Sunday, April 24, 2011

Consider the Lilies of the Field

"Worry implies that we don't trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives."
~Frances Chan, Crazy Love

When we walk by faith, there is no place for worry in our lives. Either we service a big God or we don't. Either God can provide for our needs or He can't. It isn't a matter of whether or not He wants to. He's our father. He loves us. Enough said.

There is a story in the Bible of a man who basically said to Jesus "I believe you can heal me, but will you heal me?"

I think this is where most of us get stuck. We live our lives somewhere between grace and the law. We seem to recognize that salvation is a gift of grace, but then we think we have to work to keep it, as if one little misstep will send God into a rage and He'll take it back.

When it comes to the other promises, we definitely seem to be stuck in an "I'm not worthy" frame of mind.

I have some news for you. You aren't worthy. I'm not worthy. None of us are worthy.

Yet we still try to do the right things in order to earn the right to claim God's promises. They are a gift and cannot be earned. The fact is we don't want what we deserve. We have a much better deal through the blood of Jesus.

It's difficult to imagine the horrors he endured that night in the garden of Gethsemane, during his trial, mocking and scourging at the hands of the religious leaders and Roman soldiers, having to bear the weight of the cross on his already beaten and bloodied body, and finally being crucified.

If you want to truly understand what he endured, I recommend a book called "Sparkling Gems From the Greek" by Rick Renner. It’s a book of scriptural study, prayers and confessions, and the entire month of April is devoted to the sacrifice of our Savior. Or, you can just pop in the DVD "The Passion of the Christ" which also has a realistic and graphic representation of the scourging Jesus received.

That is what we deserved. We deserved the mocking, the shame, the torture, death and hell. But Jesus traded places with us. He took our sins upon Himself so that we could instead enjoy eternal life reigning as kings and queens.

Such love is hard to imagine. Even the love of an earthly parent doesn't compare to this kind of "crazy" love.

Still I find myself worrying. I've got 5 more days until payday and had some unexpected expenses this month, and the state is still processing my tax return. It's so easy to wonder how I'm going to be able to buy groceries or put gas in the car this week.

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?"
~Luke 12:22-26

Not only do we get nothing accomplished by worry (we can't grow any taller), but we can actually do ourselves a great deal of harm. Worry stresses our bodies. Our heart rate and blood pressure increases. And it doesn't just affect our physical being, but our mental and emotional being as well. When you are worried, you don't think straight and risk making poor decisions.

So, what advice did Jesus have for us?

"Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
~Luke 12:27-32

I don't want to be one of those with little faith. I would rather Jesus said of me, "I have not seen such great faith!"  

We get our priorities upside down. We forget that we are spiritual beings living in physical bodies. We concentrate on the things that the body needs on this physical plane instead of what really matters. Spiritual beings should be about the Father's business, not the business of the world.

By making sure my priorities are straight and offering myself up to God to be used as He sees fit, to follow where He leads me, if I seek the kingdom first, the rest will happen as a natural consequence. Consider the lilies of the field...

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