Carefree in God
Today's society, especially in the industrialized world, is under increasing pressure: the majority of people feel constantly under pressure from something. People suffer from lack of time, pressure to perform (Work, school, society), financial difficulties, general insecurity, terrorism, war, severe weather disasters, loneliness, hopelessness, etc., etc. Stress and depression have become everyday words, problems, illnesses. Despite huge advances in many areas (Technology, health, education, culture) people seem to have ever greater difficulty in leading a normal life.
A few days ago I was in line at a bank counter. Before me was a father who was his toddler (maybe 4 years old) with him. The boy hopped carefree, carefree and full of joy. Siblings, when was the last time we felt that way?
Maybe we just look at this child and say (a little jealous): «Yes, he is so carefree because he doesn't even know what to expect in this life!» In this case, however, we have a fundamentally negative outlook on life!
As Christians we should counteract the pressure of our society and look positively and confidently into the future. Unfortunately, Christians often experience their lives as negative, difficult, and spend their entire prayer life asking God to free them from a particular situation.
Let us return to our child in the bank. What is his relationship with his parents? The boy is full of confidence and confidence and therefore full of enthusiasm, joie de vivre and curiosity! Can we learn something from him? God sees us as His children and our relationship to Him should have the same naturalness that a child has over his parents.
"And when Jesus had called a child, he put it in their midst and said: Truly, I tell you, if you do not turn back and become like children, you will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, if someone is himself will humiliate like this child who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven » (Matthew 18,2: 4).
God expects us to have a child who is completely committed to the parents. Children are usually not depressed, but full of joy, life spirit and confidence. It is our job to humble ourselves before God.
God expects each of us to have a child's attitude towards life. He does not want us to feel or break the pressure of our society, but expects us to approach our lives with confidence and steadfast trust in God:
«Always rejoice in the Lord! Again I want to say: rejoice! Your gentleness should be known to all people; the lord is near. [Philippians 4,6] Do not be concerned about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving your concerns should be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all minds, will keep your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus » (Philippians 4,4-7).
Do these words really reflect our attitude towards life or not?
In an article on stress management, I read about a mother who longed for the dental chair to finally be able to lie down and relax. I admit this has already happened to me. Something is going completely wrong if we can only "relax" under the dentist's drill!
The question is: how well each of us Philippians 4,6 ("Do not worry about anything")? In the middle of this stressed world?
The control of our life belongs to God! We are his children and are subordinate to Him. We only come under pressure when we try to control our lives ourselves, to solve our own problems and tribulations ourselves. In other words, when we focus on the storm and lose sight of Jesus.
God will lead us to the limit until we realize how little control we have over our lives. At such moments, we have no choice but to simply throw ourselves into the grace of God. Pain and suffering drive us to God. These are the most difficult moments in a Christian's life. However, moments that want to be particularly appreciated and also bring about a deep spiritual joy:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, if you find yourself tempted in many ways by realizing that the maintenance of your faith causes perseverance. Perseverance, however, should have a perfect work so that you are perfect and complete and have nothing lacking" (James 1,2-4).
Difficult times in the life of a Christian are said to produce spiritual fruit, to make him perfect. God does not promise us a life without problems. "The path is narrow," said Jesus. Difficulties, trials and persecutions should not put a Christian in stress and depression. The apostle Paul wrote:
«We are oppressed in everything, but not crushed; seeing no way out, but not pursued without a way out, but not leaving; knocked down but not destroyed » (2 Corinthians 4,8: 9).
When God takes control of our lives, we are never abandoned, never dependent on ourselves! Jesus Christ should be an example to us in this regard. He has preceded us and gives us courage:
"I have spoken this to you so that you may have peace in me. You are afflicted in the world; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world » (John 16,33).
Jesus was oppressed on all sides, he experienced opposition, persecution, crucifixion. He rarely had a quiet moment and often had to escape the people. Jesus too was pushed to the limit.
«In the days of his flesh he offered both requests and supplications with strong cries and tears to those who can save him from death, and was heard for his fear of God and, even though he was a son, he learned from what he did suffered obedience; and perfect, he has become the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him, greeted by God as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek » (Hebrews 5,7: 10).
Jesus lived under great stress, never taking his life into his own hands and losing sight of the meaning and purpose of his life. He has always submitted to the will of God and accepted every situation the father allowed. In this regard, we read the following interesting statement from Jesus when he was really pressured:
«Now my soul is dismayed. And what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? But that's why I came to this hour » (John 12,27).
We also accept our current situation in life (Exam, illness, tribulation, etc.)? Sometimes God allows particularly unpleasant situations in our lives, even years of trials that are not our fault, and expects us to accept them. We find this principle in the following statement by Peter:
«Because it is grace when someone endures suffering because of conscience before God, because he suffered wrongly. Because what glory is it when you persevere as such who sin and are beaten? But if you persevere in doing good and suffering, that is grace with God. Because you have been called to this; for Christ also suffered for you and left you an example so that you follow his footsteps: he who has not committed sin and with him no deceit has been found in his mouth that has been reviled and never rekindled, does not threaten suffering but surrendered to the one who judges fairly » (1 Peter 2,19:23).
Jesus subordinated himself to God's will until death, he suffered without guilt and served us through his suffering. Do we accept God's will in our lives? Even if it becomes unpleasant, if we suffer guiltless, are harassed from all sides and can not understand the meaning of our difficult situation? Jesus promised us divine peace and joy:
«I leave you peace, I give you peace; not like the world gives, I give you Your heart will not be dismayed, nor should you be afraid » (John 14,27).
"I have spoken this to you so that my joy may be within you and that your joy may become complete" (John 15,11).
We should learn to understand that suffering is positive and generates spiritual growth:
«Not only that, but we also boast in the afflictions, since we know that the affliction causes perseverance, but perseverance proves it, probation provokes hope; but hope does not go to shame, because the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us » (Romans 5,3-5).
We live in distress and stress and have realized what God expects of us. Therefore, we endure this situation and produce spiritual fruit. God gives us peace and joy. How can we implement this in practice? Let's read the following wonderful statement from Jesus:
«Come to me, all you arduous and burdened! And I will give you rest Take my yoke on you and learn from me! Because I am meek and humble from the heart, and "you will find rest for your souls"; because my yoke is gentle and my burden is light » (Matthew 11,28: 30).
We should come to Jesus, then he will give us rest. This is an absolute promise! We should throw our burden on Him:
«Now humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that he may lift you up at the right time, [how?] By throwing all your care at him! Because he is concerned for you » (1 Peter 5,6: 7).
How exactly do we throw our worries to God? Here are some concrete points that will help us in this regard:
We should place and entrust our whole being to God.
The goal of our lives is to please God and to subordinate Him to our whole being. When we try to please all our fellow human beings, there is conflict and stress because this is simply not possible. We must not give our fellow man the power to put us in distress. Only God should determine our life. This brings peace, peace and joy into our lives.
God's kingdom must come first.
What drives our life? The recognition of others? The desire to earn a lot of money? To get rid of all our problems? These are all goals that lead to stress. God clearly states what should be our priority:
«Therefore I say to you: Do not be concerned for your life, what you should eat and what you should drink, nor for your body, what you should wear! Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky that they neither sow nor reap, nor gather in barns, and your heavenly Father nourishes them. Aren't you much more valuable than them? But who among you can add a yardstick with worries of his lifetime? And why are you worried about clothes? Look at the lilies of the field as they grow: they do not struggle, nor do they spin. But I tell you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not dressed like one of these. But if God dresses the grass of the field that stands today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, he will not do much more to you, you little believers. So don't be worried by saying: What should we eat? Or: What should we drink? Or: what should we wear? For all these are sought by the nations; because your heavenly Father knows that you need all of this. But first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness! And all of this will be added to you. So don't worry about tomorrow! Because tomorrow will take care of itself. Every day has enough in its evil » (Matthew 6,25: 34).
As long as we take care of God and His will first and foremost, He will cover all our other needs!
Is this a free pass for an irresponsible lifestyle? Of course not. The Bible teaches us to earn our bread and care for our families. But prioritizing this is already!
Our society is full of distractions. If we are not careful, we suddenly find no place for God in our lives. It takes concentration and prioritization, otherwise other things will suddenly determine our lives.
We are encouraged to spend time in prayer.
It is up to us to deposit our burdens on God in prayer. He calms us down in prayer, clarifies our thoughts and priorities, and brings us into a close relationship with him. Jesus gave us an important role model:
"And early in the morning, when it was still very dark, he got up and went out and went to a lonely place and prayed there. And Simon and those who were with him hurried after him; and they found him and said to him: All are looking for you » (Mark 1,35-37).
Jesus hid to find time for prayer! He was not distracted by many needs:
"But the talk about him spread all the more; and large crowds gathered to hear <ihn> and to be cured of their illnesses. But he withdrew and was in lonely areas and prayed » (Luke 5,15: 16).
Are we under pressure, has stress spread in our lives? Then we too should retreat and spend time with God in prayer! Sometimes we are just too busy to know God at all. That's why it's important to regularly withdraw and focus on God.
Do you remember Marta's example?
"But it happened when they went on their way that he came to a village; and a woman named Marta took him in. And she had a sister named Maria, who also sat down at the feet of Jesus and listened to his word. But Marta was very busy with a lot of service; But she came up and said: Lord, don't you care that my sister left me alone to serve? Tell her to help me!] But Jesus answered and said to her: Marta, Marta! You are worried and worried about many things; but one thing is necessary. But Maria chose the good part that will not be taken from her » (Luke 10,38: 42).
Let's take time to rest and have a close relationship with God. Let's spend enough time in prayer, Bible study, and meditation. Otherwise it will be difficult to transfer our burdens to God. To throw our burdens on God, it is important to distance yourself from them and to take breaks. «Not seeing the forest from the trees ...»
When we still taught that God expects an absolute Sabbath rest from Christians as well, we had an advantage: from Friday evening to Saturday night, we were not available to anyone but God. Hopefully, at least we have understood and maintained the principle of rest in our lives. From time to time we just have to switch off and rest, especially in this stressed-out world. God does not dictate when this should be. Humans simply need rest periods. Jesus taught his disciples to rest:
«And the apostles gather to Jesus; and they told him everything they had done and what they had taught. And he said to them: Come, you alone, to a desolate place and rest a little! Because those who came and went were many and did not even find time to eat » (Mark 6, 30-31).
When all of a sudden there is no time to eat, it is certainly high time to switch off and take some rest.
So how do we throw our worries on God? Let us say:
• We subject our whole being to God and trust Him.
• God's kingdom comes first.
• We spend time in prayer.
• We take time to rest.
In other words, our life should be God-and Jesus-oriented. We are focused on Him and make room for Him in our lives.
He will then bless us with peace, peace and joy. His burden is easy, even if we are harassed from all sides. Jesus was oppressed but never crushed. Let us truly live in joy as God's children and trust Him to rest in Him and to throw all our burdens on Him.
Our society is under pressure, Christians too, sometimes even more, but God creates space, bears our burden and cares for us. Are we convinced? Do we live our lives with deep trust in God?
Let us conclude with David's description of our heavenly Creator and Lord in Psalm 23 (David, too, was often in danger and heavily pressured from all sides):
"The LORD is my shepherd, I will not lack anything. He lays me on green meadows, he leads me to still waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me in paths of justice for his name's sake. Even if I hike in the valley of the Death Shadow, I fear no harm because you are with me; your stick and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the face of my enemies; you anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows. Only goodness and grace will follow me every day of my life; and I will return to the house of the Lord for life » (Psalm 23).
by Daniel Bösch