Guilt and anxiety can be God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm ourselves or others. But when we refuse to heed those warnings, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin.
Jeremiah 39 & 40
1 Timothy 6.1-21
Jeremiah 39 & 40:
The faithfulness of God in hard times
What a sweet testimony to the faithfulness of God! When the city was defeated, Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that Jeremiah was not just to be spared, but to be given a ration and told he was free to go anywhere he wanted to go!
We get so concerned about how the economy or some political change will affect us. Instead of standing firm for truth in the face of adversity and evil, we compromise, worry, and put our trust in other gods, like government, to save us. Instead of voting for candidates who are morally right we vote our pocketbooks (who promises me the most?). We lie to get unemployment benefits. Or we compromise our values in the work place, the classroom and the marketplace.
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6.33-34).
Help me, Lord, to stay faithful
Though discouraged by trials and persecutions, the psalmist holds on to the truths of Scripture. In his discouragement he cries out to God for help, not merely for his own comfort, but so he may continue to bring glory to God.
Verse 88, “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.”
Guilt, anxiety and paranoia
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Wickedness can lead to double-mindedness, fear, worry and what the world calls “paranoia.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines paranoia as “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.”
God gave each of us a conscience. Romans 2.14-15:
14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).
And when we violate our consciences, we’ll experience guilt and anxiety and, at times, even paranoia. Not all guilt and anxiety are bad. Sometimes they’re God’s early warning system to keep us from hardening our hearts and doing things that can harm ourselves or others.
But when we refuse to heed the warning behind those unpleasant emotions, they can morph into paranoia and a continued downward spiral of sin (Rom. 1.18-32).
A biblical view of authority
Chapter 6.1-2 in the NASB says, “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”
God places a great deal of importance on respect for authority, whether in the marriage relationship (Eph. 5.22-24, 33; 1 Pet. 3.1-6), in the parent child relationship (Eph. 6.1-3), in the church (Heb. 13.17), in civil society (Rom. 13.1-7), or wherever it is found.
Romans 13.1, “… for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
But He also emphasizes the importance of using authority in a respectful, godly manner:
“…do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6.4).
“And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him” (Eph. 6.9).
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the church …” (Eph. 5.25).
Paul told the Corinthians to be content in whatever circumstance they found themselves (1 Cor. 7.17-24). So whether in marriage, in singleness, as a child under parental authority, as a citizen under their government, in the church, or even as a slave, as long as we are not being asked to sin, we are to honor, obey and do all things as unto the Lord.
Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence
Elyse Fitzpatrick, coauthor of Women Helping Women, offers practical advice for conquering the paralyzing emotions many women encounter as they battle difficult, often overwhelming, concerns about rebellious children, problems in the workplace or home, health issues, financial difficulties, and more.
Authority Issues: When It’s Hard Being Told What To Do
It’s frustrating to be under imperfect authority. And sometimes it’s more than frustrating–we suffer when someone’s authority is unfair, capricious, or just plain wrong. But does that let us off the hook? Do we have to listen only to those we agree with? Author Robert Smith of Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries explains how God calls us to submit to authority–even imperfect authority–and that, as we do so, we are following in Jesus’ steps. As we redirect our trust from our fallen authority figure to the gracious and loving God who is ultimately in charge of our life, we can avoid the traps of bitterness and expectation and become more like Christ. A New Growth Press mini-book.
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