I’ve often asked that question when “Mr. Wheeler” can’t seem to abide by my speed limit driving, and at the first opportunity, or occasionally before the first opportunity, he streaks around me, just to throw on the breaks at the next traffic signal or turn off at the next intersection. (Thanks for the illustration, Goofy.)
That used to be me, as my Facebook picture shows, so I already know the answer; hurrying originates as procrastination or an over-full schedule, so we leave at the last possible moment, thinking all will be green til we get there. Of course, we all know about the best laid plans, etc., but somehow we fail to consider the near-certainty of Murphy’s Law coming into play at exactly the wrong time (which is, after all, how it works). Before long, hurrying becomes a habit, then an addiction.
This is a revision of an earlier post, because in my observations of my Christian brethren, the church needs this message more than ever. I understand how the urgency of circumstances might push outsiders over the edge of reason, but those who claim to rely on God’s timing and provisions have no excuse for chronic hurrying. Are the few minutes gained by leaving for work late worth all the stress of darting through traffic like a race driver? And those manic, traffic meatheads usually don’t get very far ahead anyway, and pay lots more on fuel while doing it.
Medical science tells us that our adrenaline response “evolved” as part of our fight-or-flight instinct. If that’s true, our nearly constant adrenaline flow is unnatural, placing the sort of stress on our bodies that we place on over-amped electric motors or supercharged automotive engines. In short, we can’t last as long if we’re always in a hurry.
My problem with rushing around is, it undermines the peace I have in Christ Jesus. We already have the supernatural peace that comes from knowing our eternal destiny, as well as the peace we get from knowing, loving and communicating with God through our Savior Jesus. That’s all quite wonderful, and just part of our reward for following Christ, but we fill our lives with more immediate, even urgent, issues than that. While our peace that passes understand is God’s gift to Christ-followers, we must deliberately apply it to life’s everyday choices if we want to enjoy its maximum benefit.
Apostle Paul dispensed profound wisdom to the church in Philippi, but excerpting just a few words from the following passage would not do it justice:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (5) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; (6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Verse four asserts a foundational, spiritual principle that Paul repeated for emphasis: We must rejoice always, and not only when things are going swimmingly. But know that such rejoicing is only possible when a life is fully given to God through the Lord Jesus. Verse five tells us to drop the “manly” act. Verse six deals succinctly with anxiety. But even with the sure-fire solution that follows, actually allowing God to remove anxiety from our lives takes constant vigilance. And I particularly love verses eight and nine, as they challenge me to the max.
This “always” passage gives us a verbal portrait of Jesus, as the behavioral target for our constant striving. And the ultimate reward for diligently pursuing Christ-likeness? God’s peace!
So, don’t hurry after your petty, earthly goals, but make your quest for God’s goals your highest priority.
(Note to self: Follow your own advice! ;^)