Friday, April 10, 2009
"Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!" Proverbs 12:20 (NLT)
What does it meant to "plot evil"? Is it just bad people planning to do bad things? As I was studying this Proverb I came to understand that plotting evil can be more subtle than that. It includes interpreting people's behavior and words as having evil intent. For example, "they don't like me, they looked at me that way because they're mad at me, they did that to hurt me, they said that to make me feel bad", etcetera. Plotting evil is seeing the negative in every situation, "I have too many children, I always do all the work, why doesn't anyone ever help me, my house isn't good enough, my friends aren't what I really want", etcetera. And when we're sitting around plotting evil, guess what happens? Our hearts begin to fill up with deceit. Always seeing the negative around us will cause us to lie to ourselves about people and circumstances. We begin to truly believe that life is terrible, that God isn't blessing us, that we are abandoned, that people are malicious, and so on. These are lies straight from the enemy and the more this deceit fills our hearts, the more we are resistant to truth. Plotting evil also causes us to fear, and fear denies truth. It surrenders the heart and soul to deceit. Fear is deciding that evil has mastery over us which is rebellion against the truth of God's sovereignty and active care for each one of His children.
Planning peace is the complete opposite, it is looking for the good and the holy in people and circumstances. It is seeing the Spirit at work all around us. It is surrendering to the sovereignty of God. It is giving up the need for control and living a life of faith. And the amazing thing is, when you are determined to see the good in life around you, you start seeing it! Proverbs 11:27 speaks to this, "If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you." If you want to see the bad in things, it's easy to see it and all that negativity will find you and surround you and strangle you. But if you are searching for good, you will find it, bringing you favor and joy. Planning peace is living in faith, trusting in a holy, good God and being surrendered to him with hope and gratitude and what a joy-filled life it produces.
I just finished reading an amazing book about faith called "Mimosa" by Amy Carmichael. It has changed me and given me new eyes. It is a true story of a woman in India in the 1920's who was called by God to be his child but she didn't know his name, she didn't have a Bible, she never heard of Jesus, she just knew that there was a God who made her and loved her and was good, that was all she knew. She lived her life for him in complete opposition to her idol worshipping caste, she suffered persecution and misunderstanding but she never blamed her God. I just want to share a few passages from this book.
"Not one scripture did she know; there was nothing from the book of books for the Spirit to take and show her at that moment. But His resources are limitless. 'O God', she said aloud, and the words seemed to rise through the thin blue air above her, 'O God, my husband has deceived me, my brother has deceived me, even my mother has deceived me, but You will not deceive me.' Then she waited a little, looking up, and stretching out her arms, declared; 'Yes, they have all deceived me, but I am not offended with You. Whatever You do is good. What should I do without you? You are the giver of health and strength and will to work. Are not these things better than riches or people's help?' And again she waited a while."
This book is so powerful. On the outside, this woman had nothing good going for her, but she had a different opinion. She had everything she needed because she was a child of God. "Mimosa stood alone among her people, a woman charmed by a beauty she could not show them."
I am a child of the Master of the universe. There is nothing he cannot do. And he loves me. He is on my side. Therefore, all is well and it is good. I will choose to worship him no matter what the circumstance. And I will not plot evil but I will plan peace. God is all around me and evil cannot harm me.
"O worshippers of the Lord, rejoice! Search for the Lord and for His stength (not your own, it will fail you, but his strength never fails) and keep on searching! Think of all the wonderful works he has done!" Psalm 105:3-5
Blessings and peace to all.