In many ways, this has felt like a long season. So many of the rhythms and routines of our lives have been disrupted, dismantled, or canceled. Milestones, celebrations, and times of mourning bear little resemblance to plans or dreams. Disease, unrest, sorrow, frustration, anger, confusion, exasperation, fear, numbness…have I hit on anything you can relate to yet?
Our home is typically a revolving door for meetings, shared meals, neighbors and friends, game nights, and other occasions. Up to recently, it’s usually been “just us Floods” or a couple of people joining us, socially distanced on the patio or through Zoom, which prior to March of 2020, I thought was a children’s show from the 70s.
However, I’ve noticed that we still have visitors on a daily basis—bold, unmasked, and ready to afflict and infect. Worry. Fear. Impatience. Judging. Selfishness. Grudges. Apathy. Anger…all arriving with their obnoxious friends and relatives.
If I’m not vigilant, I usher them right into my home and my heart. And, boy, aren’t they just tickled pink to saunter in, plop on the sofa, kick off their stinky shoes, and voraciously consume the very spirit and resolve of me and those I love?
Matthew 6:25-7:5, Matthew 6:21, Ephesians 4:29-32, 1 Peter 4:8, and 1 John 4:18 are a few verses we can employ to usher unwanted, destructive guests to the door. God exhorts us to not entertain fear. We are instructed to oust the surly critic and kick bitterness and his bully friends’ wrath, anger, clamor, and slander to the curb.
Philippians 4:4-8 and 2 Corinthians 10:5, conversely, tell us of guests we can enthusiastically welcome, directing our thoughts to the One who has created all things, is before all things, and holds all things together (Colossians 1:13), even through 2020-21. These guests instruct us to guard our hearts, take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and not let our emotions boss us around.
In this season, when many facets of life feel out of our control, we can be selective of our ruminations, the baggage we carry, and the worldview out of which we live.
Through this season and beyond, we can ask ourselves, “Who am I entertaining? Who am I inviting into my heart? Who am I allowing to shape how I engage the uncertain world around me?”
There is certainty to be found. However, it’s not through the news or social media, or in the deceptive, destructive, unwanted guests who come knocking every day.
Let’s invite guests who will help us take every wayward thought captive to the One who gave His life, by His blood, so that we would be filled with courage, not fear; love, not hate; peace, not anger; and trust, not worry. They will come if you invite them, unlike their ugly counterparts, who just show up without invitation.
Let us together saturate ourselves in the truth of God’s Word. Let’s linger with Him in the pages of our Bibles and in God-focused prayer. Let’s warm our souls to the things that will last long after this season has passed.
Then, when we can fill our homes to the brim with guests again, the flavor of Christ will be served and savored, the sweet melody of the Holy Spirit will swell, and the smile of a heart resolved to live out of our Truth-saturated souls will impart grace, hope, and love to all who enter.
May the God who made all things, sees all things, and rules all things, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and guide us so that we live out of the courageous Truth that has set us free.