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Green Pastures and Still Waters

Long, long ago, in 1988 smiley, Bobby McFerrin sang a song titled, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  The tune was catchy but the lyrics were completely without substance, including a lot of “ooh, ooh, oohs.”  Like a lot of happy songs, including, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, the optimism is not rooted in anything more than faith in faith.  There is no objective reason to be happy in songs of that nature.  To aspire to happiness is common, but some of us need more than a happy tune based on an empty admonition.  In contrast, Jesus told us not to worry and gave us some good objective reasons to overcome the anxious cares that often debilitate us.  Paul expanded on the teaching of Jesus and, under the inspiration of the Spirit, gave a prescription for peace.  Lord willing, we’ll take a look at it on Sunday.  Are you choked with worry?  Does anxiety rob you of life?  Is fear robbing you of the enjoyment of God’s blessings?  Read ahead in Philippians 4.  God has a better way to live and wants to meet you right in the hard places of your concerns.  It’s been written, that on average, only about 8% of what we worry about is of any legitimate concern.  Think about that!  Perhaps up to 92% of the things that are weighing you down today are of no legitimate concern.   For those that are legitimate, God has a path toward peace.  One that has worked for many and will work for you.  “Do not worry!”

One of the significant problems with legalism is the self-deception that says, “I have arrived.”  Legalism counts on self-righteousness for standing with God.  The prophet Isaiah made it very clear that our own righteousness is “filthy rags.”  We need an alien righteousness for standing with God and He is willing to give us HIS righteousness if we will receive it by faith.  While it is marvelous to know we have standing with God, it can be a little disconcerting once we see ourselves in the light of His holiness.  We’ll have to say, “Okay, I’m not perfect!”  If we really want to live up to who God designed us to be, we’re going to have to recognize and move on from our failures and sins.  This can lead to a groveling form of self-denial that is unhealthy for the life that God has made available to us.  (We’ll see this soon in Colossians 2).  While self-denial is necessary as a follower of Christ, there are forms of asceticism that are not in keeping with His gift of life.  I like what Mr. Weirsbe wrote, “Some Christians are so busy dying to self that they never come back to life and run the race.”  God’s intent is not that we keep dying, it is that we might have life!  The end for the believer is not more death; the desire of God is that we might have more life!  We are to recognize that in Christ we are dead to sin and we are alive to God.  Our lacking perfection is a given.  But, let’s remember who we are in Christ and what we have in Him.  This will help us lay ahold of what we have been laid ahold of for smiley.