Archive for April 5th, 2007

Am I fretting, am I fretting? Maybe so . . .

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; – Luke 21:34 (Revised Standard Version © 1947, 1952.)

According to Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, one meaning of the verb dissipate is To be extravagant or dissolute in the pursuit of pleasure; especially, to drink to excess. That segues into drunkenness, of course,and that sin is common in our society. As a Christian, I would immediately be alarmed if either of those sins cropped up in my life. But . . . I think one of my besetting sins is that of becoming discouraged when the cares of this life multiply.

It’s so easy to see those cares:

    An aging parent is requiring some creative thinking on my part and needs more of my time.
    Said parent is sometimes demanding and stubborn (What goes around comes around, eh, former teenager?).
    I’m sick with a bad cough; just feel like laying low, but want to do the usual work, all the same.
    My busy family still needs me to do my work, drive them to activities, etc.
    Enough complaining, already. You get the idea. 😛

What does God’s Word say that I should do to avoid this snare to my soul? Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down. The first step is to notice and pay attention to the fact that I am doing something dangerous here, something that the Lord forbids. OK. Done. I noticed. Now what?

I need to admit to the Lord that I actually did something wrong. I sinned. I need to confess that to Him, 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now I need to actually do the righteous, godly thing:

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.- 1 Peter 5:7 (Revised Standard Version © 1947, 1952.)

I need to commit these concerns to the Lord, relying upon Him for the wisdom and strength to do the duties which He has placed before me. It is true that Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.– Job 5:6,7. Yes, Brother, yes, Sister, we do have troubles. We all have troubles. But . . . The soul-ensnaring trouble comes when we focus on our troubles.

That’s the way it goes with besetting sins. You sure do have to watch out for them. You think you’re well aware of them, and then they sneak up on you again. Once again, for help in this spiritual war I turn to some of my favorite verses, Philippians 4:4-8, seeking once again, by God’s grace, to lay them up in my heart, meditate upon them and obey them.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

By God’s grace, I have noticed my sin, confessed it to the Lord, have cast the cares upon Him and am focusing on the positive. OK, Lord. Things aren’t looking so bad now.