I’m not sure what comes to your mind when you ponder the title of this article. I suppose those words are not commonly spoken. In my own history, I can think of times I certainly have behaved. I also recall some times I have not. Hopefully the times I have behaved are becoming my norm as I work hard to know God better.
Anyway, I’d like to delve into this unusual statement – “I have behaved.” Did you know it comes straight out of Scripture?
I Have Behaved
“I have behaved” comes straight out of Scripture. It really caught my eye. As a result, I’ve found myself contemplating the Scripture it came from – Ps. 131:2a. I decided to search numerous translations of this phrase. Interestingly, this exercise proved refreshing and instructional.
- “I have calmed and quieted my soul.” (NIV)
- “I have learned to feel safe and satisfied.” (CEV)
- “I have restrained and composed my soul.” (DARBY)
- “I am content and at peace.” (GNT)
- “I have behaved and quieted myself.” (KJV)
- “I am quiet now before the Lord.” (TLB)
- “I have certainly soothed and quieted my soul.” (NASB)
Look with me at each translation. Let’s see what we can pull from each version’s word choices.
1. I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul
“I have” suggests you have control over the concept presented in the remainder of the sentence. You have “say so.” Ownership. Buy-in. This translation, focuses on a choice to calm and quiet oneself.
In today’s world of counseling, it’s recommended to talk about what is going on inside you. But good counsel is incomplete unless it also includes discussion about taking responsibility for yourself and lining your life up with Scripture.
This Scripture strongly suggests personal responsibility for choices and conduct, no matter what the scenario. Notice – no scenario is given. So, this generic, strong recommendation applies in any given situation. “You have” and “I have” been given capacity to calm and quiet our souls.
No matter what you are going through, God’s Word says you have the power to calm and quiet your soul.
2. I Have Learned to Feel Safe and Satisfied
In addition to the “I Have” power you possess, this translation gives a fresh reference to learning. Being in process. Growing. Becoming. What a kind way for Scripture to instruct people. God knows we are in process, and He’s OK with the fact that we continue to learn all our lives.
This learning process also suggests you can choose to feel safe and satisfied!
Apparently, choosing to feel safe goes beyond being safe. Being safe is important, and it infers no threat of danger. But life is filled with dangers and challenges. If a person manages their life well, they should be putting certain principles into place for safety.
- Choosing to not participate in destructive processes and relationships.
- Choosing to definitely participate in constructive learning opportunities and relationships.
- Setting good boundaries to prevent unhelpful things from happening.
- Asking God for wisdom to address confusing or perilous situations.
- Obeying every directive God gives, even if you don’t understand.
Sometimes you’ve done all those things, and danger still threatens – a reality of our fallen world. What then?
This Scripture says learning to feel safe in addition to doing everything possible to be safe is an additional measure. Because God is who He claims, because He is good, because He is deeply loving – you can be safe and feel safe in Him. More than a “feeling,” it’s a knowledge God is with you.
Being satisfied does not mean everything is the way you want it to be. Instead, it’s a choice to be content in any circumstance – a spiritual discipline. Of course, if you can make things better, do it. But sometimes there is nothing more to do.
Phil. 4:11-13 says, “. . . I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. Yes, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
That’s being satisfied.
In every life situation, God’s Word says you have the power to learn to feel safe and satisfied.
3. I Have Restrained and Composed My Soul
Dictionaries give ideas like “holding back, keeping in check, under control” when defining restraint. They give ideas like “making or forming, putting in proper order” when defining compose.
Combining these ideas together with “I Have,” suggests the ability to control your responses and put your choices in order. You can restrain and compose life responses in a kind of “sculpting” way: through actions, words, attitudes.
You get to choose how to respond. Be creative as you put your choices in order. Engage pensive responses that please God and bring peace to your soul.
So in every daily scenario, God’s Word says you have the power to restrain and compose yourself.
4. I Am Content and At Peace
Once again, dictionaries offer definitions like: “non-warring, agreements, treaties, mutual harmony, normal freedom,” etc. And that’s what our communities in the world hope for.
But Jesus offers something better. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn. 14:27)
Peace from Jesus is deep, rich, lasting – even in a world that lacks peace. God’s peace is the central condition of being rightly connected with Him, believing His Word, obeying His commands, and enjoying a relationship with Him. This peace can run alongside all the troubles of this broken world. Because of God’s peace, so different from the world’s peace, Jesus could add the words He did at the end of His promise of peace – “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Consequently, no matter how threatened global peace might be, God’s Word says you can be content and at peace in Jesus.
5. I Have Behaved and Quieted Myself
So – do you behave in situations as they arise? Do you conduct yourself with maturity? We’re talking about choices again. It’s fully in your control – “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27a) Did you know that’s in the Bible?
Apparently, God created you with a design that supports your ability to behave in any situation you find yourself in, and to quiet your inner person. This is not something you muster up yourself. It’s a dependable, creative power that flows directly from God’s Spirit into yours. Are you hooked up to this flow and ready to receive? Is your intention to behave? Will you choose to quiet yourself in Christ’s love – the One “who loved you and gave Himself for you?” (Gal. 2:20c)
Apparently, there is no situation that can render this ability you posses – ineffective. You do have the power to behave and quiet yourself.
6. I Am Quiet Now Before The Lord
After exploring previous translations, this version adds an additional flair. This person has completely accepted what God says. Already having “behaved,” they are resting in the Lord. Now! Accepting truth and acting with appropriate, godly responses – they enjoy being already at peace.
- At peace.
God’s Word says you were intended to live this way – always – quiet before the Lord. BUT – you must choose to live here.
7. I Have Certainly Soothed and Quieted My Soul
But there’s more! The result of living quietly before the Lord brings certain qualities that strengthen, comfort, and encourage you daily. There is a refreshing element that rises inside you like a cool spring. You find yourself soothed. And this condition fortifies every boundary, condition, attack, insult, relationship, joy, physical affliction, or mental state you will encounter.
Are you “certainly soothed” as you follow Jesus? Have you quieted your soul in Christ?
In any life condition, God’s Word says you have the design to live soothed and quieted in your soul.
Since I Have Behaved . . .
There is reward for those who have behaved. God promises more of Himself. He gives wisdom and power. Relationship with Him changes every scenario in this broken life. And a glorious eternal future belongs to those who choose to behave.
Application for this content is simply one question: Can you say from your heart – “I have behaved?”
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