God’s Message:Jeremiah 9:23-24 MSG
“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom.
Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits.
Don’t let the rich brag of their riches.
If you brag, brag of this and this only:
That you understand and know me.
I’m God, and I act in loyal love.
I do what’s right and set things right and fair,
and delight in those who do the same things.
These are my trademarks.”
An Ongoing Prayer
I shared with some friends not long ago one thing that is making a difference in my life. I started asking God to reveal the gospel gap in my thinking. Let me share with you what I mean by that.
We know that we are saved by hearing and believing the gospel – that Jesus, the Son of God, became like us, our kinsman-redeemer, to give His life satisfying the requirements of the Law, making us right with God, establishing His kingdom on earth, and guaranteeing our future with Him in the new heavens and earth. But sometimes, we forget that the gospel isn’t just for that moment and neither is it just a ticket to heaven. We are continually saved by believing the gospel. The life we now live, we live by faith – the same faith that saved us.
I was waking up in the middle of the night worrying, feeling anxious about one thing or another. It was unpleasant, and I knew it was unnecessary – rest, sleep is a gift from God. But the anxiety was intense in the middle of the night, even when worrying wasn’t warranted. So one night, fed up with not sleeping, I asked God to show me the gospel gap causing anxiety. I prayed that prayer over a few days, trusting that the Spirit of God would direct my thinking. Several ideas came to mind, and I returned each one to God. Is this why I don’t sleep? Is this the gospel gap? I kept drilling down, turning each idea over to see what else was lurking behind it. And then God answered my prayer. He said I didn’t trust Him; I didn’t believe He was good.
Now if you had suggested that I don’t trust God I would have denied it vigorously. And if you said I didn’t believe God is good, I would have said, “Of course I do.” But my worries and anxiety told another story. If I truly believe God is good and trustworthy, I would have nothing to fear. Even if whatever I dreamed the worst-case scenario could be, pain, destruction, or even death, the truth is that God would be there, walking with me, carrying me through it, and providing the peace that He promises.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT
I am not particularly naive. I know “bad things happen to good people.” Often without rhyme or reason. And I don’t have a good reason why that is so, except that it all began in Genesis. With that first choice, the desire to be like God, to not be left out somehow, not trusting Him completely, not believing God was then holy and wholly good just as He is now.
The So What
So, what changed in my life? Do I still have weird moments of anxiety in the middle of the night? Well, yes, sometimes I do. But now I have a response. I begin “preaching the gospel” to myself! Yes, in the middle of the night, in the dark, while still in bed, I start repeating what I know to be true. I am God’s child, a daughter of the King. My Father is good. He is faithful and will do what He has said He will do. Jesus promised never to leave me. He is praying for me even in those dark moments. And before long, I am back to sleep.
Today I read a short article about JI Packer. In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer says every Christian should tell themselves these six things daily:
- I am a child of God.
- God is my Father.
- Heaven is my home.
- Every day is one day nearer.
- My Savior is my brother.
- Every Christian is my brother/sister too.
If you are struggling with anxiety, identifying truths from scripture and rehearsing the gospel can and will make a difference!
Where do you experience a gospel gap?
Father, You who spoke the words
Fear NOT over and over in scripture,
You who said that You would never leave us
That we should not be dismayed,
And You who invited us to cast all of our cares on You,
Would you today remind us of these truths,
Encourage our hearts with Your presence,
And gently point out the gospel gaps that
Inhibit our joy, rest, and satisfaction
That is ours by our birthright in Your kingdom!
May that joy, rest, and satisfaction be contagious –
For Your Name’s sake!