Killing Anxiety


For a Christian, anxious thinking is illogical thinking.  

When a Christian is anxious, he is assigning more weight, more power, to his problem than to God.  This is, after all, the God He professes is sovereign and who He claims loves him.  And yet here this Christian is, worried and nervous and agitated and irritable.  

This is why Jesus commands His disciples not to be anxious in Matthew 6.  He designates anxeity a lack of faith.  Anxiety in a Christian is doubt in Yahweh.  My anxiety is a defect of trust in my heart.  

When it plagues a Christian, anxiety peppers his mind with questions and dreads that are each threaded through and through with doubt in the goodness and sovereignty of God.  

What will I do?  

What if __________ happens?  

But we can’t live without _________!

How am I supposed to do all this?

When I’m fearful and fretful about a job or a health issue or a relationship, I’m indicating that my heart believes that thing is more in control than the God of Jesus, the Lord of my heart, is.  If I’m anxious, then in my mind I’m assigning more power and authority to the problem than the Bible says it really has.  

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 

Matthew 6:25-34

A Christian who’s anxious is giving more gravity to the thing he’s anxious about than he is to God.  In that sense, anxiety is like a check engine light in a car.  It can let me know that there’s a probelm under the hood:  A misfire in my faith. 

But by taking my mind captive and putting it under the Gospel of God and the Christian story, I can start to think of my problems and my sufferings accurately:  As trials that passed through the hands of my good Father in order to make me more like His Son.  By casting my problems and pains and fears in the light of the Gospel (hint:  by reading and believing my Bible daily), I’ll remember and believe that Yahweh is more of a determinative factor in my finances, my physical ailments, my marriage, my parenting, and my vocation than any problem I might be worried about is.  This God is good, and I can trust Him.  I should trust Him.  

Listen, for the anxious Christian, faith can always make strong what worry has weakened. Trust in Christ can restore all that anxiety has stolen.  

When we rightly view our Abba as having far more clout than our problems do, our sinful, foolish, illogical anxieties will flicker out.  Because after all, they needed doubt to breathe and smolder, and like a fire in a dies in a vacuum, anxieties can’t survive more than a few moments in the presence of healthy Christian faith.  

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60 Seconds On Resources

  
The goal of a Christian resource should be to give its user an increasing view of or obedience to Jesus Christ in a given area.  A Christian finance book, for instance, should help me see Jesus more clearly in the area of finance or help me manage my money more obediently.  If it doesn’t do that, it may be a helpful financial book, but it isn’t a Christian one.   Ditto for books on the mind or the heart, lectures or videos on psychology or history, or workshops on family or education.  

The reason I bring up the distinction between truly Christian resources and resources that aren’t actually Christian is that I see people reading books or watching videos about life and goals and parenting and self that have a Christian veneer or title, but do not have Jesus Christ, His Cross, or His Gospel at the center.  Much of what passes for “Christian” resources in contemporary America are truly un-Christian pop psychology or self-help.  They make the user think more about Himself, not the triune God.  They call the user to satisfy his flesh, not crucify it.

If your “Christian” resource would still have the same message if all references to and influence of the cross of Jesus Christ and the glory of God are removed, it is not really a “Christian” resource.  And of course that  may be just fine.  Cookbooks and history books and TED Talks may be (or may not) be useful.  But if they are not threaded with Jesus Christ, His sacrificial death, His resurrection, or His glory, they are not “Christian.”

Exalting Christ is the point of the Christian life.  As such, it’s also going to be the point of the truly Christian resource.  

Why I Will Not Vote for Donald Trump in 3 Sentences

  
I do not want to put a burden on anyone else, here.  This is simply a statement about what I won’t do and a quick explanation of why.  If you are a believer and want to vote for Donald Trump, pray about it and then leave it to conscience.  I think there’s Christian freedom to disagree, here.  I will say that since the Democratic Party in the United States supports, as a part of its platform, legalized infanticide (which has resulted in approximately 60 million deaths since Roe v. Wade), I do not think a Christian should support a Democratic candidate unless that candidate expressly opposes abortion.  But whether you want to join me in writing in or otherwise selecting a candidate not named Donald Trump is a matter of personal conscience. 

So, I’ll be succinct.  I will not vote for Donald Trump in November, and I can tell you why in 3 sentences:

  1. I believe that Mr. Trump only picked up the pro-life cause out of convenience, and that he would drop it for the same reason. 
  2. Character matters to me when I am asked to invest someone with the authority of leadership, and he has repeatedly and publicly reflected a lack of personal character. 
  3. I do not want to lend my support to a leader whose primary conviction appears to be “Don’t cross me.”

That’s pretty much it.  I haven’t decided who I’ll write in or select, and probably won’t for some time.  But a vote is a lending of one’s approval and, in our constitutional system, an endowment of authority.  And I have decided I will not lend my approval or give my citizen-held authority to Donald Trump.  

I don’t wish Mr. Trump any will, and if he becomes my president I’ll pray for his wisdom and his soul.  But he has requested to lead the constitutional republic God has placed me into, and in November my citizenly answer to that request will be “No.”

Equal, Good, and Different

  
The fact that a spoon and a fork are equal in value does not mean that they are identical.  A laptop and a desktop may be equal in value but not identical.  Two different objects can be worth the same but not made for the same purposes.  

And such is the case with men and women. 

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 

From Genesis 2

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

 From Ephesians 5

We are made.  And interwoven with all our individualities and dreams and beautiful complexities are our genders.  God made humans male and female, and in doing so, and in authoring marriage and childbearing, He did something wonderful, something that reflects His glory.  

He made man, and he was of great value to Him.  He made woman, and she was of equal value to Him.  Both precious.  But they were not identical.  Their purposes and places were not the same.  And if they tried to make them so, they would damage each other and mar the purposes of their Creator.  

Men and women are both made in the amazing image of God.  But men should not bear children and women should not fight wars.  Men should not have sex with men and women should not have sex with women.  Rebelling against the Creator always ends badly for the rebel. I can vouch for it myself, from every time I sin in anger or pride.  God is good, and to go against Him is to go against what is true and worthwhile and beautiful.  

Men and women are equal but not interchangeable.  

We have trouble seeing that in America in 2016, but that’s an us problem.  

Our design is beautiful; it’s our hearts that have malfunctioned.  

30 Seconds of Political Perspective

 
  

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Psalm 146:3-4

I’ll vote.  I like voting, minus the lines and the cold.  It’s a good way to contribute as a citizen and a reasonably pleasant and painless one, I think.  

But you know what I don’t want to do this November?  I don’t want to spend a majority of my emotional capital, intellectual energy, my time, or my hope on what any candidate may or may not do.  I don’t want any candidate, one I agree with or one I’m against, to monopolize my headspace and my reading time and my conversations at work.  I always want to set aside the bulk of my heart and my passion for the eternal King.  Presidents and pundits and plans will all vanish before long, but the God of Jesus Christ has a power that cannot be matched and a good purpose that cannot be thwarted.  

No candidate, in fact no human being at all, has the kindness and control, the mercy and the sovereignty, that Jesus Christ has.  None has His wisdom, and none has His authority.  No one on the Republican and no one on the Democratic debate stages can save your aunt and my neighbor from their sins, can wipe out poverty at the trumpet sound of his return, can kill death and imprison Satan and remake the earth.  None.  

A candidate will get my vote.  But I pray none will get my heart’s deepest hope.  Let that be reserved for the One who will rule for the most good and for all time.