Cool as cucumbers: How to experience peace and calm and stability and clarity of mind

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. —2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV

John Piper, in a sermon, “What Must Happen Before the Day of the Lord?”

cucumberSo Paul’s aim is very practical in this passage: he wants to help Christians experience peace and calm and stability and clarity of mind—Christians who don’t get all “shook up” and agitated and anxious and fretful and confused and off-balance when crises come to the world.

Paul Responds by Providing Truth

So his goal is practical. It has to do with the heart and the emotions. But now what is his approach to this goal? How will he minister to this practical need?

Verse 3 gives the answer: “Let no one deceive you in any way.” Paul is persuaded that deceit is at the root of mental and emotional disturbances. If we are shaken from our senses and lose our balance and feel alarmed and fretful and begin to act in ways unworthy of our call, it is because deceit has taken root somewhere in our minds.

So what does Paul aim, then, to do for the Thessalonians so that they won’t be shaken and alarmed? He aims to teach them a truth tailored for their specific struggle. He studies the kind of deceit that is taking root in their minds, and then he loosens the soil around it and digs it up with the spade of biblical doctrine.

Do we follow the apostle in this? Do we tend the garden of our emotions with the tools of biblical truth? When there is some alien desire or fear, do we give ourselves day and night to searching the Scriptures for that truth that God has inspired for the undeceiving of our hearts? Keep in mind that, unlike all the wisdom of men, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of root and rock and dislodging even the deepest, unconscious deceits of our minds that yield the alien fruit of fear and desire.

Read or listen to the rest of the  sermon


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