Last time we studied, we looked at the example of Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah that was tasked with rebuilding the temple....he had opposition outside, and discouragement inside....so the Lord God told him, "I've got this for you!"
Discouragement can be quite an obstacle in our lives.
Worry can be, too!
Worry can make us stop what we are doing, and pay attention only to the problems facing us. Did you know that the the word "worry" is an old English word that has quite a different meaning that what we ordinarily give it? Look at this:
...... to choke, strangle, harass, shake, or pull at..... like a terrier worrying a ratIn fact, the "anxious, distressed" definition is the fourth one listed! Worry can definitely choke the joy out of our relationship with Christ, and out of our lives, as well....
Let's look at a passage that goes hand in hand with I Peter 5:7. These are the words of our Lord, Jesus.
Jesus thought it was important to tell us not to worry. He told us why we shouldn't worry, and then he told us what to do, instead of worrying! He gives us a plan!
Now, one thing we should straighten out first, is that there are two distinct things in our lives, and some people think they are one and the same..... concern and worry. They are actually quite different!
Worry kinda paralyzes us, and concern motivates us to action. Worry is a futile attempt to control the future, while concern makes a valid attempt to improve the future through either planning or through prayer.
Do we have a history of heart issues in our family? We can worry: stay awake at night in fear that our heart will stop beating.....or we can be concerned: watch our weight, exercise, and eat healthy food, and leave the result up to God. He says to us, "I've got this."
Concern is when we do our part to improve a situation, and then leave the end results up to Him. Worry is when we hang on to what we can't control, then dwell on it and brood on it as if we can control it -- eventually worry makes us sick! Sick physically and emotionally!
Our Lord gave us instructions here in the focus passage, to battle worry. To make sure that we don't give in to Satan and worry, worry, worry. I'm so glad to re-read this passage..... He doesn't just say "Don't worry!" He also tells us why we should not worry.
Jesus told His listeners that day on the mountainside to observe the birds. We don't know for sure, maybe a flock of birds was flying overhead; maybe they swooped and flittered close to their Creator, and maybe they sang as they perched in a nearby shrub or tree. Jesus told the people (and He tells us, too) to take note of something: God takes care of the birds he has created. He looks after them. There is food available for them, and He has given them instincts to help them survive. Birds have no worries because God cares for them -- aren't we of more value than they?
If the truth be known, all people are more valuable than birds or any other creature (I know, our pets are super important to us, but that's not the point here!). You see, we were created in the very image of God. Jesus is speaking here not just of those who know about God, but specifically about those who reverence Him. This is the love of God to us:
This is the way that God values each of us.
So, since our heavenly Father is caring for us daily, and is concerned about our needs, we will have endless days of satisfaction and we'll have everything we want!
Jesus did NOT say that God is committed to looking after all of our "wants." The fact is, sometimes our wants are not lined up with what God already knows is truly best for us.
A toddler asks his parent if he may stay up longer.....he wants to stay up because his grandparents are visiting and they are much more fun than his parents! They bring little surprises, and they laugh at all his outrageousness, and they play any game that he asks...... but his parent knows that if he doesn't go to bed now, the next day the toddler will have an emotional meltdown because he didn't get enough sleep! What the child wants, and what he needs, are two really different things!
The application here is that sometimes we come before our heavenly Father, and we think we know what would be best for us. We pray, and we expect God to follow through. But He has no intentions of granting our desires, if it's not the best thing for us!
God cares for us; He provides for us; and He will say "no" to us, when He knows it's best for us. It's our responsibility to keep that relationship with Him sweet, and to remember we don't have to worry..... He's got this!
We'll finish up our study tomorrow.....