Pick up any magazine or self-help book on the shelf today, and you are sure to find page after page of tools and tips to bring contentment and balance into your life. However, in the age of e-books and reality television, it is often easy to overlook the ancient wisdom included in the Bible. Even in our fast-paced world, this wisdom is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
While I am not a Biblical scholar, these verses have been especially meaningful to me through life’s journey:
Psalms 34:14 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
This verse reminds me that I need to take specific and decisive action to bring peace and contentment into my daily life. I need to distance myself from evil influences. I need to do what is good. I need to seek out peace, and actively pursue it on a daily basis. Peace will not come knocking at the door; I have to do my part.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
When do we get through a day or a week without needing strength? How do we face life’s challenges when it seems that we cannot take on another ounce of responsibility? How do we deal with unforeseen circumstances that seem insurmountable? Paul’s letter to the Phillipians assures us that we can indeed do those things that God asks us to do, but reminds us that we cannot do them alone. Only through faith in Christ can we find the strength and support we need.
Psalms 19:14 May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
A minister I knew as a child began every sermon with these words. The way he said them, the verse became a short prayer that his words, thoughts, and intentions would align with the will of God. This verse can support us as we struggle for the right words to say, or try to bring our thoughts and emotions under control. We can also accept the challenge of the Psalmist, as we examine each word that comes out of our mouths and search our own hearts. Are those words and meditations acceptable to our Heavenly Father? How can we move closer to living, speaking, and thinking in ways that are acceptable to Him?
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
In the Epistle of James, he extends an invitation and a challenge to turn to God in prayer. James assures us that when we encounter a situation that is baffling or confusing, our Heavenly Father will provide us with the wisdom we need to find our way through. He does not withhold wisdom from His children, nor does He chastise us for our lack of understanding. All we need to do is ask.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua offers reassurance and comfort for times when we feel fear, weakness, or discouragement. He reminds us that in all circumstances and at all times, God is with us. As you read his words again, think of how the commandment to “Be strong and of good courage” will help you to overcome the fear that you may be experiencing today.
Put it all Together
These verses, taken separately, provide valuable guidance for life in the 21st century. Taken together, they provide a powerful mosaic that is more meaningful than any pop psychology or passing fad. Let’s put them together:
Be of good courage…be not afraid…
ask for the wisdom you need….
rely on the strength of Christ….
align your words and heart with God’s will…
That’s a good start, wouldn’t you say?