Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Worry Free Life]

Worry free does not mean problem free. Conflict, calamity, division, strife, &etc. will always be part of this life. Anxiety does not need to be added to the existing issues. I've often heard it said that worry is the sin of not trusting in God with all of your heart. I'm inclined to agree with it. Jesus tells us not to worry in Matthew 6:25-34, 
"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? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ or the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Bolded text is mine.) 
If that verse isn't amazing enough, here's 10 truths that will help you live a worry free life:
  1. Trust in God's Sovereignty. The more I read Scripture the more I see that this is HIS story. He knows the future because He created it and that should provide great comfort for us. There's no reason to worry because He's got this under control.
  2. Understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When we heard the gospel message and believed in it, Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:13 that we are "sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it..." Until that day, when we acquire possession of our promised inheritance, the Holy Spirit is continually doing a great work in us by setting us apart. He does this by enlightening the eyes of our heart, giving us wisdom and knowledge of Him through His Word. The more time we spend in the Bible, the more that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us. He is the Author. It is His Word. He will teach it to you and create change. The more He teaches us according to His Word, the more we begin to trust in the almighty sovereignty of God. And the more time we spend in His Word, the more he will bring it to mind in times of worry. For example, I memorized Proverbs 3:5-6, so whenever I begin to worry He's always bringing it to mind. 
    To read more on the Holy Spirit visit John Piper's sermon list on The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit, it will blow your mind.
  3. Rest in the Hope found in Christ alone. We have salvation through no one else. There is nothing in this world that will provide the peace that He does because of his life, death, burial and resurrection. He accomplished GREAT and WONDERFUL things on the cross, so when worry begins to cloud our judgement, replace those worried thoughts with those of our GREAT and WONDERFUL God. Start by reading why we should rest in Christ (Hebrews is a wonderful place to go) because there we learn that Jesus created the world (Hebrews 1:2), that "... he upholds the universe by the word of his power..." (1:3), that after dying on the cross and "... making purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high..." making himself ruler (1:3-4). If that isn't reason enough to rest in Christ read on to chapter 2 where the author tells us that everything is in subjection to the founder of salvation and nothing is outside his control (see verse 8). Also, the author goes on to explain that he destroyed the one who has the power of death (2:14) and "... because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (v.18) Due to his suffering he is a merciful and faithful high priest (v.17). Reason enough to rest in Him? All we do to enter that rest is believe, "For we who have believed enter that rest." Once we hear the word of God we trust it, allowing us to rest in Christ who has promised to protect us in life and in death. As a result of our belief, we can enter into HIS PRESENCE, unashamed, unafraid and wait for the day we meet Him face to face with excitement because, "We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (6:19-20) Let's thank Him and praise Him in our moments of worry, because He gave us nothing to worry about, especially when faced with death!
  4. Pray. Pray. Pray. One of the best ways to combat fear, sadness, tribulation of any kind, &etc. is with prayer. Like David in many of the Psalms, address your fear! Once you tell Him about it, ask Him to help you. Most importantly, trust that He will! It may not be tomorrow and it may not be according to your plan, but have faith that He knows the desires of your heart and will do what's best for you because He loves you. Include thanksgiving and praise in your prayer because it's pretty amazing that we have a God that hears our prayer, is trustworthy, faithful, and is constantly working on our behalf, isn't it? "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12 
  5. Recognize Satan's Lies. The only way to do that is by time in the Bible. Also, don't be so arrogant as to think you know more than He does. He knows it and he will twist it. Be on guard, constant in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you. Remember: Satan wants you to worry! By worrying you forget the BIGNESS of God. 
  6. Understand and trust in the BIGNESS of God according to Scripture. Job 38-41 is an excellent place to start because it's where God answers Job's complaint, "But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God." (13:2) or "Here is my signature! Let the almighty answer me! Oh that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me as a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him." (31:35-37) That's a pretty hefty, bold claim to make before God and He roars a reply that left me in a place of awe. My favorite statement made by Him is right after He talks about how He can play with Leviathon as a bird (WOW), "Who then is he who can stand before me? Who has first given to me, that I should repay him Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine." (41:10-11) Once we understand the BIGNESS of God we acknowledge his power and his love and can trust Him as a result. 
  7. Spend time in God's Word, because it is the only thing that will provide encouragement and give hope. 
    Romans 15:4 describes the role of the Bible in our lives. How do we find the strength to endure in times of suffering? Scripture! How do we keep on hoping? Scripture! We need Scripture, especially in times of tribulation because it is then that we are tempted to think God's sovereignty is not believable. (Read a sermon by John Piper titled, "How Can I Keep on Hoping? The Scriptures!" to further encourage you.) When you spend time in Scripture you'll come across verses like Matthew 6:25-34, which I quoted in the beginning of this post, where we learn what it means to let go of worry and trust in God's ability to provide and protect. Not only that, but he will care for you better than you can care for yourself. He loves you far more than your own mother will ever love you. With knowledge such as that, what have we to worry about?
  8. The next three are for women specifically. God has given women an incredibly beautiful position in our homes. While under the authority of our father or husband (Note: the reason I emphasized the or: you are never under the authority of both, if you are married, you are now under the authority of your husband, NOT your father. That was an order established way back in Genesis 2:24 where a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast, or cleave, to his wife - becoming one flesh. There is no room for your father's authority in that relationship.) ... back to the topic at hand... there are 4 specific things your father or husband are supposed to do for you: provide, protect, nourish, and cherish (read Ephesians 5:22-33). Allowing him to fulfill his role in our lives provides a worry-free environment because his job is to protect you from all that might worry you and provide all that you need, giving you no reason to worry.
  9. God is calling your father or husband to love you as they love their own body (Ephesians 5:28). He loves his own body by feeding it, taking care of it, giving it what it wants or needs. He is to treat you the same way he treats himself. If he does that, imagine how much less worry you'll have as a result - especially if you let him! Now, this is a two-fold piece, because with your husbands responsibility comes our own. In order to live in a household that maintains this God-established order, we must also live up to our own expectations. Go back to Ephesians 3:22-33. Paul is using the example of marriage to help us understand the mystery of the gospel. Our husbands are the head of the household just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ loved his church so much that He gave Himself for her, just as the husbands are being called to do. What are we called to do in comparison? "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." (3:24) We are called to respect our husband as our authority (vs.33) because our husband will be held accountable for decisions made under his roof, not you. How does this relate to worry? Well, the fact that we aren't held accountable for those decisions is pretty freeing, but it's more than that. Once we let go of trying to love on ourselves above all else and let God love us and our husbands love us, we begin to understand that self-love has nothing, absolutely nothing, on that kind of love. To buy into the world's view that we should love self above all else is exhausting. That is what I mean by letting him (and HIM) love you. Let go of the notion that you should love yourself first and simply bask in the wonderful, freeing love of Christ and your husband. This also includes loving your husband and God before yourself. This self-sacrificing love was displayed by Christ on the cross, and we are called to live like him. When we submit to this plan, trust me, it's freeing.
  10. Finally, your father or husband is called to cherish you. This requires that he holds you in high esteem, values you, adores you, and cultivates the relationship he has with you. By doing this he is acting as a selfless man who puts you and your needs and desires above his own. I'd say that's the beginnings of a worry-free life, don't you?
Now, visit Melany's blog for 10 more truths that you may find equally as effective in helping you worry less and trust GOD more.
Each post has been scheduled for months and it continually amazes me how God times things! I needed to spend time writing about this; it was a stark reminder to not be anxious about anything. Today is the day I go to the doctor to see if there is any change in my previa, where the placenta is partially located over the cervix, which requires many restrictions, careful observation, and a c-section if the placenta's location does not gravitate away from the cervix before delivery. The last of which I desperately want to avoid. I trust in God's sovereignty, even in my child's birth, but it is in moments like this that I forget His GREATNESS and become anxious about the unknown. After writing this post, reminding me of these truths, I am at peace - completely calm and thanking God for all that He is and all that He has done in our lives as BecKyle.

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