Thursday, June 15, 2006

Drunk on Worry (Sober and Free)

The apostle Peter, in his first letter to the saints, urged the people of God to "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

Many of us are well familiar with these verses, but we may not be so familiar with what comes next: "Be sober," Peter tells us, "be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

I had always seen these verses as slightly contradictory: when I "cast my cares," I am light-hearted and free. When I try to be "sober," I generally do it by taking my cares back and thus attempting to guard against the enemy's encroachment. But my understanding was wrong, and recently I gained a better.

To be sober, you see, is not to be serious and solemn. To be sober is to be in full command of our faculties: clear thinking, understanding, able to act wisely. It is the opposite of being drunk. Worry (what Peter calls "care") is the enemy of such sobriety.

Madame Jeanne Guyon once wrote,

"I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation--a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary. Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace. It magnifies and gives a false colouring to objects, and thus renders your burdens too heavy to bear."

Worry is meditation on what might be if God was not in control or did not love us; to worry is to soak ourselves in falsehood and distrust. When we refuse to cast our cares on God, we cannot see clearly or understand what is happening to us, nor what God means to bring out of it. Pickled in anxiety, we leave our door wide open to the enemy.

* * *

The Scriptures quoted are in I Peter 5:6-8.

1 Comments:

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7:34 PM  

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