My phone and computer are so loud. Whether it is due to either the audible or visual stimuli coming forth from my electronic devices, my attention is consistently being diverted from one thing to another. From time to time banners and reminders pop up on my computer screen, and without ceasing my I-Phone rings, beeps, chirps, dings, and vibrates. Emails, text messages, weather alarms, Amber alerts, and status updates summon my attention over and over again. Yes, the noise before my face and in my ears never goes away. It is my constant companion, and strangely, I take it with me wherever I go.
Then, when driving, my car radio seems to be so loud. No, I don’t have the thumping subwooffers my children would enjoy, but I do have an endless variety of radio stations filled with angry talk show hosts, perverted DJs, pop singles, annoying preachers, and people trying to sell me chiropractic medicine, special vitamins, or essential oils. Yes, whether sitting at my desk, on my sofa, or in my Suburban, chatter and noise is always with me wherever I go.
When I arrive at home, quite often it is noisy too. There are five of us living in this domicile, and there’s not a melba-toast individuals amongst us. Frankly, I am the worst. I am constantly causing commotion here and there, and when I finally sit down, it is much easier for me to put forth a question, request, or command by yelling than to get up and walk in the other room. And in this regard, I have trained my household well. And then there are the television sets which greatly contribute to the chatter in the Franks’ household. ESPN is hectic. CNBC and Fox News are consistenly arguing in my face. Then come those loud and annoying automotive dealership commercials with their over-the-top announcers — they are the worst. Yes, from Dick Vitale, to Bill Hannity, to James Carville, to Jimmy Fallon, to Jamie Simpson, everyone keeps screaming in order to get my attention, my viewership, my ratings, my vote, and my money. Abroad or at home, the noise never goes away.
However, allow me to answer some fairly obvious questions:
- Yes, I know where the TV remote is and how to use it. I do have the ability to turn off the television set.
- Yes, I know where the “Do Not Disturb” button is on my I-phone. In fact, I even know how to charge my phone in the other room or leave my phone in the locked car.
- Yes, I am aware that I can listen to radio stations or download personal music that is quiet, encouraging, and serene.
- Yes, I still have the ability to get up out of my leather chair and walk into the other room to have a more peaceful conversation.
- Yes, (I need to add this for my marriage sake) there are times in my household when it is serene and quiet. I do have a wonderful family who are not always loud and proud. I do have the privilege of working from home on some days, and it can be a very peaceful place to study God’s Word, work on sermons, and write devotional blogs.
However, with all that being said, there is still one major problem … My head is so loud!
Even when I put away my media and electronic devices, and even when I sit alone, in my quiet house, with my Bible, books, laptop, and dog, my head and heart are still producing noise of their own. I am consistently wondering who is calling, texting, or sending emails. I am persistently curious over what I am missing on Linked In, Facebook, or one of my favorite blogs. My head bounces back and forth from who may be beating me in Words with Friends and which of my Final Four basketball teams in in danger of exiting the NCAA tournament. I can’t find peace because I am always interested in what is on Ebay, where is my Amazon stuff, and whether or not my important emails have been answered. Yes, sadly, even when the world is somewhat quiet in my eyes and ear, my anxious head remains noisy. Frankly, I am horribly in need of finding sabbath rest in my heart. A quiet spirit is what I need.
So, with these thoughts in mind (along with a million others that shouldn’t be there right now), I found several verses of Scripture to be encouraging this week. The first was directed at wives and is found in 1 Peter. Here are the words of the inspired Apostle:
Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:4)
Instead of being focused on external adornment, godly wives were encouraged to focus on internal beauty that was precious in God’s sight, and one of the desired characteristics was a “quiet spirit.” In studying this text, I learned this had nothing to do with lacking drive, backbone, or initiative. It had nothing to do with squelching personality or spunk. No, this simply meant Christian wives were to be so internally peaceful and content with Christ that they found it completely unnecessary to “put on a show,” be the “top dog,” or be the trending topic of conversation. Outside them, there was always going to be loud noise and ungodly chatter, but within their hearts contentment, stability, quietness, peace, and sabbath rest was to be enjoyed and exemplified.
Then, in my studies, I came upon two more verses, and these gave instructions to Christian men and women alike:
… But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Clearly, the “quiet spirit” and the “quiet life” were to be pursued and enjoyed by both sexes. None of Christ’s children were to be loud-mouthed busy-bodies. All were to be meek. All were to be peacefully content. It was honorable to be other-person-focused ministers of Jesus Christ deflecting attention away from ourselves and considering others better than ourselves. Not just wives, but all the elect should be more interested in cultivating internal beauty than external glamour. And what was it that God’s deemed beautiful in his eyes? Saint Peter gave the answer, “A gentle and quiet spirit.”
So there is my problem: I have not a quiet spirit. A tornado churns within my troubled breast.
There is my goal: I want to look like Jesus and please the Heavenly Father. I want to be beautiful in his sight and enjoy the meek quiet spirit he desires me to have.
Therefore here is my plan: How should I go about adorning myself with that meek and quiet spirit or sabbath-character that looks like Jesus and pleases the Father? First, I must run from temptation. I must continue to get rid of the noise. Secondly, I must put off and put on. I must turn down and look up. The void in my eyes, ears, head, and heart must be filled with the Word of God and prayer. I must cast all my cares upon him. I must come to Jesus who promises me rest. I must draw near to him so he can draw nearer to me. My mind must be transformed and renewed. All my thoughts must be brought into captivity, for perfect peace is promised to the mind that is focused on him.
This is my Gospel promise: When the Lord is my Shepherd whom I am following, and with whom I am praying and meditating day and night, I shall find myself not wanting as I sit at his table in the presence of my enemies. As I learn to pray without ceasing, the noise in my world, the noise in my eyes, the noise in my ears, and the noise in my head will go away.
Friends, don’t we want to be like Jesus? He regularly made time to commune with his Heavenly Father.
Friends, don’t we want to be like the Apostle Paul? Hear his words:
… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
A quiet spirit is the desire of the Father, the character of the Son, and the blessing of the Spirit. All in Christ Jesus are promised improvement in this matter. So let us turn off the noise and go to him who strengthens that we might be further sanctified and enjoy the meek and quiet spirit he provides.