Remedy for Anxiety

“Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life — what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?

“Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his life-span? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?

“Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.” – Matthew 6:25-34

These verses are a striking example of the combined wisdom and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching. He knows the heart of a man. He knows that we are all ready to turn off warnings against worldliness, by the argument that we cannot help being anxious about the things of this life. “Have we not our families to provide for? Must not our bodily needs be supplied? How can we possibly get through life, if we think first of our souls?” The Lord Jesus foresaw such thoughts, and furnished an answer.

He forbids us to keep up an anxious spirit about the things of this world. Four times over He says, “Don’t be anxious.” About life — about food — about clothing — about the morrow, “don’t be anxious.” Be not over-careful. Be not over-anxious. Prudent provision for the future is right. Wearing, corroding, self-tormenting anxiety is wrong.

He reminds us of the providential care that God continually takes of everything that He has created. Has He given us “life?” Then He will surely not let us lack anything necessary for its maintenance. Has He given us a “body?” Then He will surely not let us die for lack of clothing. He that calls us into being, will doubtless find food to feed us.

He points out the uselessness of over-anxiety. Our life is entirely in God’s hand. All the care in the world will not make us continue a minute beyond the time which God has appointed. We shall not die until our work is done.

He sends us to the birds of the air for instruction. They make no provision for the future. “They don’t sow, neither do they reap.” They lay up no stores against time yet to come. They do not “gather into barns.” They literally live from day to day on what they can pick up, by using the instinct God has put in them. They ought to teach us that no man doing his duty in the station to which God has called him, shall ever be allowed to come to poverty.

He bids us to observe the flowers of the field. Year after year they are decked with the gayest colors, without the slightest labor or exertion on their part. “They don’t toil, neither do they spin.” God, by His almighty power, clothes them with beauty every season. The same God is the Father of all believers. Why should they doubt that He is able to provide them with clothing, as well as the lilies “of the field?” He who takes thought for perishable flowers, will surely not neglect the bodies in which dwell immortal souls.

He suggests to us, that anxiety about the things of this world is most unworthy of a Christian. One great feature of heathenism is living for the present. Let the heathen, if he will, be anxious. He knows nothing of a Father in heaven. But let the Christian, who has clearer light and knowledge, give proof of it by his faith and contentment. When bereaved of those whom we love, we are not to “sorrow as those who have no hope.” When tried by cares about this life, we are not to be over-anxious, as if we had no God, and no Christ.

He offers us a gracious promise, as a remedy against an anxious spirit. He assures us that if we “seek first” and foremost to have a place in the kingdom of grace and glory, everything that we really need in this world shall be given to us. It shall be “added,” over and above our heavenly inheritance. “All things shall work together for good for those who love God.” “He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.” {Romans 8:28 Psalms 84:11 }

Last of all, He seals up all His instruction on this subject, by laying down one of the wisest maxims. “Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.” We are not to carry cares before they come. We are to attend to today’s business, and leave tomorrow’s anxieties until tomorrow dawns. We may die before tomorrow. We know not what may happen on the morrow. This only we may be assured of, that if tomorrow brings a cross, He who sends it, can and will send grace to bear it.

In all this passage there is a treasury of golden lessons. Let us seek to use them in our daily life. Let us not only read them, but turn them to practical account. Let us watch and pray against worry, and an over-anxious spirit. It deeply concerns our happiness. Half our miseries are caused by imagining things that we think are coming upon us. Half the things that we expect to come upon us, never come at all. Where is our faith? Where is our confidence in our Savior’s words? We may well take shame to ourselves, when we read these verses, and then look into our hearts. But this we may be sure of, that David’s words are true, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.” {Psalms 37:25 }

– J. C. Ryle, 1816-1900

 

Published in: on June 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Modern church machinery

Friends! the churches have no need for the modern machinery which has supplanted the simplicity of faith.

I truly believe, that if the Lord swept the church committees and schemes out of the universe, we would be better without them.

I hope the church will soon say, like David in Saul’s clanking armor, “I cannot go with these”–and with only her sling and her stone, confident in her God, I trust she will confront her foe.

We can do all things, if we can but trust Christ. But nothing is possible to your man-made schemes and systems.

God will sweep them away yet, and happy shall be that man who shall lead the van in their utter destruction! Go up against her, take away her bulwarks, for they are not the Lord’s; He did not ordain them, nor will He stand by them.

The fact is, God does not need our power–but our weakness.
He does not need our greatness–but our nothingness.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892

Siamese twins

Perhaps you have the notion that repentance is a thing that happens at the commencement of the spiritual life and has to be gotten through as one undergoes a certain operation—and that is an end of it. If so, you are greatly mistaken! Repentance lives as long as faith. Towards faith I might almost call it a Siamese twin. We shall need to believe and to repent as long as we live! Perhaps, also, you have the idea that repentance is a bitter thing. It is sometimes bitter—“They shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn,” but that is not the kind of repentance that I am talking of, now. Surely that bitterness is past, it was all over long ago. But this is a sweet bitterness which attends faith as long as we live—and becomes a source of tender joy!

– C. H. Spurgeon, Repentance After Conversion, No. 2419

Luck?

“The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” Proverbs 16:33

“Luck!” There is no such thing in our world,
none in nature, none in human affairs.

Luck means that an event has no cause at all. It is a bad word–a heathen term. Drop it from your vocabulary! Trust nothing to luck, and expect nothing from it. Avoid all practical dependence upon it or its kindred words . . .
fate,
chance,
fortune.

Never forget your dependence upon God. He can exalt you to prosperity–or sink you into the lowest depth of adversity. He can make everything to which you set your hand to prosper–or to fail. Devoutly acknowledge this. Abhor the atheism that shuts God out of His own world!

J. A. James, 1785—1859, The Young Man’s Friend
and Guide Through Life to Immortality

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 1:39 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The true recipe for a miserable existence

The first law of true religion is submission to God’s will. Where it does not exist, there is no piety–and just as truly there is no tranquility of soul.

What a hideous sight to see a human creature in full rebellion against God’s providence . . .
repining at His allotments;
fighting against His dispensations;
and cursing His judgments!

The true recipe for miserable existence is this: Quarrel with Providence!

When God means to make us happy, He teaches us submission–a resignation of everything into His hands, and an acknowledgment that whatever He does is wisest and best.

O how sweetly even afflictions fall, when there is such a temper to receive them! “Shall we accept good from God–and not trouble?” Job 2:10. Such a disposition tends to tranquility of soul; and even amidst chastisement, there is internal quiet.

“The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

“He is the Lord–let Him do what is good in His eyes.” 1 Samuel 3:18 

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

– James W. Alexander, Consolation 1852

Looking at our afflictions through the eyes of faith

“I was silent; I would not open my mouth–for You are the one who has done this!” Psalm 39:9

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

This stillness and silence befits us, when God lifts up His arm to afflict us. It is of little use at such times to struggle against His almighty power–to be restless and complaining when His heavy hand is laid upon us. Our wisdom is . . .
to bear the burden which oppresses us with patience,
to submit cheerfully to the will of God, and
to kiss the painful rod which scourges us.

We should remember that our Father does not afflict His children willingly, that is, for His own pleasure–but for their profit. He loves them; and when He punishes them, it is for their discipline, and to make them what He would have them to be–partakers of His holiness.

We should look at our afflictions in this light–and not let a murmur escape our lips! Our language should be, “It is the Lord–let Him do what seems good to Him!” 1 Samuel 3:18

It is often our duty, in the hour of trial or of difficulty, to be still, to lie passive in God’s hands, “to hope, and quietly to wait for the salvation of the Lord.”

Ashton Oxenden, “The Christian Life” 1882