Learning to actively love God
The lesson that erased stress and unrest from my life.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
The scripture says “all things.” It’s pretty clear that this means that every single thing that happens is for your own good when you love God. Nowhere does it say that there are exceptions to this law of life; that maybe it does not apply in extreme or specific cases. No, there is not one exception to this law as long as we love God.
I personally have found great comfort in this word of God through many of my various trials and temptations. I arm myself with this word often to strengthen myself in my circumstances, so that stress and anxiety are defeated in my life.
Recently, I had had to miss a lot of school, and my grades were reflecting this. I was strongly tempted to be stressed. A certain level of grades was necessary for me to achieve the academic standing I needed for my university application, and the exam was just under a month away. I knew I was not at all ready. I remember sitting in my room totally in the dark about what to do. I was wallowing in self-pity because I couldn’t see a way out.
Joy, peace and rest felt far from me. I would try to study, but got distracted; I couldn’t focus. That in turn would cause me to worry more about school. I was stuck in this horrible circle that went around and around for a few days.
Then one day I was at a friend’s house, and hanging on their wall was this verse in Luke 12:31. “But seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” It was like a light went on for me. It became so clear to me that I was not seeking the things that are above before the things down here on earth. I had allowed myself to be weighed down by anxiety about school, and it had stolen my joy and peace.
After this revelation came to me, I knew that it was time to go to action and really seek God’s kingdom first. And I thoroughly experienced that all these things were added to me! It wasn’t like all of a sudden I knew all of my material for school, or that I got amazing grades without working on it. But I had peace in my soul and I was able to focus on my studies. I worked and studied to get the best possible grade.
I achieved mygoal for one reason. I sought the things that were above first. It’s righteous to care about important things like school or work, but you have to be on guard that these things do not steal your peace or joy.
Stress and anxiety
Literally anything in life can cause you to be stressed or anxious, which in turn causes you to lose your joy and peace. But this is not the life we are called to. Being weighed down by heavy thoughts is directly from Satan and we must drive them far away from our hearts if we want to follow Jesus.
Any thought that enters your head must be examined to determine where it comes from. A jealous thought, for example, always causes unrest. That’s how you know for sure it is from Satan and is only there to rob you of your peace! As soon as the thought comes, that is the precise moment when you must cry out to God, to come boldly to the throne of grace to destroy this thought before it grows into something much larger. (Hebrews 4:16) It is of utmost importance that you defeat the thought when it is just one thought, or else soon it can take over your reasoning, feelings and thought life.
In other words, choose to do God’s will and not your own. That is what it means to actively love God, as it says in Romans 8:28. Then, no matter the outcome of the situation, it always ends up for your best – for your salvation.
Love for God
This verse is a strength and a help for those who have a burning love for God and a desire to be victorious over sin. The amazing thing is that the two are one and the same – if you have a burning love for God then you will have a longing to defeat sin and Satan and to only do God’s will. His purpose for us here on earth is to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29) To be conformed means to partake of rest, peace and joy in abundance, which will happen when you put to death thoughts of anxiety and stress.
Many things can very easily seem difficult and it can seem that there are many legitimate reasons to be stressed and anxious. But God did not call us to be lazy people who wait for God to take care of all our needs while we sit back and do nothing. Absolutely not; we need to seek His kingdom first and love Him and His righteousness, then all these things shall be added to us and all things will work towards our good.
I praise God for this promise and truth and I encourage everyone who reads this to try it out in your own life. God is true to His word!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.