In my law office I frequently encounter individuals burdened with a variety of problems that cause them significant anxiety. It’s a rare occasion for anyone to be genuinely happy about having to consult with an attorney. 😏 The prevalence of anxiety is not limited to just my office; it seems to be a pervasive issue I encounter everywhere I go, affecting people from all walks of life, including Christians. In fact, recently one morning, when I once again experienced anxiety and couldn’t go back to sleep, I prayed,
“God, will I ever NOT be anxious???”
I tried praying about the problem and all I could get out was “Help me, God, I’ve got nothing.” In my thinking, the problem that was making me anxious was HUGE. I had no solution. You see, my friend, despite the fact that God has proven to me over and over again that He has ALL the answers, I STILL have to retrain my brain to remember I desperately need Him. I also NEED to WANT His solution no matter what that means I need to DO to find it. Think about that statement for a minute. Don’t we often try everything we can think of before we ask God for help? Why not just ask Him first???
When I come to the end of myself and my own solutions, it is the best possible place I can be.
So that morning I opened my heart and began reading His Word. While I would have preferred for Him to give me a quick solution to the specific problem that was making me anxious; more than anything else, I just wanted to STOP feeling anxious.
But—it is not the SOLUTION to our problem that sustains our peace; it is the PRESENCE of God!
There will always be another problem. So, as I began reading chapter 3 of Hebrews, God reminded me that when we are born again, Jesus Christ gives us the ability to have supreme confidence in Him. (3:1-6) His presence produces rest. God has a formula to build our confidence and give us rest:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will HEAR His voice, Do NOT harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.
Therefore I [God] was angry with that generation, and said,
They always go ASTRAY in their HEART, and they have NOT known My ways. So, I swore in My wrath, They shall NOT enter My REST.”Hebrews 3:7-11
This “rest” is the multifaceted benefit of knowing God and living in obedience to Him. This passage is referring to the incident when the children of Israel did not enter into the rest God had planned for them because they did NOT obey. (Deuteronomy 1:19-45)
The Israelites saw the problem of the giants as bigger than God’s ability to conquer them. They said: “The people are stronger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified up to heaven,” and therefore, “our hearts melt.” (28). Even though Moses assured them that God would fight for them just as he did in Egypt, they did not trust God to fulfill his promises (29-33). So, God barred them from the promised land. Their fear led them to disobedience which then led to severe punishment. When the Israelites realized their lack of trust condemned them to a lifetime of eking out an existence in the desert instead of enjoying the “good land” God had prepared for them, they made their own plans to attack the giants. But God warned them, “Do not go up and do not fight, for I am not in the midst of you; otherwise, you will be defeated by your enemies” (42). They went anyway. They were defeated!
Disobedience to God crushes us.
Our enemies want us to live in misery. God wants to give us rest. We can lower our anxiety through obediently trusting God and His Word. We will never find peace living in obedience to our enemies. Sometimes, we, meaning our flesh, are our own worst enemy! What a lesson for us! Our TRUST in God and our OBEDIENCE to His ways is the only way to live in the blessings of His rest.
As I was meditating on this thought, God brought to mind the lyrics of the hymn by John Sammins, “Trust and Obey.” Obedience brings peace and rest.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.
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