Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Worry & Faith (3)

This next set of questions (found in Matthew 6) that Jesus asked are some of the most difficult for me. I know what He’s saying, but “doing” what He’s teaching is pretty tough. See for yourself…

Jesus asks a couple of questions about why do we worry about food and clothes, but the main question is verse 27 - Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

I don’t know about you, but I understand that worrying is like a rocking chair – it gives me something to do, but it doesn’t get me anywhere. I know that. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stop worrying – it just comes to us so naturally… and I’m pretty good at it!

The reality is worry really doesn’t help anything. In fact, most of us would admit worry has a pretty negative affect on our lives. So, how do we stop worrying?

You may not like this answer, but I’ve found it’s the only one that works. The answer can be found in Jesus’ last question of chapter 6 – Why do you have so little faith?

See, even if you are a spiritual person – this question has a little sting to it. I mean if I do believe in God and the Bible and all that…well…I should be able to rely on my faith instead of worrying. But if you’re not a spiritual person – then – I guess you’re kinda stuck with your worry – I don’t have a “next best answer” for you.

But I do have some good news – you can become a spiritual person – and it really does help you move from worry to faith. Not all at once, and sometimes you’ll still get blindsided. But one thing I’m learning about my faith is that it’s still there when I get myself calmed back down - because my faith is not based on my efforts, but on the Person of Jesus (the guy asking all the tough questions here). You see, even when I “lose” faith, He remains faithful. If you want to more info. on how you can begin to find faith you can e-mail me at Dave@RedoingLife.com.

Well, let me wrap this up – how do I lean more on my faith and decrease my worry? I hop over several short books to the right in my Bible to Philippians 4:6-7 which says –

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but when I want to worry about something what I’m really looking for is peace. And there’s no better peace than the peace God is able to give to us. Our worries come from our hearts and our minds, so when we take these worries to God, that is what He promises to guard – our hearts and minds.

I wish I could tell you that I do this perfectly every time. I don’t! But when I do…well…I guess you’ll have to experience it for yourself – because the Bible’s right – I can’t really explain it – you just have to live it.



Anonymous said...

I have for a mustard seed necklace I use to remind me when my faith is low that God will move mountains for me anyway. (Matthew 17;20)

In times of worry I will look to God's promise in Psalm 46;10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
This bring to mind the Story Side B song, "We Are Not Alone", for it has a peacful, calming affect on my sometimes rebellious brain.

Likewise I am not always perfect in remembering these everytime.

Anonymous said...

My Uncle sent me the following story...
A Penny & A Prayer
You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to think about.
Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband's employer's home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.
The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment.
Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny.
He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.
A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
'Look at it.' He said. 'Read what it says.' She read the words ' United States of America '
'No, not that; read further.'
'One cent?' 'No, keep reading.'
'In God we Trust?' 'Yes!' 'And?'
'And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, 'In God We Trust,' and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.

Dave said...

To the first Anonymous:

The church that gathers at my house was recently tackling the question of "Why do things always seem to get worse before God shows up?" That wasn't the exact question, but that was the point. Why do we have to endure through so much junk in this life.

Of course the answer to that is much longer than I have space here to explain, but in re-reading the Bible looking for the biblical response I found that when James talks about our faith, he treats it as a given. He does not talk about increasing our faith, but says that the point of trials is to mature us and that maturity comes through us relying on the faith we already have (in full measure).

I cannot say I've done a complete study on this issue, but it makes sense. Our relationship with God provides us with all the faith we need - we just need to learn how to lean into that faith as we endure whatever life throws at us.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

[Matthew 17:20] When the disciples cannot cast a demon from a boy and ask "Why?", Jesus tells the disciples, "Because of the littleness of your faith". This would seem to contradict that faith is a given. Jesus continues, however, "for truly I say unto you if you have the faith of a mustard seed, nothing is impossible to you". Which could indicate various sizes or developments in faith; all with the same outcome. Jesus didn't stop there though; "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

[Matthew 7:7] Jesus says, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be open to you". *Hints at perseverance,does it not? (*I borrowed this thought from R. M. Ballantyne)

There you have it! Jesus does not instruct us to simply have faith, (no matter the size or level thereof), but to focus our faith; pray, ask, seek, and fast. I think I agree with you, Dave. Christians, the faithful, must be active in their service to God, through Christ.

Dave said...

It's interesting to me that the Greek word in Matt. 17:20 is "apistia" - and it's meaning seems to be stronger than the translation "littlness of your faith". The definition of this word is:

1) unfaithfulness, faithless

2) want of faith, unbelief

Either way, I often hear people talking about wishing they had more faith and I think that misses where our focus should be. I don't think our focus should be on the faith as much as the author and perfecter of our faith - our relationship with Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

I'm enjoying these conversation!

One weird thing about the "Anonymous comment" is I'm never sure if I'm talking with one person or multiple people. If you want you can sign your posts (but you don't have to).