Calm, Cool, and Collected
by Joseph Franks
There are some people who are “calm, cool, and collected” on the outside.
I want to be like them. Yes, I desire to walk through life like Steven Segal or Jason Stratham. I do not know a thing about the spiritual life of these two men. I do not know anything about their real external lives. I only know the characters they play on the silver screen, and I like what I see. They are John Wayne like, and though they find themselves in the midst of crime, chaos, and catastrophe, they always seem to be men of incredible courage, skill, strength, and efficiency. In the roles they play, they walk as men under control, and they are so different from other fictional characters we see on TV and in the movie theaters — individuals such as Jackie Chan, Lucille Ball, or Kramer. In contrast, these later actors play individuals whose world is spinning, feet are running, tongues are wagging, and minds are whirling. Unlike the action heroes mentioned earlier, this later group of characters are anything but “calm, cool, and collected.”
In reality and totality, there has only been one individual who was “calm, cool, and collected.”
Sure, there have been certain seasons of life when men and women have been under control, but only one man kept it together each and every day. Jesus Christ was this man. From the Gospels, we see he was never externally frantic. He seemed to walk with a intentional, confident, and very humble swagger. Then, based upon his teachings and sinless character, we know he was one who walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” with inner steadiness and peace. Anxiety was not an issue with which the perfect Son of God struggled. Unlike the actors mentioned above, Jesus not only appeared “calm, cool, and collected,” he really was.
This character trait was one desired by Jesus for his friends.
Consider the following portion of one of his most famous sermons:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)
From this portion of Jesus’ sermon, we see the character, law, desire, and demand of our Lord. All his disciples are to:
- Consistently evaluate their adoption as sons of God.
- Consistently evaluate the sovereignty and power of God.
- Consistently expel anxiety; they are not to have such.
- Consistently walk by faith and not respond as unbelieving pagan.
Now for some bad news. Upon reading this, we also see a portion of God’s divine indictment against men and women. None are able to walk like Jesus. None are able to perfectly keep God’s Law. None walk through this world without unrighteous anxiety; no not one. All are worrisome sinners.
Yet, there is good news. Those who are Christians, they have a perfect substitute. Jesus was the anxiety-free substitute sent for us. He was pummeled on the cross by the Just Judge for our unbelieving, faithless, pagan, anxiety. Yes, the bad news is we have sinned greatly. The good news is we have a Great Savior.
And there is more good news. Christian pilgrims, walking down the road to the Celestial City, are promised growth in this area. We are promised progress in peace. We are also promised we will one day be anxiety-free. Isn’t this good news? A wonderful part of the Fruit of the Spirit is “peace.” Therefore …
- As we evaluate our adoption as sons of God …
- As we evaluate the sovereignty and power of our God …
- We expel anxiety…
- We walk by faith and respond quite differently than unbelieving pagans.
Here is some more good news.
In Jesus’ day, he had friends with varied success in this area. Mary and John seemed to walk with their wits about them. At least from my interpretation of the Gospel, they seemed to be fairly content and even-keeled. Martha and Peter were on the other end of the spectrum.
Friends, I sure am glad Jesus befriends struggling and anxious disciples. For at this stage in my life, while keeping it together somewhat on the outside, I am a basket case within. And though I find myself struggling with anxiety and worry, I am not in bondage. Christ is enough for me; he is enough for my atonement, justification, sanctification, and ultimately for glorification. He finishes everything he starts. Someday, I really will be like Jesus — “calm, cool, and collected.” Until that day, I have a great High Priest who sympathizes with my weaknesses and prays for me without ceasing.