A reminder to know and understand
Humans often need reminding of God’s truth and the promises contained in His Word. We forget the lessons we have learned and if we have read a particular verse or passage only a few times, it’s likely we will need to go over it again and again until it really settles in our hearts and minds.
I don’t know too many people who can come across a piece of Scripture once and then recite it completely sometime later. Furthermore, the significance of Scripture isn’t simply to memorise a whole bunch of verses or to simply know chunks of the Bible.
The significance of Scripture is that we read and digest the Word for ourselves, the Holy Spirit guiding us as we read and dig deeper into what the Bible is really saying and the implications of that.
The power of Scripture
When we engage deeper with Scripture and we understand its full scope, it has the power to transform our lives. We understand more of God’s character, we know what to do in response to His love and grace and we find out how peace or the absence of worrying can become realised in our lives.
So when I think of the Scripture that really gives me peace and comfort or courage and strength, I think of the verses that I have turned to time and time again, passages that I have heard a sermon on or seen repeatedly referenced in other ways.
I thought I’d share a few of those verses and passages for me.
Trading anxiousness with prayer
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians chapter 4, verses 6-7).
As someone who feels anxious and stressed at times, these two verses are crucial. While Scripture can often be confusing or difficult to understand at first instance, verses 6 and 7 here are pretty clear: let’s not be anxious but when we are anxious we are clearly guided that we are to bring whatever is bothering us to God by thanking Him and asking Him for peace.
I once heard a sermon on this passage and it highlighted the word “every” as in “every situation”. The pastor suggested that this verse encourages us to not feel anxious but to feel a sense or need to pray in every situation.
This reminds me that if I approach each day and the tasks that I go about with prayer, then actually I might not feel so anxious and I can feel prepared. Thanking God and asking for His peace to be with me in every situation sounds like a wise way to live.
God’s provision for today, not worrying about tomorrow
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew chapter 6, verses 33-34).
In my previous article I wrote about the tension between following the trends of humans versus seeking after what Jesus thinks of me. The larger passage in Matthew preceding these two verses highlight again that we do not need to worry about what we eat or what we look like.
Worrying about these kinds of things is futile when all of our satisfaction can be found in God when we first seek after His kingdom and righteousness. God cares about our very present moment and practically Jesus acknowledges that there is enough going on today that we needn’t be concerned with tomorrow.
Similarly to Paul’s words in Philippians, these verses remind me how important it is to be active participants in our own lives, wellbeing and relationship with God. He has prepared and given us all we need and now the responsibility is on us to seek Him out and receive all He has for us.
I don’t have to worry about tomorrow, I don’t have to worry about trends or needs when I approach God and seek Him and His way.
He gives us peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John chapter 14, verse 27).
In Jesus’ own words, He gives us His peace and He acknowledges His way is different to the world. With these two things in mind, we are then instructed to not have troubled hearts nor to be afraid. Simple and clear.
These words bring me comfort because they allow me to see that I can redirect my thinking from the stressful situation in front of me towards God and His peace, power and sovereignty.
Three times God says “do not” for my own good
You might have noticed that each of these passages contain the words “do not…” – these verses contain commands from God about what we do not need to do. The result from not being anxious, or worried, or troubled is that we receive peace and contentment.
Peace and contentment come from following God’s calling for us, which He makes available to us through His word. As James chapter 1, verse 22 instructs us “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself. Do what it says.”
God tells us not to do these things or have these mindsets or emotions because through Him we are given access to His peace and contentment.
God says “do not” because I can find satisfaction in Him. When life is tough and unsatisfying (and most us of can say that has been true in 2020), these reminders of God’s truth can get us through life.
Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to unpack her thoughts. She loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.