Years ago Robert and I had the opportunity of a wonderful short break away from our busy ministry schedule.
Some thoughtful friends kindly arranged a stay in the Hepburn Springs area in a miner’s cottage that was over a hundred years old.
I admit to being a little apprehensive about what the condition of that old cottage might be, especially as the weather had turned quite cold.
What we found was most unexpected!
Each room was warmly and beautifully furnished in Victorian period style, inviting seating in front of the open fireplace which had been set with logs and pine cones, ready for lighting (which we immediately put a match to!).
Panelled walls, lace and velvet curtains, a proliferation of old books (which Robert delighted in), ornaments, paintings, lamps and other items from bygone days gave the cottage a special touch and warmth. Welcoming music playing, fresh bread, fruit and farmhouse breakfast food on the table, even chocolates and a candle for a romantic evening, all added to the effect.
With my work in interior design, I have found that some people are trying to create a nostalgic look from the past. I think it’s because it gives an image of a more relaxed way of life, as well as feelings of security, permanence and value.
And also, I believe, because so many people today are searching for something they can’t find in our busy madcap society of instant everything, no real security, ever-changing products (and supermarket labelling!), sophisticated gadgets, lack of meaningful relationships and quietness of spirit. In short, there’s dissatisfaction with life among many, sadly including Christians.
A greater kingdom
The reality is that as Christians we need to be careful we don’t become disillusioned by the world (especially with today’s terrorist threats), and even with our Christian way of life, to the point of worrying and trying to escape.
We must remind ourselves that we are not of this world and shouldn’t think as insecure non-Christians do, that we belong to a far greater kingdom than this world could ever be. Psalm 145:13 tells us that ours is the everlasting kingdom of God whose dominion endures through all generations, and that our God is faithful in keeping all the promises he makes us.
Yes, it’s nice to look back to a bygone era, even create an atmosphere and perhaps make a few purchases of items from yesteryear. But it’s even better to know we don’t need to get caught up in the past, looking for something missing in our lives or as some form of escape from today’s inconsistencies. There was insecurity and plenty of problems in the past too! Life wasn’t always that relaxed back then!
Further, I know of those who have gone to great expense to create atmosphere and surround themselves with antiques and special settings – and they’re still not happy, still searching for something elusive.
Conforming to God’s thinking
Romans 12:2 instructs us: ‘Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’
Conforming speaks of ‘fashioning ourselves alike.’ In others we must be thinking as God thinks. The Message Bible begins this verse this way: ‘Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.’
God wants us to live in the power of his kingdom and to draw on its sources and resources, to be at peace with ourselves and those around, to know his peace which always outshines and outlasts anything the world has or tries to offer.
- He has promised to provide all of our needs
- We can be truly content in him and the Christian way of life.
- We have permanence and security in him through our Saviour Jesus.
- We can relax in the midst of a hectic, uncertain 21st century!
If you feeling disillusioned, there’s probably a variety of reasons why! However, perhaps a major one is that your mind is not conformed to God’s way of thinking. Maybe there’s a sense in which you do need to look back to the past – that is to foundational truths and basic Christian doctrine!
Perhaps you were never established in them or have allowed them to become discarded, as has happened in the natural to many precious ancient pieces from yesteryear.
Jeremiah 6:16 declares: ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’
Something more precious
People today are paying huge sums of money to obtain things what were original treasured by great-grandparents, but had subsequently been rejected as junk!
The paths of God – the ancient paths of knowledge, security, peace and commitment are even more precious. Yet many have foolishly discarded them, resulting in a dissatisfaction with life.
Yet they are still there and obtainable! And they can be found, cherished and enjoyed! But you cannot buy them – Jesus has already paid the price on Calvary’s cross for you!
An examination of your heart and attitude towards all that he offers, and repentance of sins can bring that peace, contentment and security he readily gives. After all, he did promise great satisfaction in this life (John 10:10b). Message Bible reads this way: ‘I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.’ Jesus’ word should be enough for us – no matter what challenges life may drop on us!
Still looking back, looking for that missing something?
The heart ‘atmosphere’ you’re seeking will be found in an understanding of and commitment to his teachings and decreed plan for your life.
Then you’ll find yourself at peace, feeling secure, your environment a relaxed one… no matter what’s happening in our troubled world today.