Sermon on the Mount Con't
I’m a worrier, so these verses always slap me in the face. Doesn’t matter how many times I read them or how “mature” in Christ I think I am…these verses sting!
And Bonhoeffer adds to the punch:
“Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of all anxiety. If our hearts are set on them, our reward is an anxiety whose burden is intolerable.”
I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t have Earthly treasures stored up.
Some are obvious…Cars, Homes, TV’s, Computers, Gold, Land, Stocks, Bonds, IRA’s, etc.
Some not so obvious…Family, Work, Charity, Missions and so on.
How do you know if you cling to something over Christ?
For me, I get anxious thinking about NOT having those things…i.e. FAMILY.
Family is not my security. God is.
But you’d never know that if you understood how hard I hold onto them. Like I’m God and can protect them! Like I can control my next breath…let alone tomorrow!
“The way to misuse our possessions is to use them as an insurance against the morrow…By trying to ensure for the next day we are only creating uncertainty to-day…The only way to win assurance is by leaving to-morrow entirely in the hands of God and by receiving from him all we need for to-day.”
Even though I know I cannot control ANYTHING, I still have trouble relinquishing control over to a God who gave His Son for me.
How can I doubt His love when He gave His most prized possession?
Seems silly, and yet I do it.
God is called a Father.
Father’s know what their children need to survive and to be happy.
So why do I still think I need to agonize over small details? Details He already knows I need in order to live?
Because I lack faith and trust. Simple as that.
“It is senseless to pretend that we can make provisions because we cannot alter the circumstances of this world. Only God can take care, for it is he who rules the world. Since we cannot take care…we ought not to do it…If we do, we are dethroning God and presuming to rule the world ourselves.”
Now comes an even stickier topic…work.
Yes, we must work. The Bible clearly says we aren’t to be lazy. However we should not think our provisions come from our hard work and skills. All gifts and provisions come from God. Working does not provide security…only God can.
God gives talents/gifts ( and the works we do with them) to bring Him glory.
“…bread is not to be valued as the reward for work; he (Jesus) speaks instead of the carefree simplicity of the man who walks with him and accepts everything as it comes from God.”
Bonhoeffer goes on to say, “Anxiety is characteristic of the Gentiles, for they rely on their own strength and work instead of relying on God…they try to do for themselves what they do not expect from God.”
Not only does God know all we need. He owns all things!
So why worry?
Everything is in His power to give us.
Just put Him FIRST!
Then everything else will fall into place. (Matt 6:33)
Remember, God already gave us His son. Why should we doubt He will not continue to provide?
I can hear you say “what about all the people dying of starvation?” (or something similar to that).
“After he has been following Christ for a long time, the disciple of Jesus will be asked “Lacked ye anything?” and he will answer “Nothing, Lord.” How could he when he knows that despite hunger and nakedness, persecution and danger, the Lord is always at his side?”
God’s ways are not ours. We will never fully understand why some are blessed more than others. Why some hunger while others are full.
Evilness and injustice in this world do not take away from who God is. Instead, they should point people to the cross.
For in the cross, we find all we really need.
“…. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NLT
1. Identify areas of life you cling to. Do you worry over losing them? If so, give them to God. He’s the only one who can really take care of them.
2. Do you put too much emphasis on your work, trusting your job to provide for you instead of God? If so, ask God to free you from a burden you were never meant to carry.
3. Recognize ways you try to play God in your life. Write them down, pray over them and daily commit to surrendering them to Christ. It will take time, but God will help liberate you. Allow Him to be God. He’s good at it. You aren’t.
4. How can I pray for you?