Devotional by Stephen Estock

December 9, 2013

There is a poison that sours lives and relationships, and it seems to spread easily at this time of year. Busyness. We fill our lives with schedules and events and cards and calls and shopping and cooking and … We live in a constant state of busyness, which leads to anxiety, which leads to a frantic search for control, which leads to more busyness – the cycle spirals to exhaustion and depression.

Yet Jesus is Immanuel (“God with us”), and his presence gives us peace. In Philippians 4:7, Paul writes,

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4 begins with Paul encouraging his readers to “stand firm” in the Lord. “In the Lord” refers to the relationship that we have with God because of what Christ has done in taking our sin and giving us his righteousness. Paul then pleads for two coworkers to be at peace with each other. He recognizes the challenges of life, but he reminds them of God’s presence, which should move them to prayer and thanksgiving.

As God’s people bring to him all that makes them anxious (e.g., difficult relationships, overwhelming circumstances, etc.), the peace of God guards (i.e., protects, preserves from harm) your heart and mind.

The spiral of “crazy busy” is countered with the peace of the presence of Christ. In Christmas, God the Son took on human nature. He became one of us so that he could always be with us. As we live with a mind set on that reality, we give our busyness to him, and his peace pierces through our whirlwind. The strength of his peaceful presence enables us to respond to irritating people and overwhelming circumstances in a way that “surpasses all understanding.” peace is personified, and it protects us from the poison of being “crazy busy.”