“Do not be afraid.” We see this phrase recur throughout the Christmas story and it’s easy to gloss over without fully comprehending it.
When the things we fear continue into a more general, sustained, long-term uneasy state of mind it becomes anxiety. Anxiety is distracting care. While there are legitimate daily concerns about things like health, safety, and relationships, anxiety is a state of mind where our thoughts are continually pulled to dwell on circumstances.
Behind anxiety is the basic assumption that God isn't involved in our situation for our good. Looking at things from that perspective, our nature is to think and respond to things apart from God in the picture.
The Lord tells us not to be anxious. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9 NIV).
Contentment comes through choices we make. The Apostle Paul said he had learned how to be content (Philippians 4:11–13). Following Paul’s teaching and example can help us learn how to be content.
Although I understand how to get physical rest—by going to bed earlier, taking more time to relax, and slowing my pace—the concept of finding spiritual rest is difficult to wrap my head around.
Living in a material world, and especially in capitalistic North America, the pressure to be caught up in materialism is enormous.
The 18th century preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote 70 resolutions before the age of 20. He knew obstacles were inevitable, so many of his resolutions were written to address this challenge. No matter the difficulties that came before him, he resolved to continue upon the path laid out for him by God. That’s responsibility, which is our topic for this message.
There’s a saying, “No one likes change except a baby with a dirty diaper, and even then the baby will cry about it!” Embracing change involves three attitudes: acknowledgement, adjustment, and acceptance.
With every surprise and opportunity God also brings answers for our fears, objections, and defences. Here are four promises God’s answers offer us.
Do whatever you can to be at peace with all those around you. Practice forgiveness. Be helpful. Do little things, such as write letters of encouragement, or make a phone call or two.
This lesson will help us open up the lines of continual communication with our Lord, giving us joy, hope, and stability in our anxiety-producing world.
No one will ever know how much energy the human race has wasted through worry. Today, we want to think along scriptural guidelines as we rediscover a life characterized by rest instead of rush, calm instead of confusion, peace instead of panic, tranquility instead of turmoil.