We live in a society where everyone is a critic. With the advent of smart phones and social media, everyone has a voice, and they use it often. What is more, many people have created impossible standards for everything and everyone (that they themselves are exempt from), and so they continually use their social platforms to bash and criticize everyone and anything that does not meet said standards (and that is everything). Depression and anxiety are at levels never seen before, because, when we play God (and yes, that is exactly what we’re doing), the world doesn’t bend to our will. What is our hope? Is there a way out of this destructive narcissism? Yes, actually, and it is in the second verse of the template Jesus gave us in the Lord’s prayer: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Putting this on a human level, most of us, in our teenage years, are rebellious against our parents. We desire freedom and to be mature, and so we make decisions on our own that we think “grown up” and mature people make. Often, these decisions put us in situations that we don’t realize are dangerous and could be harmful, kill us, or change our lives forever (I know this is true of young men, at least; I was stupid in my youth). Ideally, our parents try and shape and train us with rules and guidelines, which often we rebel against. It’s not until we become mature adults that we realize what our parents were trying to do. What I never understood, and am trying to teach my children now, is that there is more freedom under authority: if I can be trusted to follow instructions, I will be given more freedom, as I am proving I am trustworthy.
We are creatures of rebellion, and our rebellion doesn’t gives us the freedom we desire, but enslaves us further and further to anxiety, depression, anger, and everything else it brings about. But there is freedom in surrender to the will of God. Why? Simply, when we go back to our designer, and He shapes us according to His design, there is no need for guilt, anxiety, or any other emotion that twists us in to dark places. We’re free in His authority. This is where peace beyond all understanding comes from: being who we’re designed to be under the guidance, wisdom and direction of the one who created us. In the Will of God, there is freedom under His Authority. It’s why Jesus says to ask the Father for anything in His Name, and it will be granted: when we’re in God’s will, what can we ask for that’s wrong? Therefore, we should seek to always be in His will and, no matter what we face, His peace will descend upon us. 1 Peter 3:8-22 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.