Saturday, June 15, 2013

Escaping through worry


God's Word is powerful.  It's far more powerful than anything we can imagine.  It created stars, planets, ants, and droplets of water.  He spoke and it happened.  And God is a good, loving Father.  He disciplines us because He loves us, and He makes us lie down where we can find life in Him (Psalm 23).

Yet, everyday, I find a way to trivialize God's voice and elevate my own above it.  Want to know how?  By being worried.  I'm worried about my health, my marriage, my future, my finances, my ministry, my reputation, my safety during storms, the next presidential election, whether there's a killer in my house, etc.

It's easy for me to be anxious.  And yet, I think in the day to day, we actually suppress the truth about God and us through our worries.  What's worse?  We often disguise our worry and anxiety as "wisdom."

Maybe, like me, you've seen yourself say these things to yourself or to others.

"I need to make sure I get to the gym today, because, well, you know, it's wise to do everything to stay healthy."

"I need to beat this sin, and I certainly can't share it, because it wouldn't be wise to let everyone in on how I struggle.  It would ruin my influence."

"I need to plan out now how to make more money, because who knows what could be coming down the pike in 5 or 10 years.  It's wise to think how we can save more."  

Now, I know what you're thinking.  These three statements are perfectly reasonable things to say.  There's nothing inherently wrong with them.  Here's the key... do you feel guilty when you miss your time at the gym, or if you eat something a little less healthy?  Or maybe you feel guilty if you gain an extra pound.  What if you feel guilty because you're growing slower than you want in a particular area of your life.  Are you obsessed with the idea that you need to keep making more money to survive?

Or what about this... are you fearful that when you sin, God is going to take away your salvation?

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."  (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Notice in this verse how Peter emphasizes our need to humble ourselves.  Earlier, he outlines in the passage that we need to clothe ourselves with humility, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  But notice how he says to humble yourself.

1. Under the Mighty hand of God - Understand who you're ultimately humbling yourself to, which is the God of the entire universe

2. So that at the proper time He may exalt you - The purpose of this humbling is so that we will ultimately be exalted by God at the right time (heaven)

3. Casting all your anxieties on Him - Wait, what?  How is this humbling ourselves?  As a note, casting is a participle that modifies the main phrase of 'humble yourselves.'  A way to humble ourselves then is to let God handle our worries, rather than try to tackle them on our own.

4. Because He cares for you - The reason we can cast our anxieties on him is because He is a loving Father who cares for us.

To sum this all up, this 4 point sermon is saying, "If you're in Christ, stop worrying about your life, God is in control and He loves you, so live in that reality."

It means that if finances are tight, the solution isn't just "I need more money."  The solution is, "God, you're in control, what are you trying to teach me right now, and how can you help me honor you."

If your marriage is getting harder, the solution isn't just "How do I make all the issues go away."  The solution is, "God, you're in control, how do you want me to serve my spouse in the midst of these obstacles."

If your walk with the Lord has been rocky because of struggles with indwelling sin, the solution isn't, "God I promise I'll do better."  The solution is, "God, you're in control, and through the power of your Gospel, I will one day be transformed.  Help me to feel the weight of my sin more and help transform my heart."

Ultimately, our circumstances will forever change when we rid ourselves of this broken world, our sin-ridden bodies, and Satan is finally vanquished.  Until then, we can live in the reality that sufferings, broken relationships, bad circumstances, and messed-up emotions WILL be redeemed because of Jesus.

If God is who He says He is, who are we to think that our voices and feelings are more accurate than the truths of His Word?