Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day 15: Matthew 6:25-34 & Psalm 15: What Does Our Anxiety Really Say?

Today's Reading: Matthew 6:25-34 & Psalm 15

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What Does Our Anxiety Really Say?

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? - Matthew 6:25, ESV

I missed putting this post up last night, partly because I was upset and anxious about the Super Tuesday primary election results. So, it is fitting that today, God should be calling us not to be anxious. If you're like me, you may be feeling anxious, upset, worried, fearful or even hopeless this morning. We have no reason to be, of course. God is on His throne. He reigns over the nations. But today I want us to consider this question: What does our anxiety really say about us and what is the solution for it?

1. Our anxiety shows that we value worldly things more than heavenly things. Nothing which happens in this life - financial hardship, loss of a job, political turmoil, cultural decline and corruption, personal losses - can change the eternal realities of God's kingdom and our salvation. So, when we're anxious, it's often because we've lost sight of what really matters and we've given in to the lies that the things of this world are more real than the things of eternity.

What's our solution?

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." - 2 Cor. 4:16-18

2. Our anxiety shows our desire to be in control of our lives. We all know and readily confess that God is in control, right? Yet we all struggle at some level with the inward pull to want to be in control ourselves. We are not content to do our part to trust and obey have God do His part to order and provide. We so often want to be in charge of ordering and providing and expect God to take the role of obeying our desires and trusting/blessing our plans.

What's our solution?

"Trust in the
Lord with all your heart,    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil." - Proverbs 3:5-7, ESV 

3. Our anxiety shows our lack of faith in God. This is the flip-side of #2, but it's important to see it distinctly: We do not trust God as much as we say we do or as much as we know we should. We have seen His hand of provision and protection in our lives so many times, and for every time we have seen it, His hand has gone unseen by us hundreds of times. God is far more powerful, wise and loving that we could every imagine, and Scripture testifies to this again and again.

What's our solution?

"So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight." - 2 Cor. 5:6-7

Prayer based on Psalm 15:

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Heavenly Father, when I read this Psalm, I am immediately convicted by how I don't measure up to this description. My walk is far from blameless; I so often do what I know is wrong. I tell lies to myself in my heart, and often those lies spill out from my lips to others. I have been guilty of slandering others and of doing evil in my thoughts, my words and my deeds. Lord, if this is the standard of who may dwell on Your holy hill, then I am without hope and I stand condemned by my sin.

Yet, Father, I know that this Psalm is also a description of Jesus, and I know that Jesus is my righteousness. Jesus walked blamelessly before You every day of His life. Jesus always thought and spoke the truth. Jesus never slandered or did evil. He pledged to go to the cross and did not change His mind, though the cost of His sacrifice was more than I could ever imagine.

Father, may the righteousness of Christ cover me and change me. May His perfection count for me before You and may Your Holy Spirit work His perfection in my heart to transform me. May I love the truth and love my neighbor and be less selfish and be more generous. Forgive me and change my heart, O God. In Jesus' name, Amen.    

1 comment:

  1. Pastor Jason,

    My girlfriend, Kitty Young, just shared this post with me. My family just moved from Phoenix, AZ to Lancaster, PA. I spent the day with her yesterday and she knows that I'm struggling with anxiety.

    Thank you for speaking God's truth and turning my eyes to His faithfulness and my call to trust Him with ALL of my life - yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    I look forward to meeting you some day when we are visiting the Young family in Maryland.

    God bless,

    Sarah Carranza
    Kitty's college roommate from GCC