Do you have a personal mantra? Is there a phrase or saying that embodies your philosophy, attitude, or belief in a succinct way? The champion boxer Muhammad Ali was famous for “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” You can’t walk past a Penn Stater without someone yelling, “WE ARE!” Yoda teaches us “Do or do not….there is no try.” When my daughter was battling cancer, her mantra was “Go big or go home.” She went big.
The Apostle Paul was a mantra-maker. Almost everything he wrote could be captured on a bumper sticker or emblazoned on a t-shirt. A mantra is something that provides you with words you can live by, so if you’re looking for a new one, choose something from Paul.
Pray without ceasing.
Give thanks in all circumstances!
Hold fast to what is good.
Take a look at his letter to the Thessalonians and see what I mean:
1 Thessalonians 5 (English Standard Version)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies,21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
As we say on my side of the pew, that will preach! Of these few examples (and his letters are full of them), which would you choose for a personal mantra?
I have always loved Romans 8:28, which says that God can use ALL things for the good of those who love him and are called to his purpose. But for now, I am choosing verse 21b: Hold fast to what is good.
In this period of isolation, in this unsettled Christmas season that finds us grappling with the fear and grief that the virus has brought to all of us, I am choosing to hold fast to what is good.
Because in the end, it’s all good.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
I pray you will hold fast, too.