Reflections: The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs.

I hadn’t thought about it in some time, actually. “Serenity” certainly isn’t what I would call what I’ve been going through, particularly the past 18 months. I will say, however, that I have received sufficient blessings so that I have at times felt reasonable assurance. Is that enough, though?

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, King James Version)

Obviously, the KJV isn’t going to use the term “serenity”, but if you reflect upon the word “peace” long enough, then how can you have true peace without serenity? Can we truly be “patient” without serenity?

Although called the “Serenity Prayer”, serenity is only one part of the equation. There are 3 parts to the above prayer: Serenity, Courage and Wisdom.

Serenity

God is in control. The same God Who knows the number of hairs upon my head, Who knows when a sparrow dies, is the same God Who allows things to occur in my and others’ lives. He allows trials for our own good.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

~ Jas 1:12 (NIV)

So, why should I get upset about things, really? Do I have enough faith – trust in a loving, caring God – to believe that God allows these things for my own good?

Courage

Some things are just plain wrong. Some things just plain need to change. That change needs to start with ourselves. Do we have the courage to make the change?

David had the courage to slay Goliath. Saul did not. The bravest of Israel’s army did not. Yet, day after day, an unbeliever stepped out and blasphemed God. Saul, as king, should have had the bravery to step out and punish the blasphemer in the name of God. Instead, the coward sent out a shepherd boy, not even a man. Some estimate David was at most 19, but some believe he was as young as 14 or 15. Yet, this young boy had more courage than the rest of Israel combined. More importantly, he had faith in God.

Wisdom

If we can tell the things we cannot change from the things we can change, we save our energies upon endeavors that will pay off.

More importantly, we allow God to change the things we cannot in His time and in His way.

Serenity, courage and wisdom are sorely needed in a Christian’s life.

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