Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shopping for Peace

Overwhelmed by my every day existence, I headed out of the house the other day to clear my mind, hoping to hear myself think. I needed a break from work and kids and laundry and noise. Perusing the aisles of my 'go to' little strip mall, I wasn't shopping for stuff, I was shopping for peace. Looking at all the stuff on the shelves that I don't truly need, I was convicted that I pursue peace from all the wrong places.

So often I convince myself that I "need" some kitchen gadget or something new to beautify my home. I make some internal declaration that "I will truly be happy when..." For a long time that statement involved living in a home I could call my own, one I could transform into some little glimpse of heaven on earth. Truth is, I still have that in my head, but I know even owning my own home would bring the stress of maintenance and taxes and broken water heaters. Do I really want to spend all my life -my time- working to own stuff and then spend my time off work maintaining and grooming and repairing that stuff I hold so dear? Is that what this life is created for?

I'm not saying owning things is bad. I'm just not so sure that the having of stuff is worth my time. that pursuing stuff that's supposed to make my life comfortable is contributing to some big picture in this life. As long as I live on this planet, I will probably be subconsciously trying to set up my heaven on earth.

While being in the midst of this fruitful land where even the poor are far richer than much of the rest of the world, my hope is that I could be more conscious to not buy into the lie that my heart can be satisfied with stuff, that I can work to earn some false peace that this life, even this country is supposed to offer me.

When my focus is misplaced by the sin of a heart driven in selfish pursuits, I am rendered useless in working for the One who made me. I have entered into the business of propping up myself instead of promoting my King. Do I want to worship the work of my own hands and neglect to acknowledge the ultimate work of Christ?

Our culture teaches me to want stuff, to "need" stuff, to worship stuff and self. Our culture tells me to pursue material wealth and fame; to promote self because I deserve "it" - whatever "it" is. Our Creator has said "...whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for [His] sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25) Am I willing to be inconvenienced for my Creator? my Savior? Will I find comfort in Him alone or will I continually look for peace in my current comfort-level, my circumstance? Am I willing to lay aside myself and depend on Christ to truly save me, to bring comfort to my soul? or will I ever depend on my human self (that only has mere breath)? or will I live for the One who gives me that breath? Where will my children see me find peace?

God, forgive me for always thinking that I can find or buy peace instead of acknowledging that You are Peace. Help me to stop shopping elsewhere for the perfect peace You alone can give. Amen.

......I found these verses from the book of Isaiah reminding me where my trust should lie and from where my peace must come.

Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. So people will be brought low and everyone humbled—do not forgive them. Go into the rocks, hide in the ground
 from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty!
 The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled
and human pride brought low;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store 
for all the proud and lofty,
 for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),
 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,
 for all the towering mountains
 and all the high hills,
 for every lofty tower
 and every fortified wall,
 for every trading ship 
and every stately vessel.
 The arrogance of man will be brought low 
and human pride humbled;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
 and the idols will totally disappear. People will flee to caves in the rocks 
and to holes in the ground
from the fearful presence of the LORD
 and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.
 In that day people will throw away 
to the moles and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.
 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
 and to the overhanging crags 
from the fearful presence of the LORD 
and the splendor of his majesty,
 when he rises to shake the earth. Stop trusting in mere humans,
 who have but a breath in their nostrils.
 Why hold them in esteem?
Isaiah 2:6-22

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26

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