Friday, January 14, 2011

The Mind God Intended Us to Have

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."-Philippians 4:6

Worry is a very dangerous thing. It's deceitful because when you are not suffering from it, it seems like it would be such an easy thing to conquer. When it's not one of the problems you are personally dealing with, it is easy to tell someone to simply stop worrying. We've all said it to someone else at one point or another. However, it is a very different story when you are the one wrestling with worry. Indeed, worry is a master of mind warfare, because it hides it's true strength before attacking it's victims.

As you may know by now, I have a developed a fondness of looking up the origin of a word, and this is no exception. The word worry comes to us from the Old English word, "wyrgan", literally meant "to strangle". Isn't that a most fitting definition of the word worry today? When we worry about something, we find ourselves consumed by it, sometimes to the point of having a panic attack that can actually close off our airways, and literally strangle us. And all of this for what?

Worrying is never done in a present-tense situations. Whether the moment be 5 minutes from now, or a time so far off, it may never happen, worrying is necessarily a future-tense action. The things that are produced from out of our mouths take their origination from the thoughts that control our minds. When we always talk about things that revolve around worry, it shows a lack of trust and faith in God and His plan for us. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Much like the apostles in the book of Acts, If we are doing God's purpose, we should know no fear or worries. If anyone had the right to worry, then it would have been the apostles in the book of Acts. They were strictly forbidden by the Jewish council in Jerusalem to teach and preach the message of Jesus, and were ultimately thrown in jail for defying these orders (Acts 5:17-41). However, while they sat locked up in prison, an angel of God came and gave them a different commandment. The instructions given by the angel were not to go out in the streets and preach the message of Christ, but to take the message of Jesus to the temples! God simply wouldn't allow His plan to be disrupted by the worries of men. However, the apostles were brought in and questioned regarding their further teaching, and I love the response they gave in justification for doing so. Rather than worry about what the "powers-that-be" would do to them, they gave a clear and decisive answer. Acts 5:29 says, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." When I picture this scene in my mind, Peter is not cowering or saying this meekly. No, that is not the brash Peter we know. He stood tall and said this in a matter-of-fact tone. Worry was worship to a false god, and the apostles knew it.

I believe the apostles were able to preach the message because their minds were not given time to focus on thoughts of worry and doubt. Instead, the kept hearing the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." It didn't matter what the high priest or temple captain did to the apostles, there would be no worrying from them. Believe me when I say that this was not based in an ignorant mindset. After all, they had just witnessed what the priests and temple guards were capable of doing when they turned on Jesus. However, the sweet words, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." kept ringing in their ears.

"And lo.."- This is used to call the attention of the listener. This meant that Jesus intended for the following words to have 100% of the audiences attention.

"..I am.."- This is powerful because it was Jesus of Nazareth, the one and only savior taking personal responsibility for the promise that follows. This is not Christ putting the responsibility off onto someone else, but accepting a job so big, only he could do it. It also shows a present tense application, which means that it will never stop happening. He didn't say that he was, or that he possibly would be. No, he said I am.

"..With you alway.."- Jesus is putting an subject to his powerful promise. If he ended it here, it would have been sufficient to know that we have the almighty power of Jesus, in whom all power is given (Matt. 28:18).

"..even unto the end of the world."- This seals the promise Christ just made. It is meant to invoke a feeling of solidarity to the promise. The idea is that there is nothing of this world that can possibly separate us from the love and comfort of God. Not even death could hold this promise back. In fact, not even the ending of this world could break this promise of God.

"Amen"- The word amen means, "so let it be done." Jesus said it, and he sealed it, on Earth and in heaven.

Someone once said, "Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It's simply the ability to take God at His word, and take the next step." This has never rang more true than when we discuss the topic of worry. It is not God's plan that you would allow yourself to be strangled by your own thoughts. No, like the apostles, he has plans for you. The key to conquering worry is a three step process.

First, you must believe Romans 8:28.

Second, you base this belief on Matthew 28:20.

Third, you work this faith by implementing Philippians 4:6.

Only after we've obeyed God's plan of salvation and stay true to the steps above can we enjoy the benefits of the healthy mind that God intended us to have in the first place.

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