This week I’m enjoying what those in the business world and my tax accountant calls “professional development” at the Florida College Lectures. I call it spiritual enlightenment. The theme, You Are My God, are lessons from the Psalms designed to strengthen and enhance our relationship with God.
Yesterday morning I heard three really wonderful lessons. Ed Harrell spoke from Psalm 31, “Let Me Never Be Ashamed.” This lecture alone is worth the price of the book. I also heard Edwin Crozier’s masterful delivery of “Hear, O My People” from Psalm 50. If you missed it buy the book and the CD to both read and hear it.
The third lecture, “Do Not Fret Because of Evildoers,” was delivered by Mike Wilson, substituting for Daivd Posey who was unable to attend because the serious illness of a close friend. Mike did a great job of taking David’s material and adding his personal touch. I want to share some of Mike’s thoughts on a timely topic that touches the lives of Bible Believers.
The Psalmist admonished, “Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity” (PS 37:1)
The word “fret” literally means to “get heated up…to be hot.. To burn…to kindle with anger…to be furious…to heat oneself in vexation.” Modern euphemisms would express it this way: “Don’t blow your top.” “Don’t go bananas.” “Don’t blow a gasket.” “Don’t freak out.” “Don’t get bent out of shape.” “Don’t go ballistic.” “Don’t go postal.” “Don’t blow a fuse.”
As both David wrote and Mike observed, there is plenty to fret about today. Over 58 million abortions since 1973. The desecration of marriage. The acceptance and celebration of homosexuality. Political corruption. Economic downturns. Moral relativism. Terrorist attacks. Spiritual apathy. And political correctness that compromises Biblical principles.
It’s too easy to wring our hands and lament, “What’s the world coming to?” Yet, we ask, “Who’s coming to the world?” It ought to be solid, sound and spiritually mature Christians who put their trust in God, lean on the counsel of His Word, and live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:12).
Mike presented 4 reasons why Christian ought not to fret.
(1) Fretting robs God of His prerogative.
Psalm 37 will take care of evil doers. They will “wither like the grass.” “Be cut off.” “Be broken.” And “pass away.”
Vengeance and revenge is not man’s right. The Bible admonishes, Rom 12:19 –
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Rom 12:19)
(2) Fretting does no good. It never has.
Three times in the Psalm God’s people are urged, “do not fret.” Even if the threat is real. Even if danger is imminent. Even if you are directly and personally impacted. Fret not! It only “causes harm.” Fretting about things we cannot control hurts us mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
(3) A refusal to fret is the secret to peace and contentment.
Fretting is a choice we make. We can choose to “let go and let God.” Paul wrote that he had learned contentment. (Phil 4:11). Whether times were good or bad. Regardless if he was on the mountain top or in the valley. Irrespective of his physical situation in life, Paul enjoyed the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7).
There should be a wisdom that comes with age and spiritual experience that can say with the Psalmist “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken” (37:25).
(4) A refusal to fret is a product of trust in the gospel.
The command to “trust in the Lord” is reoccurring theme throughout the Psalms. “Trust in the Lord and do good (Ps 37:3). Indeed we can confidently affirm, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Ps 56:11).
God’s people are not victims. We are victors! Through faith, we know God’s cause will ultimately triumph. We are on the winning side.
And in the meantime as we deal with evil in this world, remember this: “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman