Thursday, July 10, 2014

An Invitation to Stress Free Living

As I draw near to the beginning of my vacation, my mind is going back to the end of my last vacation. This morning I remembered a lesson that the Lord taught me at that time, and that I need to remember, so I thought it might be helpful to re-post what I wrote upon my return. I know that this has blessed me today, and I hope it will bless you, too. 

Thank you so much, Glory of Christ, for praying for me while I was away over the last few weeks. I enjoyed many lengthy times with the Lord wherein I read over 300 chapters of the Bible, memorized and meditated on several verses, talked with our Father about many things, and simply enjoyed being with him as one of his sons in Christ. Please receive my appreciation for your prayers, for I am sure that the Lord heard and answered them and that means the world to me.

One of the texts I spent quite a bit of time savoring is Philippians 4:6-8. This is a well-known text that we memorized together as a church earlier in the summer, and though I have quoted it hundreds of times over the years in a variety of contexts, I heard the opening line in a way I have never heard it before—I heard it as an invitation. 

“Do not be anxious about anything”—not one single thing. Ponder this. Savor this. Receive this. Our Father is inviting us to live a completely stress-free life because of the power of what he has done for us in Christ. He is inviting us to join Jesus as he sleeps in the bottom of the boat while the storm rages fiercely and threatens life and limb. I am not saying that this way of life is automatic or easy to learn, but I am saying that God is inviting us into it and that he can teach us how to actually live this way—resting in Christ stress-free. 

Why do we get anxious anyway? There are at least two reasons. First, we want to be in control and fear that we are not. In other words, arrogance leads to anxiety. Second, we fear people, circumstances, the future, and many other things. In other words, uncertainty leads to anxiety. And under both arrogance and uncertainty is a common denominator that manifests itself in different ways, namely, unbelief. 

Our Father would teach us that on the basis of what he’s accomplished in Christ, we are free to fear him and no one or nothing else. We are free to live by faith, trusting that our Father is in total control of everything and that he has the future in his hands and that his purposes for us in Christ are good. When we learn to live by faith in this way, all other fears are vanquished because perfect love casts out fear, and with it all related anxieties. 

So may we hear the words of our loving Father, rest in him, and learn to live a stress-free life: “Do not be anxious about anything” but talk to your Father about everything. 

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