changes our lives from stressful and struggling and overwhelming to beautiful and fragrant and blooming! This blog exists because I rely on God to give me the faith and courage and strength and love to carry on.
This week let’s follow Paul’s advice instead of relying only on our own abilities. Let’s invite God into our days, our weeks, and our lives. God will make us faithful, brave, strong, loving and blooming!
I thank God for each of you. And I thank you for “blooming” with me this week!