Keeping it Cool

“It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” -Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)

Most of us have either been involved in or picked a quarrel with another person at some point in our lives. Often times, our quarrels are not even about serious things. Even the most trivial of matters are enough to start an argument that could easily spin out of control. Imagine how our relationships would be if we didn’t bicker over minuscule things. It would certainly be more peaceful that’s for sure. Yet our pride demands that we should always prove ourselves to be right, regardless of the situation. We do not want to admit when we are wrong because that makes us look deficient and weak. In our stubbornness, we sow the seeds of discord when we squabble. This can cause serious emotional and physical damage not only to ourselves, but to the people around us.

Ironically, our pursuit to vindicate ourselves in our quarrels ends up making ourselves look like utter fools. When others see our arrogance in our disagreements with people over insignificant matters, they shake their heads in dismay. Irritability and short-temperedness stem from pride, and pride should have no place in the hearts of those who claim to follow Christ. When He invades our lives, we stay close to Him and we gain the wisdom to know what battles to fight. Our anger should be saved for the things that anger Him; things such as the presence of injustice and sin in the world. There are times when the stance we take as followers of Him will invite strife, and in these moments we must remember to be firm but not hot-headed. Subsequently, we ourselves must not actively look to pick fights. Strife should come to us because of the nature of Christ’s message to the world, not because we have provoked conflict through our own behaviour. May we continually submit ourselves to Him and may His serenity and peace manifest itself in us so that we may be able to present Christ as the perfect refuge of those trying to escape turmoil.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Perfect Timing

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” –Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)

Have you ever had to wait for something? Something that you have dreamed of for a very long time? Waiting for anything is hard enough as it is for us as humans. But it is even harder to wait and be patient when we know that our desires will be granted at some unspecified point. We are always anticipating that glorious day when our long harbored visions will be realized. However, in our impatience we tend to mistake opportunities and events that come our way as the hour we have been hoping for; only to be disappointed when we find out that it is not what it seemed. Then we wonder whether our dreams were ever meant to come true. Despair begins to creep in and defeatism clouds our world.

God has promised in His Word that as long as we abide in Him and walk closely with Him, He will grant us the desires of our hearts. If He has placed a vision in our hearts, He will make sure that they do not simply fade away and will actively work towards their realization. It may not be according to our timing, but it will come to pass according to His will. We may wonder why we must surrender our visions and dreams to Him. After all, they are ours. Don’t they belong to us? Suppose we do make mistakes in pursuing our desires, don’t those mistakes also belong to us and are there for us to learn from? But if our mistakes do not draw us closer to God and surrendering our deepest hopes to Him, we will continue to unnecessarily repeat those mistakes in our pursuit of those desires. It does not have to be like that. We can trust God with the particulars of how our dreams may be fulfilled because He sees the bigger picture and is not hindered by a fallen human understanding of how our plans must come to their fruition. When we trust in God’s timing and allow Him to work things out, He will give us the desires of our heart and fulfill it in such a way that it will leave us awe-struck at His goodness and faithfulness. We will be amazed at how everything, even our mistakes, were used by God to see our desires granted in the wonderful way that they had been. The French author, Alexandre Dumas, wrote in his book “The Count of Monte Cristo” that, “Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: wait and hope.” Our responsibility with regards to our dreams is to wait and hope in God; acknowledging that He knows what is best for our lives and trusting that His timing will never fail.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Staying Still

“Be still, and know that I am God;” -Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

We live in a fast-paced world. In an era where everything seems to be instant and convenient, we have become accustomed to our requests being granted immediately. However, in exchange we have lost the ability to be still and patient. Our lives have become so hectic that what concerns us is what is in front of us now and nothing else. We say that we do not have the time to think about God or the world around us; that we should spend our energies watching our own back because that is our immediate concern. Maybe when things calm down then we’ll start remembering God and the finer things of life. But that moment never comes and we only end up reinforcing unhealthy attitudes of self-reliance that serves to distance ourselves from God and contribute to our own ruin.

But it is in those hectic and busy moments that we need to hold onto God the most. Our frail human bodies cannot handle the pressure that we place ourselves under. God can help us, but because He has given us free will to act, we must make the conscious choice of being still before Him, knowing that He has the world in His hands. Being still before Him means meditating on Him and His Word, away from the distractions of life, communing with Him, and asking Him for the strength and guidance to carry on. We must acknowledge His authority over our lives if we are to free ourselves from the stresses that we create. When we have taken the time to be still before the One who controls the universe, we see our lives and our situations in a different light. Our priorities are arranged in a manner that would truly benefit us and we will have the wisdom and foresight to avoid the pitfalls that we would have otherwise fallen into in our impatience or in our own human understanding. Being still before Him is the key to living a full and satisfying life. May we all make sure to be still before Him and allow Him to direct our paths.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.