By Jesse Jost
It’s fascinating to me the contrast between the big objective world out there, and our individual private experience of it.
Everyone wakes up to a different experience of the same world. We see things from different perspectives, and have different emotional reactions and interpretations of similar events.
Sometimes the outside world is filled with prosperity and peace and vibrant growth, while the private world can be filled with pain, anxiety, and depression.
In 2017, the reports from the outside world seemed mostly positive, but our private world was falling apart as we dealt with a whooping cough outbreak in our community, with a new born in the house. There were lumps and cancer tests, and hardest of all, a brand new diagnoses of type 1 diabetes in our five year old son. This completely turned our life upside and gave it a big shake.
Conversely in 2020, when the outside news was filled with death, ventilators, job loss, political upheaval, and riots, our private world was serene with extra cuddles and local family adventures and exceptionally good health.
The quality of our private world does not just depend on the immediate circumstances, though; it is also affected by our daily habits, attitudes and thought patterns.
We have seen examples of rich and famous people who had the power to orchestrate the circumstances of their world so that every outside comfort and luxury was available, but their private world was a hell of depression and despair and loneliness.
Other people have lived in basic poverty but their private world was filled with peace, joy, and close relationships.
We humans have so little control over the greater outside world. We are mostly powerless against the forces of inflation, supply shortages, political corruption, societal decay, and the terrible teeth of nature that include pandemics and violent weather patterns.
God has given us far more power to influence our private world. While much in our local world is still outside of our control, we can affect the quality of our human relationships, and what aspects of life we choose to focus on.
Satan loves to sabotage our private world by tormenting us with fear, resentment, and agitation about what is happening in the outside world.
Because we can do so little to change the Big World, this emotional misery is wasted and we lose the opportunity to bring Christ’s healing and peace to our Little World.
Jesus came to bring peace to the chaos, to set captives free, to heal the sick and emotionally wounded, to restore our relationships with God and each other.
He is in the process of healing the whole world, but He wants to start by healing and bringing “shalom” to your private world.
We are told to “keep ourselves in the love of God.” (Jude 21)
Objectively, God never stops loving us, but we need to be diligent to stay in conscious awareness of that love, and to let that unconditional love shape our private experience of His world.
We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Love. (Col 1:13-14) We are to seek His Kingdom first. (Matt 6:33)
This means bringing the peace and joy of the Kingdom to the immediate world of our thoughts, habits, and relationships.
It’s surrendering our minds to His truth, and choosing to look away from the chaos of the darkness and to look instead at the spiritual realities of the Sovereignty of God and His faithful provision and presence and His coming judgement and victory.
It’s letting the Holy Spirit heal our minds of the mental demons that torment us, like unforgiveness, greed, envy, and anxiety.
As we obey Christ’s commands to love, serve, and put other people’s needs ahead of our own, our human relationships will begin to heal and bring more joy into our lives.
By placing our focus and energy into redeeming our private world, I’m not talking about sticking your head in the sand and ignoring what is going on in the “real” world.
I’m advocating pouring all your energies into the only world you can actually change.
You can’t change the forest, but you can tend your private garden.
Satan would love nothing more than for us to stress over the wild forces affecting the forest that are outside of our control while we neglect our little gardens that we can change.
As each believer brings Christ’s healing peace to our own private worlds, we will then start to positively affect the private worlds of the individuals in our local community. This is when the greater world will start to heal.
This is not ignoring reality, but looking past the temporary chaos and decay to see the permanent world of God’s victory.
Redeeming your private world is choosing to look at the fiery heavenly hosts of angels above you instead of the enemy’s chariots before you.
It is rejoicing at the sight of Christ ruling over all the earth, even while stones are being cast at you.
Jesus’ last conversation with His disciples urged them to “abide in Him” so that their “Joy would be full.” (John 13-16)
The ever-changing chaos, corruption, and death in the greater world will cause seasons of anxiety and sorrow.
But a clear glimpse of Jesus and His ever-present reign and healing activity can bring hope, joy, and peace in the midst of suffering and painful external circumstances.
Make the daily choice to make Christ Lord of your private world.