Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Worry can choke us


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 rat
In 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.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34)
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:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,    slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse,    nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve    or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth,    so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,    so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children,    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; (Psalm 103:8-13)

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!
No?
No.
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.....


2 comments:

Katie Isabella said...

what a beauty!!! Thank you.

Snoodles said...

Thanks, Katie, I'm still not receiving comment alerts to reply to, so I'm replying here on the study blog. This was a comforting study for me; I hope it blesses all who stop here to read....