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Sunday, November 17 2019

Jesus did signs and wonders and He marveled at the unbelief of people (Matt 13:58; Mark 6:6). A man with a son who was mute came asking Jesus for compassion and help. Jesus responded, “If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24).

            The writer of the Hebrews warned Christians about “an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God” (Heb 3:12). Paul warned about the hardening of the heart that comes from “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13). His answer was for Christians to encourage one another daily so that they all come to share in Christ and hold firm their confidence unto the end (Heb 3:13–14). Evil and unbelief have always linked together.

            Is there any lack of faith behind worry and anxiety? Today, many credit their anxiety to a mental disability. However, Jesus did not speak of humanity being helpless to address anxiety. Christ spoke of each person being able to confront how they think, feel, and behave even when that person thinks that he or she cannot. Jesus commanded His listeners, “Do not be anxious about your life” (Matt 6:25). Jesus preached on the mount and commanded listeners not to worry about food and clothing. He taught that worry does not help fix problems. Jesus taught that God loves and cares for you more any other living thing (6:26–30). The Son of God declared, “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?’” (Matt 6:30). What is the answer for those struggling with doubt and anxiety over their livelihood? The Righteous One commanded, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). The faithful Christian follows Jesus’s commands.

            How did the apostle Peter encourage the church as they struggled with the anxieties of being persecuted? Peter commanded, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:6–7). Why should Christians struggle with worry when others are not persecuting them? All Christians should cast all of their anxieties upon Christ. Casting anxieties on Christ means the Christian should have the faith to give their concerns to God and rely on the Son of the Almighty God. The worst that one experiences are nothing before God and nothing in the end (Rom 8:31–39).

            Jesus and His apostles did not need to become licensed counselors to instruct Christians about how to confront anxiety and stress. Paul commanded rejoicing, faith that God is near, praying with requests to God, and praying with thanksgiving to God (Phil 4:4–6). These commands come with the promise of the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to guard the hearts and minds of those in Christ (Phil 4:7). This is how the Christian must confront stress and anxiety.

            Everyone who feels such a burden can find the rest that God promises. Jesus invited, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–30). Thank God that He is the God of all comfort!

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email