“Wake Up!” – Genesis 42:35-38

June 17th, 2018 

Genesis 42:35-38

Sermon Title: “Wake Up!”

Aux. Texts: Romans 8:28-39

Call to Worship: Psalm 46

 

Service Orientation: Every time we worry, fear or feel hopeless, at that point, we are no longer trusting in God’s love, power, wisdom, knowledge, sovereignty and grace.  We need to wake up and realize the truth about our pathetic faith life.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8:31b

 

Background Information:

  • Jacob’s son Joseph has been missing for over 17 years. Jacob’s sons convinced Jacob that Joseph has been eaten by a wild animal.   Instead, Joseph has been sold by his brothers into slavery; where after more than 17 years, God has allowed him to become second in command over all of Egypt, the most powerful country in the middle East and possibly, at that time, the world.
  • Famine has hit the land of Canaan where Jacob and his 11 remaining sons live so they must travel to the only place in the area with food: Egypt.  God had instructed Joseph 8 years ago or so that the famine was coming and so Egypt is one of the few places within reach of Canaan that has food.
  • Jacob sent 10 of his sons (keeping his obvious favorite remaining son Benjamin home) to get food from Egypt and they must now bow before their younger brother to secure the food. After more than 17 years, a major cultural dress shift, and the fact that they sold him into slavery and the man they are bowing before now is possibly the second most powerful man on the planet; the 10 brothers fail to recognize Joseph as their brother.
  • The 10 brothers get the food, but have to leave Simeon behind in Egypt in prison as a bargain to be able to take the food home to Canaan. More than likely, Joseph chose Simeon because he was the oldest brother who conspired to have Joseph sold into slavery.  As the oldest brother there he should have stopped this injustice instead of promoting it.
  • Joseph tells the 9 remaining brothers that if they want any more food in the future, and if they want their brother Simeon released from prison; they must bring their youngest brother to Egypt the next time they return to get food.
  • From Jacob’s perspective “Everything is against him.” There is a famine in the land and he thinks he doesn’t have access to food (When in reality his favorite son has more food than people can count).  He believes Joseph is dead (When in reality he is a leader in Egypt and holds power as the second most powerful man on the planet). He believes Simeon is in danger in an Egyptian prison (When in reality he is under the watchful eye of his younger brother and could not be more safe and secure than where he is right now).  And he believes that sending Benjamin to Egypt is the worse thing that could happen to him (When in reality he is unaware that his favorite son Joseph – who he believes is dead – is actually orchestrating events to bring about the most stunning family reunion the world will ever know.   And Jacob will be the guest of honor.  Far from everything being against him . . . things could not be better.

 

The question to be answered is . . . If God is sovereign, if God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, if God is all knowing, if God is omnipotent; then why in the world do we ever fear, worry or feel hopeless?

 

Answer:  Because we are idiots!  We need to wake up and pay attention.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Sovereign

 

Worry has its grammatical roots in the German word worgen = “to choke” That is what worry does, it chokes you.  Jesus said that worry, the cares of this world, chokes out the word of God in a life.

 

In the decades that have followed I have learned much more about the fight against anxiety.  I have learned, for instance, that anxiety is a condition of the heart that gives rise to many other sinful states of mind.  Think for a moment how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety.  Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing.  Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly.  Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people.  Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things.  So if anxiety could be conquered, a mortal blow would be struck to many other sins.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 53)

 

Jesus says that the root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace.  As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety.  The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 54)

 

The Bible clearly teaches God’s providential control (1) over the universe at large, Ps 103:19; Dn 4:35; Eph 1:11; (2) over the physical world, Job 37; Ps 104:14; 135:6; Mt 5:45; (3) over the brute creation, Ps 104:21, 28; Mt 6:26; 10:29; (4) over the affairs of nations, Job 12:23; Ps 22:28; 66:7; Acts 17:26; (5) over man’s birth and lot in life, 1 Sm 16:1; Ps 139:16; Isa 45:5; Gal 1:15, 16; (6) over the outward successes and failures of men’s lives, Ps 75:6, 7; Lk 1:52; (7) over things seemingly accidental or insignificant, Prv 16:33; Mt 10:30; (8) in the protection of the righteous, Ps 4:8; 5:12; 63:8; 121:3; Rom 8:28; (9) in supplying the wants of God’s people, Gn 22:8, 14; Dt 8:3; Phil 4:19; (10) in giving answers to prayer, 1 Sm 1:19; Isa 20:5, 6; 2 Chr 33:13; Ps 65:2; Mt 7:7; Lk 18:7, 8; and (11) in the exposure and punishment of the wicked, Ps 7:12, 13; 11:6. (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 168)

 

Do you know what Jesus’s most frequent or oft repeated prohibition in the Gospels was?   It wasn’t “Thou shalt not steal” or “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, or Thou shalt not kill”, it was “Do not be afraid!”   Why?   More than likely because we do not trust in the providence of God.

 

Chapter V – Of Providence

  1. God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
  2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

III.    God in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.

  1. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
  2. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
  3. As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden, from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan: whereby it comes to pass, that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

VII.  As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.  (Westminster Confession of Faith, 33-8)

 

There is a tension underlying false discernment, an anxiety that pressures the mind to make a judgment.  True discernment emerges out of a tranquil and pure heart, one that is almost surprised by the wisdom and grace in the voice of Christ.  Remember, our thoughts will always be colored by the attitudes of our hearts.  Jesus said, “The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mt 12:34).  He also said, “Out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts” (Mk 7:21).  Again He said, “the pure in heart…shall see God” (Mt 5:8).  From the heart the mouth speaks, the eyes see, and the mind thinks.  In fact, Prv 4:23 (NKJV) tells us to diligently guard our hearts for “out of [the heart] spring the issues of life.”

Life, as we perceive it, is based upon the condition of our heart.  This is very important because the gifts of the Spirit must pass through our hearts before they are presented to the world around us.  In other words, if our hearts are not right, the gifts will not be right either.

When the heart has unrest it cannot hear from God.  Therefore, we must learn to mistrust our judgment when our heart is bitter, angry, ambitious or harboring strife for any reason.  The Scriptures tell us to “let the peace of Christ rule [act as arbiter] in [our] hearts” (Col 3:15).  To hear clearly from God, we must first have peace.   (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 81-2)

 

What can we learn from Gen 42:35-38?:

I-  Romans 8:28:  In all things God works for the good of those who love him.  (Rom 5:1-5; Jam 1:2-4)

 

If you worry, why pray?  If you pray, why worry?

 

There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne…for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.  —C.H. Spurgeon.

 

Fear can paralyze and even kill people.  Fear, like misery, loves company.  Faith and laughter are Fear’s most formidable foes.  Laughter cuts Fear down to size.  Fear takes itself so seriously; but it shrinks when we laugh in its face.  Poke fun at Fear and it goes into a frenzy. — Peggy Goldtrap

 

There’s nothing worse than insecurity.  So many people live in fear because they are uncertain about what comes next and their standing before God, if they even believe in God.  On the flip side, there’s nothing better than being absolutely sure that the most powerful Being in the universe adores you as His own child.  This is precisely the confidence the Holy Spirit offers us.  (Francis Chan, Forgotten God, 103)

 

Let a Christian, says a late writer, be but two or three years without an affliction, and he is almost good for nothing.  He cannot pray, nor meditate, nor discourse at that rate he was wont to do; but when a new affliction comes, now he can find his tongue, and come to his knees again, and live at another rate. (John Flavel; The Mystery of Providence, 202)

 

Don’t waste your sin.  —Steve Brown

 

In the providence of God, times of reformation in the church’s life frequently come out of times of disorder and chaos.  God often tears down before he builds up, and this may be one of those times.  (Millard J. Erickson,; Postmodernizing the Faith: Evangelical Responses to the Challenge of Postmodernism, 31)

 

Fear like pain can be an indication of what is wrong in your life.

 

Similarly, “Humble yourselves…casting your anxieties on God.”  One way to be humble is to cast your anxieties on God.  Which means that one hindrance to casting your anxieties on God is pride.  Which means that undue worry is a form of pride.  Now why is casting our anxieties on the Lord the opposite of pride?  Because pride does not like to admit that it has any anxieties.  And if pride has to admit it, it still does not like to admit that the remedy might be trusting someone else who is wiser and stronger.  In other words, pride is a form of unbelief and does not like to trust in future grace.  Faith admits the need for help.  Pride won’t.  Faith banks on God to give help.  Pride won’t.  Faith casts anxieties on God.  Pride won’t.  Therefore the way to battle the unbelief of pride is to admit freely that you have anxieties, and to cherish the promise of future grace in the words, “He cares for you.”  (John Piper, Future Grace, 96)

 

It usually requires, not only the reiterated warnings of God’s word to be sounded in the ears, but generally some startling, crushing, humbling providences, to strike the stupid soul, and arouse it from its dreams of carnal security and worldly ease.  Sickness, worldly losses, bitter disappointments, sore bereavements, or what is still worse, being left to fall into some open sin, are, one or more of them, the means used to awaken such, if there be any salvation for them.  Nothing but speedy repentance under the awakening calls of His word, can prevent these and still worse judgments.  (James Ramsey; Revelation: An Exposition of the First 11 Chapters, 168)

 

In different parts of Burundi we often go through periods of drought.  Farmers who plant corn can never rest on their laurels, even when there are good rains.  Their crop is always vulnerable, because the plants don’t push their roots deep down in search for water when there are abundant rains.  The roots remain near the surface, so a sudden drought can kill them off very quickly.

It can be remarkably similar with us followers of Jesus.  With the abundance of “rains” of freedom to worship, access to great teaching, peace, and prosperity, we could easily settle for shallow roots instead of becoming “rooted and built up in him,” as the Col 2:6, 7 says.  If that’s the case, then when droughts come, in the form of financial, relational, or health problems or whatever else, we’re ill equipped to maintain faith in God.  We suddenly doubt his faithfulness, power, and sovereignty.  We just haven’t gone deep enough.  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 7-21)

 

The nation without God hasn’t got a prayer.  —bumper sticker

 

II-  Genesis 50:20:  Even if others intended to harm me, God intends it for good.  (Gn 45:5-7; Acts 3:13-22)

 

The root meaning of the term providence is to foresee, or to provide.  The question of providence concerns how God thinks ahead to care for all creatures, fitting them for contingencies, for the challenges of history, and for potential self-actualization to the glory of God. …But more than simply foresight, providence has to do with the active daily caring of God for the world in its hazards. (Thomas C. Oden; The Living God, 271)

 

On Providence (from Geneva Study Bible see Prv 16:33 “Providence”

Of the evils that infect God’s world (Spiritual, moral, and physical) the Bible says:  God permits evil (Acts 14:16); He uses evil as a punishment (Ps 81:11-12; Rom 1:26-32); He brings good out of evil (Gn 50:20; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 13:27; 1 Cor 2:7-8); He uses evil to test and discipline those He loves (Mt 4:1-11; Heb 12:4-14); but one day He will redeem His people from the power and presence of evil altogether (Rv 21:27; 22:14-15).

 

“To see God’s providential hand with true certainty it is necessary first to know God Himself, to know Him in the outworking of His revealing and reconciling purpose in Jesus Christ, to know Him at the focus and center in the light of which His ways in providence may be discerned.  The ‘smiling face’ of God is in the first instance the face unveiled at the cross and the empty tomb, where the God who seems to have averted His face from the sin-bearing Savior is the very God who is well pleased with the Son (Mt 3:17), who is well pleased with us in Him (Eph 1:5f.), and who has here worked out, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, the good pleasure of His grace.  This God is also the God who preserves and overrules all creation with a view to the fulfillment of His gracious purpose.  Hence we may be confident that even if providence is frowning, behind it is the smiling face of God.” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; Vol. Three, 1025)

 

One reason God permits the gift of freedom to result in sin is in order that we can arrive at a consciousness of our own finitude and our own inability to attain righteousness on our own.  Hence Luther viewed temptation, sins, and suffering as closely related to providence.  A major function of the law (the divine requirement codified in Mosaic law) is to train us to not rely upon our own righteousness.  Thus providence works, even through the law, to teach us that we cannot achieve righteousness on our own, apart from God’s sustaining help and grace.  The germ of that idea was already present in the patristic writers.

According to Augustine, God would not permit evil at all unless He could draw good out of it.  (Thomas C. Oden; The Living God, 298)

 

Worry is always a stab at the integrity of God’s love.

 

“Living the Christian faith is almost always acting in a manner contrary to the fear that you know.” (Steve Brown, Key Life Broadcast: WBCL 12-28-00)

 

III-  Romans 8:31b: If God is for us, who can be against us?  (Nm 14:9; 2 Chr 20:6; Ps 27; 46; Isa 43:13; Dn 4:35; Mt 6:19-34; Lk 12:22-29; Phil 1:6)

 

You can’t be free until you are secure.  And you can’t be secure unless you know the sovereign God who is ruling this whole show.  (Steve Brown; Born Free)


Worry forces us to focus on the wrong things.”  (Chuck Swindoll, LAUGH Again, 205)

 

Worry is spiritual nearsightedness, a fumbling way of looking at little things, and of magnifying their value.  (Anna Robertson Brown, “What Is Worth While?”)

 

Consider solemnly, that though the things you fear should really happen, yet there is more evil in your own fear than in the things feared:  and that, not only as the least evil of sin is worse than the greatest evil of suffering; but as this sinful fear has really more trouble in it than there is in that condition of which you are so much afraid.  Fear is both a multiplying and a tormenting passion; it represents troubles as much greater than they are, and so tortures the soul much more than the suffering itself.  (John Flavel, Keeping the Heart, 59-60)

 

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.  If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.  —Arthur Somers Roche

 

Undefined fear is a bear…Defined fear is a teddy bear.  (Steve Brown, Living Free, 73)

 

If fear wins, you lose.

 

Worship Point:  Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?  (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, 31)  To trust Him is to worship Him.  (Dt 32:39; 1 Sm 2:6-8; 1 Chr 29:11-14; 2 Chr 20:6; Job 12:9-10; Ps 24:1; 75:6-7; 135:5-6; 145:3; Isa 40:28; Jer 9:11-12; 18:6; Dn 2:20-21; 4:17; Jn 19:11; Acts 17:24-25; Rom 9:19)

 

All worry is caused by calculating without God.  —Oswald Chambers

 

Worry is basically saying to God, “You cannot be trusted in this circumstance.”  (Alister Begg; sermon “Why Worry, God is in Charge.”)

 

When we trust, we don’t worry–when we worry, we don’t trust.

 

Jesus says that the root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace.  As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety.  The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 54)

 

Promises like Ps 118:6 can help us handle such situations better.  If you feed those fears, your faith will starve; but if you feed your faith, your fears will starve instead.  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 10-22)

 

By definition, to forget God is to assume the place of God in your life and the world.  Now, what is so bad about that?  Oh my goodness, think about that for a second.  What do you think worry is?  Let me tell you what worry is.   Worry is a frustrated aspiration to omniscience.  Worry is saying exactly what James says we cannot say.  You are eaten up with worry to the degree you say, “I know.  I know what tomorrow holds.  I know what is right.  I know what has to happen.  I know how history has to go.  I know.  Now if you say that, you will be eaten up with worry because you are aspiring to omniscience.  (Tim Keller; sermon entitled Worry)

 

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.  —George Muller.

 

Christian men are but men.  They may have a bad liver, or an attack of bile, or some trial, and then they get depressed if they have ever so much grace.  But what then?  Well, then you can get joy and peace through believing.  I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever gets to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.  But I always get back again by this:  I know I trust Christ.  I have no reliance but in Him.  Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and my downcast soul and get the victory through it.  So may you do, and so you must, for there is no other way of escaping from it.  In your most depressed seasons, you are to get joy and peace through believing.” — Charles Spurgeon

 

“. . .there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!”  (Abraham Kuyper, as quoted in A Centennial Reader, ed by James D. Bratt, 488)

 

To think of creature and Creator as alike in essential being is to rob God of most of His attributes and reduce Him to the status of a creature.  It is, for instance, to rob Him of His infinitude:  there cannot be two unlimited substances in the universe.  It is to take away His sovereignty:  there cannot be two absolutely free beings in the universe, for sooner or later two completely free wills must collide.  These attributes, to mention no more, required that there be but one to whom they belong. (A. W. Tozer; The Knowledge of the Holy, 7-8)

 

Were there even one datum of knowledge, however small, unknown to God, His rule would break down at that point.  To be Lord over all creation, He must possess all knowledge.  And were God lacking one infinitesimal modicum of power, that lack would end His reign and undo His kingdom; that one stray atom of power would belong to someone else and God would be a limited ruler and hence not sovereign. (A. W. Tozer; The Knowledge of the Holy, 108)

 

I beseech you consider what an effectual means the due observation of Providence will be to overpower and suppress the natural atheism that is in your hearts. (John Flavel; The Mystery of Providence, 151)

 

The essential issue is between the authority of autonomous man and of the Sovereign God.  To allow God into the universe, provided that we open the door, is to say that the universe is our universe, and that our categories are decisive in human thinking.  We can accept the Scriptures as inerrant and infallible on our terms, as satisfactory to our reason, but we have only established ourselves as god and judge thereby and have given more assent to ourselves than to God.  But, if God be God, then the universe and man are His creation, understandable only in terms of Himself, and no meaning can be established except in terms of God’s given meaning.  To accept miracles or Scripture on any other ground is in effect to deny their essential meaning and to give them a pagan import.

Thus, the consistent Christian position must be this:  no God, no knowledge.  Since the universe is a created universe, no true knowledge of it is possible except in terms of thinking God’s thoughts after Him.  (Rousas J. Rushdoony, By What Standard?, 17)

 

Gospel Application:  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.   We can only enjoy the abundant life when we are in Christ.  (Lk 21:34; Jn 10:10; 14:6)

 

Without Jesus we face a hopeless end.  But with Jesus we have an endless hope.

 

A hopeless Christian is a contradiction in terms.

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Wouldn’t it be great if God always gave you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows?  We do have a God like that.  (Tim Keller)  (Rom 8:15; Phil 4:6)

 

Worry is taking upon yourself responsibility God never intended for you to have. —  Bill Gothard.

 

As the Puritan John Flavel once wrote, the providence of God is like Hebrew words— they can only be read backwards.  (R.C. Sproul; Doubt and Assurance, 40)

 

Worry is faith in reverse.

 

My mother would cry about my blindness and the hopelessness of my ever seeing, but I told her I wasn’t sad. I believed God had something for me to do.   —Stevie Wonder

 

Worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed.

 

So What?:  Jesus lived and died so you might enjoy the abundant life:  free of worry, fear and hopelessness.  So wake up and NIKE!  (1 Pt 5:7)

 

I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath—these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely—these are my native air. A John Hopkins University doctor says, “We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-worriers, but that is a fact.” But I, who am simple of mind, think I know:  We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue, brain cell and soul, for faith and not for fear. God made us that way. To live by worry is to live against reality.  (Dr. E. Stanley Jones, Transformed by Thorns, 95)

 

To the Philippians Paul writes:  “have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).  Evidently one sign of deficient prayer is anxiety. (Richard F. Lovelace; Dynamics Of Spiritual Life—An Evangelical Theology of Renewal, 160)

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.

 

Fear knocked.  Faith answered.  No one was there.

 

Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia.  It dulls our miracle memory.  It makes us forget what Jesus has done and how good God is.  And fear feels dreadful.  It sucks the life out of the soul, curls us into an embryonic state, and drains us dry of contentment.  We become abandoned barns, rickety and tilting from the winds, a place where humanity used to eat, thrive, and find warmth.  No longer.  When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god.  When safety becomes our god, we worship the risk-free life.  Can the safety lover do anything great?  Can the risk-averse accomplish noble deeds?  For God?  For others?  No.  The fear-filled cannot love deeply.  Love is risky.  They cannot give to the poor.  Benevolence has no guarantee of return.  The fear-filled cannot dream wildly.  What if their dreams sputter and fall from the sky?  The worship of safety emasculates greatness.  No wonder Jesus wages such a war against fear.

His most common command emerges from the “fear not” genre.  The Gospels list some 125 Christ-issued imperatives.  Of these, 21 urge us to “not be afraid” or “not fear” or “have courage” or “take heart” or “be of good cheer.”  The second most common command, to love God and neighbor, appears on only 8 occasions.  If quantity is any indicator, Jesus takes our fears seriously.  The one statement he made more than any other was this:  don’t be afraid.  —Max Lucado  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 10-22)

 

You don’t get ulcers from what you eat.  You get them from what’s eating you. — Vicki Baum

 

Worry is like a rocking chair—it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.  — Vance Havner

 

In the decades that have followed I have learned much more about the fight against anxiety.  I have learned, for instance, that anxiety is a condition of the heart that gives rise to many other sinful states of mind.  Think for a moment how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety.  Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing.  Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly.  Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people.  Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things.  So if anxiety could be conquered, a mortal blow would be struck to many other sins.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 53)

 

WITH JESUS

NO WORRIES

 

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