Processing Turmoil in a Godly Way Part 2

V. As bleak as the civil forecast was in His day, Jesus also gave clear instruction to believers how to process it and all other trials. A. He commanded, “Let not your heart be troubled...” (JOH 14:1). 1. Christ would not have said this if it were impossible to do. 2. The heart must be guided and kept. PRO 23:19; 4:23. 3. Unfettered emotion is the character of madding crowds that would “cancel” the just for the sake of their manipulators (ACT 19:28-32) but believers should not be so manipulated. PRO 25:28. B. “...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (JOH 14:27). 1. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear...” (LUK 21:26). Fear causes heart failure. 2. A sure way of troubling the heart is to let invalid fear be its director. Any fear which overrules your obedience to God is invalid, including the unfounded fear that He cannot be reasonable or satisfied. MAT 25:24-26. 3. Fear has torment. 1JO 4:18. 4. Fear of death is bondage. HEB 2:15. 5. Fear of man is disobedience. HEB 12:5-6. 6. Of the upcoming commotions which believers were expected to boldly process in faith was not only wars, but “...rumours of wars...” (MAT 24:6). a. We have plenty to be genuinely concerned about without plaguing our hearts with rumours: “...see that ye be not troubled...” (MAT 24:6). b. Perceptions are at least as powerful as realities. The wicked and the faithless flee based upon perception, not reality (PRO 28:1). Strive to ground your perceptions of life and events in reality. 1TH 5:21. 7. Serve God regardless of circumstances, events, rumors, perceptions, etc. and He will strengthen your heart. PSA 27:13-14. C. Jesus also commanded, “In your patience possess ye your souls” (LUK 21:19). 1. possess: To take possession of, seize, take; to come into possession of, obtain, gain, win. arch. [OED cites Luke xxi.19] 2. Tribulation therefore should not work against us. ROM 5:3. 3. What if we gain the world but lose our souls? MAT 16:26. 4. How many have lost their souls to materialism, covetousness, self-interests, fears, doubts, perplexities, manipulators, false messiahs, false saviors, or to false religion (REV 18:13) in times of turmoil? 5. “In difficult times, when we can keep possession of nothing else, then let us make that sure which may be made sure, and keep possession of our souls.” (Matthew Henry) 6. When the soul is disquieted, recall God’s power and willingness to deliver. PSA 43:5; 77:7-20 c/w 2CO 1:9-10. 7. Believe that since God owns you, He is interested in your salvation. PSA 119:94. D. We are not to fret about the wicked in power. ECC 5:8; PSA 37:1, 7-8, 35-40. 1. fret: trans. Chiefly of animals: To eat, devour... Obs. 8. trans. To chafe, irritate. Chiefly with regard to the mind: To annoy, distress, vex, worry. Also, to fret oneself; and to bring into or to (a specified condition) by worrying. 2. PHIL 4:6-7. E. NOTE: If we would be honest with ourselves, a good portion of our worries are things beyond our control (but not God’s), things that we only perceive as concerns (but may not be), things we could live without, and the consequences of our own decisions. VI. God has ever counselled His people to not place too much stock in the easy times and good things of this life. A. The proscription against covetousness (EXO 20:17) is necessary and relevant since the lust of the flesh is a primary driving force of our sinful nature and true life does not consist of the abundance of possessions (LUK 12:15). Therefore, the threat or reality of the loss of goods or the power to acquire them should not cause us to lose hope or abandon faith or principle. HEB 10:34 c/w MAR 10:17-23. B. Untempered ease can breed a halcyonian indifference to real concerns and become an inroad to gross immorality. AMO 6:1-6 c/w EZE 16:49. C. God ordained the Feast of Tabernacles for Israel. LEV 23:34. 1. This was to reduce them for a season in reflection of Israel’s exodus from Egypt when supplies were scarce but God was not. LEV 23:42-44. 2. “Once settled and prospering in permanent residences in Canaan, they were thus obliged to forsake that solidity for a little season. God similarly does us a favor when from time to time He orders disruption in our lives that we not cling to this world as a permanent, settled estate. Those who walk in the steps of Abraham's faith still walk as strangers, pilgrims and sojourners in this world (HEB 11:8-14), ‘For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come’ (HEB 13:14).” (From Tent to Triumph, 5-5-16, PWB) D. We are ever reminded that riches are uncertain and therefore a poor mooring point for the soul. PRO 23:5; 1TI 6:17. E. Life in this world is seasonal. It is not always the season of “get” and “peace.” ECC 3:1-8. 1. A season of a wise and just ruler might be followed by that of a fool. Solomon’s throne became Rehoboam’s. Josiah’s good reign was followed by a string of duds. 2. In a representative form of civil government, the elected should reflect the thinking of the people. Therefore, if the people are not themselves cultivated in sound principles, what else can be reasonably expected other than unsound leaders? 3. Believers’ work, civilly speaking, includes being salt and spreading salt. MAT 5:13 c/w COL 4:6; 2CO 2:14 c/w 1PE 4:17. 4. “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” (State motto of Hawaii) F. Life itself is a vapor. JAM 4:14. G. The greater our emotional investment and security in transitory things, the greater is the pain of their loss and the more obvious our inappropriate devotion to them. JDG 18:24. VII. As our culture is going through its turmoil, the possibility of the loss of direction, stability, liberty, justice, political sanity, safety, autonomy, self-determination, and wealth, etc. is on our minds. A. We wonder if such things could be taken away. We would be fools to think it could never happen. B. This is all the more reason to treasure the things that circumstances or others cannot take away (MAT 6:19-21). Such things can only be surrendered or forfeited. 1. As noted already, our hearts, minds and souls must be kept and possessed in patience. 2. True joy cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. JOH 16:22. 3. True peace cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. ISA 26:3. 4. Faith and good conscience cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. 1TI 1:19. 5. Hope cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. LAM 3:18-26; HEB 3:6. 6. Integrity cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. JOB 2:3. 7. A good name cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. PRO 22:1. 8. Our inheritance in the kingdom cannot be taken by circumstances or by others. GAL 2:18; 5:19-21. 9. It is not the compulsions in life but the choices that define character. VIII. God knows how to care for the faithful in the toughest of times. PSA 106:46; REV 3:10. IX. A prayer. PSA 65:4-7.