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Friday, May 28, 2010

cautiously carefree

About a month ago, I hit a wall. In an attempt to process the unexpected twists and turns in my life, I had been pouring over books, sermons, devotionals, Bible studies, and anything else that I could find that might help make sense of my circumstances. Although I enjoy reading, I wouldn't characterize myself as a reader. And yet, over the span of a month and a half, I read seven books and had started 3-4 others. Add to that the variety of other sources that I was consuming, and I soon became overwhelmed trying to process it all. I needed a break, but mostly, I needed to stop trying. I needed to just be.

A familiar passage in Psalm 46 says, "Be still, and know that I am God." One Bible commentary describes the Hebrew translation of the Lord's sentiment as simply, "Enough!" It's an apt description of how I was feeling. So, I stopped. Stopped trying, stopped doing, stopped striving, and just was. (You may have noticed, or perhaps not, a sudden drop off on my blog. That's why.)  

Last week, I finally picked up My Utmost for His Highest again. As usual, the Lord's timing was perfect, as Chambers' words again spoke a confirming word to my heart. Here's an excerpt of one of the first devotionals I came across...

Having God's "Unreasonable" Faith
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard. “. . . seek first the kingdom of God . . . .” Even the most spiritually-minded of us argue the exact opposite, saying, “But I must live; I must make a certain amount of money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.” The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God but how we are going to take care of ourselves to live. Jesus reversed the order by telling us to get the right relationship with God first, maintaining it as the primary concern of our lives, and never to place our concern on taking care of the other things of life.

“. . . do not worry about your life. . .” (Matthew 6:25). Our Lord pointed out that from His standpoint it is absolutely unreasonable for us to be anxious, worrying about how we will live. Jesus did not say that the person who takes no thought for anything in his life is blessed— no, that person is a fool. But Jesus did teach that His disciple must make his relationship with God the dominating focus of his life, and to be cautiously carefree about everything else in comparison to that . . . . Jesus is saying that the greatest concern of life is to place our relationship with God first, and everything else second.”

I have been meditating on Matthew 6:33-34 for several weeks and am convinced that in Jesus' words are incredible power and complete freedom for all believers. So why do we continuously fail to take them to heart? Why are we so unwilling to yield (our illusion of) control of the minor (and sometimes seemingly major) things to the Lord, and simply seek Him?

I appreciate the way that Chambers looks at the matter from Christ's perspective. Through His eyes, it is "absolutely unreasonable for us to be anxious." So true. And yet, most of us possessively hang on to a certain amount of anxiety as if it were our safety blanket. Instead, we must live a life that is "cautiously carefree" in regards to all but Christ. The remarkable promise of such a life, is that in doing so, "all these things shall be added to you (us)." With our faith properly centered in Christ, we have no need for anxiety or worry. Oh, that we might actually believe the words of Jesus and live in light of His truth each day.

Therefore, let us not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.