Order or offer

Even though I do my best to stay away from current news items in these weekly articles, who can escape the reality of the corona virus pandemic? My thoughts, as I sit and type these words, hark back to my decades of legalistic training. Although I had a solid theological understanding of the grace of God there sometimes was a stronger sense of duty that often edged out the enjoyment that I’d found in Him. Here’s how it played out this past week.

 

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I often found myself reciting the apostle Paul’s words to Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

 

“See,” I’d tell myself, “You don’t have to be frightened because God can protect you and your family and even if you do get sick, He’s still there for you.” Sounds good, but those words didn’t quell the unrest that rattled my emotions. His gifts of power, love and a sound mind weren’t resonating with me.

Finding it hard to sleep sometimes, I added condemnation to my emotions. “You’re supposed to be trusting the Lord,” I’d reprimand myself, then doze off for a mere hour or so of restless sleep.

But why dump all these thoughts into what I try hard to make an upbeat and positive offering? It was the realization that Paul’s words were not “orders’ but a beautiful “offer” to enjoy God’s peace and a sense of power over unwelcome circumstances. A sound mind? His wise exhortation to wash our hands thoroughly, use sanitizer and follow directions given by those in leadership, all part of wisdom.

Distinguishing between an order and an offer isn’t always as simple as it seems but I’m so grateful I’m learning the difference.

Thank God for His blessed offers!

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