Monday, February 19, 2018

February 19: Psalm 37:4-11; Don’t Fret

            The Lord has been telling us for a long time not to fret or worry about what evil people do. One of the clearest and most logical presentation of why we should not work our guts up in a knot over the headlines of the newspapers is found in Psalm 37. Keeping calm in the face of evil and not succumbing to its desire to ruin us either physically or emotionally is to trust in the Lord (Ps 37:4-6). We aren’t in life for the short-term satisfaction that evil people strive to achieve. We are in it for the long-haul. If we continue to fret over things, the result will be anger and that only leads to evil (Ps 37:8). David faced his challenges and at many times it looked like evil would overcome him, but he trusted in God. He assures us that evil people will eventually disappear (Ps 37:9-10). It may not happen in our lifetime, but we must remember that this life isn’t all there is. We have an eternal life (Ps 37:11) where evil will not have any share.
            Paul gave us a clear recipe for controlling our concerns that lead to worry and worry that leads to fretting and fretting leading to anger and anger leading to sin. This is a vicious circle of thoughts and the resulting ungodly reaction to the world around us can be stopped by reading, memorizing, and putting into practice Philippians 4:4-9. It starts with rejoicing in the Lord (Phil 4) and showing our reasonableness (ESV) or gentleness (NIV) (Phil 5). He even commands us not be anxious and tells us how by praying with thanksgiving (Phil 6). He promises us that we will have God’s peace guard our hearts and minds (Phil 7). We also substitute all that ugly thought process with thinking about the things that bring glory to God, things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Phil 8). We can think of the things God has done for us in our salvation in Jesus Christ, or simply in having one more breath to give him praise. We can think of those who are doing good in the world instead of those who bring rancor with their post, tweets, and whatever. Finally, we can imitate Jesus just as Paul imitated him. We can’t see how Paul lived except through God’s word and in that way we can put all this into practice and we’ll have God’s peace (Phil 9).

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