Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crowding Out Worry

Have you ever noticed how when you worry about something that other things get crowded out, and how things that would not normally bother you seem to pile on? Worry is a futile exercise in self-determination, an exercise in which we take our focus off of God and place it on the size of a particular circumstance and then we try to figure out how we will either slay it or escape it. It is no accident that fears and/or hopelessness often accompany worry. All of these point to our struggle to fix things on our own or to take a practical, though maybe not verbalized, position that God has for some reason abandoned you this time.

I must admit that a portion of my day today was consumed with worry, and the crazy thing is that it happened right in the middle of a study of Romans where I’ve seen over and over again how faithful my God is. This brings me face-to-face with another reality in our lives, and that is that there is an evil one who seeks to rob and destroy that which God has given us. The answer to his assaults is to be alert and to resist, and this is not something we do in our own strength but it is something that we do by faith in our Lord who has conquered sin and death on our behalf. We are no longer slaves to the evil one. His authority over those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation has been broken. We read in 1 Peter 5:6-11:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

So, the answer for my worry party earlier today was found in resting in who my God is and the promises that He has made to me that He would never leave me nor forsake me, and that He is aware of absolutely everything I encounter and that He makes me able to stand in the midst of it. This is a regular battle for all of us in various ways, and our God knows it. He has given us His Spirit to strengthen us and even to make His word alive for us that in those times it might serve as our defense as we push off the lies of the evil one. He has also given us one another to serve as an encouragement and even to instruct and set us straight.

Ephesians 6:16-17 says, “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

And in doing this we can find ourselves firmly established and able to even regain the supernatural spiritual ability to stand firm as we read in Ephesians 6:13. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/11)

Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and singing my Song. The battle for control your mind is fierce, and years of worry have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself, since I am using it to draw you closer to Me. Your constant need for Me creates intimacy that is well worth all the effort. You are not alone in the struggle for your mind. My Spirit living within you is ever ready to help in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind; He will bless you with Life and Peace.

“surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

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