There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
Infected saints tend to be control freaks. I try so hard to keep my life in order in a way that makes sense and is comfortable to me. I work really hard to make things happen like I think they should go. I struggle in situations where I do not feel like I am in control. I have a hard time trusting others who are handling things on my behalf. I have been told by people who speak hard truth to me that I am a Control Freak. Jesus associates with trying to control things as being a slave to worry (Matthew 6:25). We need to learn that we are not able to bear the burden that comes with worry.
I am learning that when I allow God to work through me He carries the load. When I put my energy into trusting God and not worrying and scrambling, I enter a state of rest and peace. When I try and make people do the right thing or get a certain outcome I want, I have to stress over it and exhaust alot of energy to make it happen. If it works out the way I want, I feel relief from the stress momentarily until the next situation I feel is “out of control” arises. This approach too life weighs us down and exhausts us.
Stress is heavy. When we look to God we release stress because it is simply to heavy. It weighs us down spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and emotionally. When we run ahead of God we get lost and frustrated. We doubt God’s ability to lead. We question his competency. Reality is He is sovereign over all things and we have little to no control over anything. Control freaks do not want to give in to that fact but it is both futile and sinful to try and jerk the reigns out of the Lord’s hands.
God is the one who controls the wind. I heard it said recently that we cannot direct the wind but we can control the sails. It is crucial for a believer to set sail towards the will of God and ride His wave of promise. His promise to us is that He will never forsake us; that He will work all things for our good; that he will provide for us. If we could control things we would mess it all up. We don’t know what is best for us. Only God has our best interest in mind. Only He will work in us for His glory.
We waste a lot of energy on things we cannot control. When we get worked up over traffic, weather, or people who annoy us, we are wasting energy on things we cannot change and allowing that to bother us. The one thing we can control is our attitude. Instead of choosing to be frustrated over our lack of control over situations and people, we need to focus on what God is doing in and around us. Maybe He wants to teach you patience or how to be more merciful. Try praying for the people in those cars at a stand still around you in busy traffic. Our go to should be prayer. Is prayer our steering wheel or spare tire? Do we look to prayer only when we are at our wit’s end or do we go to it immediately as our source of strength and comfort?
We need to see our attempt to control things as a faith issue. God demands and deserves our trust. We are not in control nor were we created to be so. We don’t have what it takes to be God. Let Him do His work in you and trust in His will.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, Colossians 3:23
I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!
That was the bumper sticker on the car in front of me today as I drove to work. Kind of sums it up doesn’t it? Most of us begrudgingly trek to work every day out of necessity. For the blessed few who love what they do (like me!) you don’t hate it but it still is a job. There are stressful days, frustrations with people, difficult tasks. The burden we carry in our job can be heavy. We can easily lose our joy if we lose sight of the bigger picture. Working for money or a better position or to pay the bills is less than satisfying. It will suck the life from us. What we need is vision. We need to catch a vision for why God wants us to work. When He created the universe he declared it work and called the result good. The seventh day He took a well deserved break. He then created man and woman and told them to work to subdue the earth. This might surprise you but work is not a product of the fall. Adam and Eve were working before they ate of the forbidden fruit. After the Fall the earth just stopped cooperating. Work became a lot harder but they still were called to do it. They were created to do so. And so are we.
Maybe we need to catch a vision for why God created work. We need to understand that he made us so that we need to be doing something that contributes to a greater purpose than ourselves, something that benefits others, and ultimately glorifies His name. You can do this in whatever you are called to do. And we need to see it as a calling and not just a job. If you are a teacher, then you sharpen your skills to be the best communicator of knowledge possible because you know God loves truth. If you are a shoemaker then you don’t have to put a cross on the shoe to glorify God but you make the best shoe you possibly can because God is honored by precision and quality. If you stay at home then you create a home of order and hospitality because your God brings order to all things. Whatever your job is you need to catch a vision for how God can be glorified in it. He wants you to work towards a pattern of excellence in whatever you do because He is glorified in that.
It does not matter where you land on the pay scale, if you are in management, or whether you use your hands, mind, or both for your job. Whatever you do, catch a vision for why God has you there. When you put your best effort and keep the right attitude in your job, others will notice. When they notice they will wonder why you work so hard. You will have opportunity to glorify God in an even greater way, by sharing your faith with them. When they ask why you work so hard, you declare that you do it to glorify your Father in Heaven. Tell your boss when he or she evaluates you. Tell your employees when they thank you. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t hesitate. Speak it boldly with love. Your hard work has given you a voice with them. Don’t miss the opportunity!
Work hard but don’t forget to rest. God did! You need it. It creates rhythm in your life. It makes you appreciate more the value of rest. Lay your tools down and breathe. Put your computer away and let your mind wonder. Put up the paperwork and worship. Find rest emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
You spend a lot of time doing what you do. Don’t waste it on selfish pursuits. Don’t work yourself to death for things that you can’t take with you. What does God want to do in you at your job? Gain eternal perspective. Glorify Him in whatever you do!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12: 25-26
We waste so many hours worrying about most things that will never even happen. Did you know worry is a sin? It is our vain attempt of controlling things around us and is the opposite of faith in God. Here are three principles to remember about worry:
1) Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing.
I think we worry because it is the closest thing to control that we have. I can make very little really happen in life or stop anything from happening. I can’t control people or time or a doctor’s diagnosis. What I can do is worry. I do this so I feel Inan doingsomething towards the situation. A better alternative would be to pray. Praying is doing something about the situation. When I pray God often does not change my circumstance but He does change my heart to see my situation in a whole different way. Respond to difficulty in life by praying.
When I pray, God often does not change my circumstance but He does change my heart to see my situation through a whole different perspective.
2) Worry has negative effects on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Stress kills. Worry is not a harmless act. It causes us pain and can lead to serious issues. Don’t just accept worrying as just who you are. God did not intend for you to worry. It. Is destroying you slowly.
3) Worry is the opposite of trusting in God.
When we worry we are saying Lord I don’t know that you got this or I don’t think you will answer the the way I want you to. Worry is the opposite of responding to life by faith. Closely tied to worry is fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear nor does he want us to be anxious about anything. When things go awry around us we need to respond by faith that God is present in our circumstance and will work it according to His purpose and for our ultimate good.
So for you worriers reading this what are you to do? When you begin to worry don’t try and overcome it by your own effort and willpower. You will ultimately fail. You have to replace your worry with something else. Instead of worrying the Bible tells us to focus in on God’s kingdom.
To not think so much about self preservation but more on kingdom advancement. That will change your life. We don’t need to try and stop worrying about what is happening to us. We need to stop thinking about ourselves so often in the first place. Don’t accept worry as a way of life. God wants you to see the unbelief and futility of worrying.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you
Learn from children. They have something to show you about how you should live.
Let me first say that children are precious. God sees children as invaluable. He promises divine retribution to those who hurt children. Civilized society rages against anyone who harms a child. Children must be protected at all costs. That is a timeless principle.
Now what can we learn from these precious children. Children don’t worry. They don’t worry about tomorrow, or health, or social status, or anything else that plagues adults with stress and worry. Kids just trust. Sure this trust can be misplaced. That’s why we have to protect them. But they trust those who love them. You teach them early about God and they will remind you of how awesome God is.
My six year old constantly let’s me know that no one measures up to God. God is stronger, taller, the best vegetable eater, greatest basketball player, colorer, bed-maker, and the cleanest entity in all the universe. God is His hero. He trusts Him with complete abandon. No questions asked. And my son expects me to do the same.
Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
That is telling! Children trust and we should trust too: feet first, all in, no holding back. Children don’t worry because they believe that someone capable will take care of their needs. Adults, it’s time for us to quit stressing and trust the Heavenly Father, who is more than capable, to take care of us.
I dedicate this post to Children’s Pastors and Directors, to Children and Nursery workers, to churches that help children in need, to programs like Jumpstart that shows the love of Christ in concrete action to kids. To all those who sacrifice so that children can learn more about their God.