Are you laboring in vain?

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Ps 127:1-2)

Are you anxious? Do you lay awake at night worrying? The psalmist reminds us this morning that we should not be anxious. If the Lord wants our project, our church, our (insert what you are fretting over) to work out, it will be successful.

James, one of the apostles, picks up on this idea 1000’s of years later in his letter when he says,

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

It is not our will that we seek to do but the Lord’s. It is His will that we should ask He do in our prayer closet (Mt 6:10). We know our God is a good God. He doesn’t desire our harm (Mt 6:25-34). We can and should trust the Lord rather than worrying. What the Lord desires to be built will be built.

In saying we must trust the Lord and that He will build what He desires, we must not believe we are absolved from activity. We must work, putting forth effort, using the talents and gifts the Lord has provided. As we walk step by step each day, we can trust that the Lord will provide for us, as well as He will build, if it be His will.

When, then, if at all possible through prayer and counsel, we need to find what the Lord is doing and join Him in it.

6 Arguments to Defeat Worry

Worry

Worry, we all do it from time to time. It seems to be a natural part of our human makeup, so much so that we can’t help but worry. The Bible, however, tells us we shouldn’t worry. In fact, according to the Bible worrying is a sin because worrying means we fail to trust in and submit our lives to God.

How do we deal with worry? Last night, while reading through an old Bible of mine, I found a note I had taken written in the margin entitled “6 arguments to help us battle worry“. I don’t know who I was reading or listening to at the time, so I don’t know to whom to attribute the note, but I thought it was too good not to share.

6 Arguments to Help Us Battle Worry

Note: All six arguments are derived from Matthew 6:25-34.

(1) Our priorities shouldn’t be concerned with those things that are temporary, but with the immortal

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? (Matthew 6:25, ESV)

(2) God’s providence over lesser creatures should serve as comfort for those who have a personal relationship with God. 

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 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? (Matthew 6:26;28-30, ESV)

(3) Common sense tells us that worry doesn’t do us any good.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (Matthew 6:27, ESV)

(4) Worry is a pagan way of thinking. The way non-believers deal with life.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:32, ESV)

(5) God is our Father. He is a personal God who knows His children’s needs.

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:32, ESV)

(6) Common sense tells us that we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We can’t look into the future, so we shouldn’t worry about it.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34, ESV)

Question for Reflection

  1. What other scriptural arguments help you deal with worry from a Christian perspective?

Resource

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I Know Their Sorrows

It has been a while since we have had a dose of Spurgeon. Here is something I came across this in Morning and Evening. It is good stuff, and I wanted to share.

I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7).

The child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows.” We will be comforted when we realize that our dear Friend and tender Husband of our soul knows all about us.

He is the Physician

If He knows all, there is no need that the patient should know. Hush, fluttering heart, which is always prying, peeping, and suspecting! The things that you do not know now, you will understand hereafter. Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows your soul in adversities. Why should the patient analyze all the medicine or ponder all the symptoms? This is the physician’s work, not mine. It is my business to trust, and his to prescribe. If he writes his prescription in characters which I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account. Rather, I will rely upon his unfailing skill to make all clear in the result, however mysterious in the working.

He is the Master

We are to obey, not to judge. “The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth” (John 15:15). Shall the architect explain his plans to every construction worker on the site? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The vessel on the potter’s wheel cannot guess to what pattern it shall be conformed. But if the potter understands his art, what does the ignorance of the clay matter? My Lord must not be questioned any longer by one so ignorant as I am.

He is the Head

All understanding centers there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfills for it every intellectual duty? Sweet Lord, be the eye soul, and head for us. Let us be content to know only what You choose to reveal.

Resource

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, August 14 Evening Reading