Every communicator has things they wanted to say and didn’t or things they only touched on but should have spent more time clearly stating their point. Sometimes they forget, they run out of time, they go off on rabbit trails (as if that ever happens to me!), etc. Phone conversations end and you think… dang it I didn’t even say what I called to tell them! E-mails and text messages can go 3 or 4 threads deep because you remember later that you forgot to say something you planned on saying all along. Well, sermons are no different. Most weeks I walk away thinking of all the things I didn’t say, which forces me to the posture of trusting God is sufficient to work with the limited material He was given : )
This is my attempt to pick up some of the pieces from Sunday’s and possibly continue the conversation about what was communicated.
I’m not sure if this is what other pastors and communicators feel, but often what I think is going to be the most important part of the talk becomes ONE of the important things in the talk. This week we talked about how Jesus told us all Not to Worry (Luke 12). Worry is something that we all struggle with. 2000 years ago the worries may have been different to a certain degree, but clearly worry was on the face of many Jesus encountered. I thought the main focus of the talk was going to be that worry keeps our focus off of what Jesus intends. He says to those of us who worry in Luke 12 verse 31, “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” He tells them to shift their focus off of their worry which only leads to anxiety and depression to the greater things of the Kingdom of God. Shifting our focus was going to be my main point throughout the talk, but then as I talked I realized that shifting our focus is good, but hating the worry, anxiety, and depression was more important and possibly first and foremost in the hierarchy of how to deal with worry.
So, I asked how we should see worry, and I pointed out that Jesus sees worry as our enemy. In just about every case where he deals with worry and anxiety he follows up with something about the enemy, the one you might call, Satan. As far as Jesus was concerned worry and anxiety are enemies to our souls. We see in the parable of the sower Jesus said that worry and the enemy steal the first three seeds that do not produce a harvest (Matthew 13:18-23)
This is where I should have camped out longer in the talk. If you and I are going to be faithful followers of Jesus who produce fruit, we can’t entertain worry, stress, and anxiety.
They are enemies to your soul!
1 Peter 5:6-8 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” You may have heard that you are to cast your cares onto Jesus, but Peter understood that anxiety and worry must be cast onto Jesus BECAUSE the enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom is holding onto those seeds or worry and anxiety… Seems to me Peter is saying you are pray for the enemy when you let seeds of worry and anxiety live in your heart and mind. It’s like going camping, pitching your tent next to the warning sign about bears, and then cooking a good steak in the tent…
As I said yesterday, this is not to say that people don’t have real things to worry about, real things to be anxious over, real things that have happened to them causing them to have trouble in casting their cares on Jesus. But, if we see worry and anxiety as our enemy trying to break into our house and devour us… maybe just maybe it’s possible to slay this enemy once and for all! I know if my enemy wanted to come into my house and steal, kill, and destroy me and my family I’m going down in a blaze of glory! It’s either me or him, one of us will not make it out of that fight alive. The beauty of this metaphor is that we are not fighting alone. Jesus is with us. Jesus is willing to fight with us and for us! In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Jesus doesn’t shy away from the fact that trouble and sorrow will find us, but He reminds us that He has overcome all of it for us, and if we walk with Him through it, we are over-comers! I’m living proof that you can walk through some of the most difficult territory and come out on the other side when Jesus is walking with you.
If you struggle with worry and anxiety, see to it that you call it what it is… it’s your enemy! It seeks to harm you and if something or someone seeks to harm you maybe it’s time to kick it out of your house!