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The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God’s forgiveness. The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 5 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 115.
Most Parents did have a purpose for their children’s lives, but this purpose was not maturity in Jesus Christ. Their purpose was for their purpose was for their children to be “happy.” And what exactly was necessary for their children to achieve this elusive goal? To enable their children to attain happiness, parents in our community tended to push their children into high-stress combinations of college preparatory courses, extracurricular activities, and specialized sports programs. the parents’ driving assumption was that these experiences were essential for their children to get into good colleges, which would result in good jobs, which would enable the children to achieve the same high standards of material living as their parents, which would in turn make the children—you guessed it, happy.
What these parents did not know is that these same students walked into our offices or met us at coffee shops to tell us, “My parents are rich, important, successful—and miserable. I don’t want their life. Help me find something better!”
-Jay Strother, “Family-Equipping Ministry: Church and Home as Cochampions” in Perspectives on Family Ministry: 3 Views, ed. Timothy Paul Jones (Nashville,TN: B&H Academics, 2009), 147.
Here are some excellent fighter verses for the battle with anxiety from Justin Taylor.
I am thankful for the Words of God which cast light upon the darkness of our fears. Our God is great and it is a sin to not trust Him. But how gracious He is to keep reminding us again and again, out of Fatherly love, that He is our rock and refuge.
1. God is near me to help me.
Philippians 4:5-6: “The Lord is at hand; [therefore] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
2. God cares for me.
1 Peter 5:7: “. . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
3. My Father in heaven knows all my needs and will supply all my needs.
Matthew 6:31-33: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
4. God values me more than birds and grass, which he richly provides for and adorns; how much more will he provide for all my needs!
Matthew 6:26-30: “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 which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 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?”
5. The worst someone can do to me is to kill me and take things from me!
Matthew 6:25: “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?” [I.e., you still have eternal life even if you have no food; you will still have a resurrection body even if you are physically deprived.]
Luke 12:4: “Do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.”
Romans 8:31-32, 35, 38-39: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
6. Anxiety is pointless.
Matthew 6:27: “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” [Answer: no one.]
7. Anxiety is worldly.
Matthew 6:31-32: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things. . . .”
James 4:4: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
8. Tomorrow has enough to worry about and doesn’t need my help.
Matthew 6:34: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Lamentations 3:23: “[God’s mercies] are new every morning.”
HT: Justin Taylor
The above video tells of a coming problem with undergraduate education. In short, return is no greater than what is spent on investment. Men and women put themselves in tremendous debt to get a job that may take a long time to pull themselves out of. The investment of specialized education is not paying off.
Many things play into this. But here are two big things that I have seen as possible contributors.
1. The assumption that one has to go to college.
It is just the assumption that one has to go to a four year college right after high school. The problem is that many are just pushed into college out of tradition and imagined success without ever seeing how they are suppose to use it.
Investing in a college degree is suppose to give one a more favorable return later in life from all the money and time spent to obtain it. If I spend $60,000 and four years of my life I want something greater in return for my money and time. I am not donating it to some philosopher’s idea about “education.” I love to learn and would love to read all kinds of history books and such but there is a biblical aspect of life called taking responsibility for myself and for providing for others (1 Thess. 4:9-12). Because of that I do not consider it a good stewardship of time to pay large amounts of money and spend several years for more advance studies just so that I can take “advanced studies.” And the fact of the matter is, if I want advanced English, History, and such I can probably get it for free off the internet. And another fact that is becoming more apparent is that the free stuff might be better than the stuff found in a $800 class. My time spent at a college is not a donation of money but an investment. I want a return for my time and money that will help be a better provider to those around me.
But it is easy to enter college with a tradition or entitlement mentality instead of an investment mentality. Everyone is suppose to get a college education as the thinking goes. So people enter college obtaining their “right” but with little idea as to how to use their “right.” So they just float through college never landing on what they want to actually use their “right” for. Some may say that it is just innocent exploring. I am for exploring as well. But if I had $60,000 and four years I think I would want to do some exploring of rugged mountain and woodlands in far away places. That is my idea of exploring! But more seriously, if there is some exploring to do why don’t you try to start a business with a quarter of that money? Way more adventurists and educational. Throwing tens of thousands of dollars to a college just to “explore” is, again, in my opinion, not wise stewardship. If someone is going to invest the money and time that God has given them they need to know what they are investing in.
2. Self-centered view of career.
“Find a career that is self-fulfilling,” the saying goes. But is this the biblical vision of finding a job? Ephesians 4:28 paints a different picture, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” We are to labor but the labor is not for selfish reasons. The money accumulated from the job is to have a others aim.
From my experience finding job is a lot easier when you are thinking of others. When the goal of getting a job is so that your kids will have food to eat the decision making becomes a lot easier. When I was considering a job to get I knew the main goal was to get enough money to provide. The central aim was not getting a plush job that gives me a false identity and/or fulfills my financial dreams. It was finding a job that will provide, just what Ephesians says. This made the decision making a lot easier. All I needed was a job that I knew I could do which would give me what I needed. With that criteria the Lord landed me with a career path that is pretty simple to obtain.
When we get our eyes off ourselves and on to serving others decision making gets clearer. If the goal of one’s job is going to sufficiently provide for a family then choices are many and easily decided upon. But if one is trying to find a job that will fulfill his desires for self-fulfillment and dreams then it is going to be hard with lots of drifting and “exploring” along the path.
For those just about to leave high school or having children thinking of college this is something to be thoughtful off. A four year degree is not a sign of a stable career path. There are many wise options out there for a good job that does not include getting deep in debt.
If one is interested in exploring other options than a four year college program shoot me a comment and I will tell you what I have found out in my explorations.
One of the things you come across in studying the New Testament are claims about pseudonymous authorship of different New Testament letters. The claim is made that someone else wrote a letter and put Paul’s name on it.
The cost of this understanding is pretty plain. If Paul did not write 1 Timothy, for example, then there is no apostolic authority in the letter. Thus, with one quick sweep many books of the New Testament become letters communicating traditions of people and persons in New Testament times. All authority is lost.
Justin Taylor posted this very helpful bit of information when it comes to this issue. Let me quote it in full:
Some critical scholars suggest that the apostle Paul didn’t really write some of the letters that are now ascribed to him. Ray Van Neste, writing the introduction to 1 Timothy in the ESV Study Bible, has a concise explanation of why the pseudonymity solution is untenable:
It is problematic to argue that these works were written under a false name since the early church clearly excluded from the apostolic canon any works they thought to be pseudonymous. While critics point to the common practice of pseudonymous writing in the ancient world, they usually fail to point out that this practice, though common in the culture, was not common in personal letters, and was categorically rejected by the early church (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2; 3:17; also Muratorian Canon 64-67; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.12.3). Tertullian (c. A.D. 160-225) wrote that when it was discovered that a church elder had composed a pseudonymous work, The Acts of Paul (which included a purported Pauline letter, 3 Corinthians), the offending elder “was removed from his office” (On Baptism 17). Accepting as Scripture letters that lie about their origin is also a significant ethical problem. Thus, there is a good basis for affirming the straightforward claim of these letters as authentically written by Paul.
In addition to the external evidence (e.g., whether or not pseudonymity [false naming] or pseudepigraphy [false attributing] were accepted practices in the first centuries), Van Neste also points to the internal evidence in 2 Thessalonians where Paul’s comments are relevant. These verses are worth quoting:
2 Thessalonians 2:2: “[Do] not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed . . . by . . . a letter seeming to be from us. . . .”
2 Thessalonians 3:17: “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.”
Given statements like these, it seems logically and morally incompatible to hold to pseudonymity / pseudepigraphy and the ultimate authority of God’s word containing no deception or error.
For more on this, see D.A. Carson’s essay, “Pseudonymity and Pseudepigraphy,” inDictionary of New Testament Background, ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), 857-64.
Hopefully these facts will become plain. It will be very nice to research the New Testament books without having to waste time arguing that Paul wrote the book that has Paul’s name on it.
God; who is a breadth, beyond all breadths; a length, beyond all lengths; a depth, beyond all depths; and a height, beyond all heights, and that in all his attributes: He is an eternal being, an everlasting being, and in that respect he is beyond all measures, whether they be of breadth, or length, or depth, or height. In all his attributes he is beyond all measure: whether you measure by words, by thoughts, or by the most enlarged and exquisite apprehension; His greatness is unsearchable…
The greatness of God, of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is that, if rightly considered, which will support the spirits of those of his people that are frighted with the greatness of their adversaries. For there is a greatness against a greatness. Pharaoh was great, but God more great, more great in power, more great in wisdom, more great every way for the help of his people; wherein they dealt proudly, he was above them. These words therefore take in for this people, the great God who in his immensity and infinite greatness is beyond all beings.
-John Bunyan, All Loves Excelling: The Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love (Carlisle, Pa: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1998), 4-5.