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Reposting because I needed to be reminded of these things this morning,
Justin Taylor gives a list of very good and true things to tell yourself when you get up in the morning,
- Salvation draws near. This morning I am one day closer to seeing the Lord face-to-face, and closer to the day when all that is wrong and broken and rebellious will be made right and submissive. (“For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed”—Rom. 13:11).
- God gives me new mercy. Every day I need God’s mercy, and when I awoke today there was a fresh supply of such necessary grace awaiting me. (“[God’s] mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning”—Lam. 3:22-23).
- God gives us all kindness. God has already shown and modeled kindness this morning to his people and to his enemies by causing the sun to rise and shine. (“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good”—Matt. 5:45).
- My to-do list has only two things on it. My to-do list can feel overwhelming, but Jesus was able to summarize all 613 stipulations of the Sinai Covenant unto the size of a Post-It Note: “Love God with all that you are; love your neighbor as yourself.” Love fulfills the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14;James 2:8). As Augustine put it, “Love, and do what you will.”
- Anxiety is meant to be cast not carried. Any anxiety I feel about today is useless (to me) and offensive (to God). God knows that I awake with anxieties, needs, and burdens. But instead of being anxious God wants me to tell him what I need (Phil. 4:6). Because God cares for me he wants me to cast all those anxieties—those burdens—on him (1 Pet. 5:7; Ps. 55:22). God is happy to “supply every need [I have] according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19;Matt. 6:33). Anxiety, at the end of the day, is a pointless waste of time that costs me a lot and gains me nothing (Matt. 6:27).
- Rejoicing in weakness. If I feel too weak today, that’s a very good place to be. That way the joy of the Lord can be my strength (Neh. 8:10). That way I can “serve by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 4:11). “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). God’s grace is sufficient for me, since his power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong ” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
The Twelve were like the rest of us; they were selected from the unworthy and the unqualified. They were, like Elijah, men “with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). They did not rise to the highest usefulness because they were somehow different from us. Their transformation into vessels of honor was solely the work of the Potter.
Many Christians become discouraged and disheartened when their spiritual life and witness suffer because of sin or failure. We tend to think we’re worthless nobodies—and left to ourselves, that would be true! But worthless nobodies are just the kind of people God uses, because that is all He has to work with.
Satan may even attempt to convince us that our shortcomings render us useless to God and to His church. But Christ’s choice of the apostles testifies to the fact that God can use the unworthy and the unqualified. He can use nobodies. They turned the world upside down, these twelve (Acts 17:6). It was not because they had extraordinary talents, unusual intellectual abilities, powerful political influence, or some special social status. They turned the world upside down because God worked in them to do it.
-John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group), 11.
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
My dad used to say to me, when I was a kid, “Listen, son. Half-hearted Christians are the most miserable people of all. They know enough to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with Christ to be happy. Be wholehearted for him!”
HT: Ray Ortlund
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Since we are united to Christ, God regards us in the identical way he does Christ. The Father treats us exactly the same way as he does his own eternal and beloved Son.
-Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology, p. 53.
That is what it means to be hidden in Christ! The Father sees Christ instead of me. Thus, He relates to me as He relates to Christ for He sees the beloved Son in my place.
Oh to have this truth capture my mind!
When I feel anxious about desires unmet. When I feel distant from the Lord. When I feel that I miss out because of my striving to please the Lord. When I fail to please the Lord. When I feel the pull to give into sin. When I have no desire to do the things God wants me to do. When I feel unloved. And in pretty much ever other circumstance and thought this truth needs to be the determiner of how I understand and live in this world.
A very good perspective from Ray Ortlund for me as a young single man to keep in front of me…
The longer I live, the more I care about fewer things, and it’s good. Here are those fewer things:
1. God is patient. “. . . the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience” (Romans 2:4). Where would I be now, if God were not patient with me?
2. My wife is my most precious earthly treasure. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4). And how I delight in my family!
3. Everything man-made will fail. But it’s okay. Everything God-made will last. “God’s firm foundation stands” (2 Timothy 2:19).
4. Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture. “If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). When the gospel gets through, our relationships becomebeautiful.
5. I will die in just a few years. What matters now is lifting up a bold new generation for Christ. “I endure everything for the sake of the elect” (2 Timothy 2:10).
6. God visits weakness with power, suffering with blessing, setbacks with progress. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
7. The Bible is my oxygen. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). How could I live a single day in this world of illusion without God’s inerrant Word?
8. The grace of God is the endless resource for everything I face. “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).
9. The highest truth is God’s mercy for the undeserving. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). It’s all I want to talk about.
10. Whatever else I lose, I must keep my own walk with the Lord. “But for me, it is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28).
Worldliness is whatever any culture does to make sin seem normal and righteousness to be strange. When we imbibe the Zeitgist (the spirit of the age) of worldliness, then we feel strange trying to think Christianly and act according to the Bible’s mandates. That is, when we think the world’s thoughts after it and do not think God’s thought after him, we will not be motivated to do the things that God wants us to do, but we will only feel comfortable acting in a manner that fits into the world’s way of doing things…
…this is why regular attendance at church is so important. At church we worship by hearing God’s Word, praising God, praying, partaking of the Lord’s and fellowshipping, all of which encourages believers and convinces them that they indeed are the ones who are normal and that the world is strange before God’s eyes.
-G. K. Beale, We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry, p. 300
Wednesday morning of Together for the Gospel, we were encouraged to rely on the transforming power of the gospel by Thabiti Anyabwile. Thabiti laid out, during his message, nine marks by which we can ask if we are confident in the power of the gospel. What follows is what I was able to write down in my notes.
- We would position ourselves to be around the worst of sinners so that gospel proclaiming opportunities would arise
- Because the power of the gospel resides in the God who saves sinners there is no class of “more savible” than others. The gospel can penetrate the most lifeless person we can imagine.
- We should share the gospel slowly and clearly.
- We are not about quick tricks to get people to say a prayer. We are simply called to release the gospel and then trust it will have its effect.
- We would redirect our fears from man to God.
- God is sovereign, not man. God is the one who reigns, not man. He is the one we should aim to please, not man.
- We would endeavor to proclaim the gospel every Sunday.
- The gospel should be made clear in every service on Sunday so that both unbelievers and believers may look upon Christ. God has only one story that is told through the bible—the gospel.
- We would be careful with new converts and evangelism by not making a conversions like Paul’s standard.
- Our trust is not in methods or means but in the gospel.
- Study the gospel in deep ways.
- Preach to open eyes not just to impart information.
- Ask,”Is my confidence in myself or in the gospel?”
- We want people to look to the message and not the messenger (1 Cor. 2:5).
Regrets can be hard on us. Whether they are about our lives before our salvation or what happened yesterday. We think back about what could have been only if we had not messed up or if we did what we were suppose to. How are we to interact with these regrets?
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helpfully lays out how we are to respond:
1. Dwelling on regrets is a waste of time. “Let us then lay this down as a principle. We must never for a second worry about anything that cannot be affected or changed by us. It is a waste of energy…You can sit down and be miserable and you can go round and round in circles of regret for the rest of your life but it will make no difference to what you have done.” (p. 82)
2. Failures in the past are not to make us depressed, but to spur us on to action. “if you really believe what you say about the past, if you really do bemoan the fact that you have wasted so much time in the past, the thing to do is to make up for it in the present. Is not that common sense?” (p. 83)
3. Turn away regret by focusing on who you are right now, at this moment. “What matters first of all if you are a Christian is not what you once were, but what you are…’I am what I am’—whatever the past may have been. It is what I am that matters. What am I? I am forgiven. I am reconciled to God by the Blood of His Son upon the Cross. I am a child of God. I am adopted into God’s family, and I am an heir with Christ, a joint-heir with Him. I am going to glory. That is what matters, not what I was, not what I have been.” (p. 85-86)
4. We are not to judge ourselves. “As Christians we must leave our judgement to Him [1 Cor. 4:1-4]. He is our Judge and you have no right to waste His time or your own time and energy in condemning yourself. Forget yourself, leave the judgement to Him; get on with the work.” (p. 87)
5. Forget yourself, know Him. “part of the trouble with these people is that they are still morbidly preoccupied with themselves, that they have not learned as Christians that they are to deny self and take up the Cross and follow Him and to leave themselves, past present and future in His hands….stop looking at yourself and begin to enjoy Him…If you were to feel more interest in Christ you would be less interested in yourself. Begin to look at Him, gaze upon Him with this open, unveiled face. And then go on to learn that in His Kingdom what matters is not the length of service but your attitude towards Him, your desire to please Him.” (p. 87-88)
6. Live knowing you are in the Kingdom of Grace. “Nothing Matters in the Kingdom but the grace of God…God has a different way of looking at things. He does not see as men do; He does not compute as they do; it is all grace from beginning to end…stop looking at what what you have not done and the years you have missed and realize that in His kingdom it is His grace alone that matters.” (p. 89)
To sum up, “Praise God for the fact that you are what you are, and that you are in the Kingdom.” (p. 90)
Quotes taken from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 82-90
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)
What has already been resolved for you who trust in Christ is that there will be no wrath for you this coming year. No matter what has happen to you this past year, no matter what will happen to you this coming year. No matter if you still keep fighting the same sins you fought last year. No matter if you fail the godly resolves you make for this coming year. No matter if you can’t feel as if it is true as you start the next year. If your hope for being carried over from death to life is solely in the work of our Savior on the cross then next year has already been resolved for you. There is no wrath to come!
Instead, to the opposite of wrath, next year is another step towards what you have been destined for, salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that comes into your life, joy and pain, trial and victory, will be the working out of this purpose, to this end. God has set the destination and nothing can change the course!
Lets walk into this coming year encouraged and encouraging one another!