I’ve often asked that question when “Mr. Wheeler” can’t seem to abide with 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.
Medical science tells us that our adrenaline response “evolved” as part of our flight-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 his Holy Spirit. That’s all quite wonderful, and just part of our reward for following Christ, but our lives are filled 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:
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Verse four asserts a foundational, spiritual principle that Paul repeated for emphasis: We must rejoice always, 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 particularly love verses eight and nine, as they challenge me to the max.
This “always” passage gives us a verbal portrait of Jesus, a 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! ;^)