We all want life to make sense and to have purpose. Yet, many things that take place in the world and impact our life bewilder us.
We have no control over most of what goes on around us. The more out of control life seems the more we want to get things under control.
But we can't control others, nor can we set everything in order around us. And yet, we have options.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. [vss 1-4]
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. [vss 5-9]
(Psalm 37:1-9 NIV) [Context– Psalm 37]
Key phrase— Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart
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Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What are we not to worry about and who should we not envy? Why is this so?
What are we to do? What are the specific things we're encouraged to do?
What are the results we can expect when we do these things?
What is the final thing we're encouraged to do? How do you think we are to do this?
When life around us seems overwhelming, we tend to do one of two things. We try to take actions to bring things into order, or we withdraw to hide from it all.
The first thing often leads to frustration, while the second brings a sense of hopelessness.
Looking to the Lord for what we can't control helps us gain perspective on it all. Setting our mind and heart to trust the Lord this way brings internal peace and order.
But how can we do this when we're overwhelmed? It's not something we do once and it's finished. It involves a commitment and consistency to continue doing what we know in our heart to be right and true and good.
The psalmist gives ways to do this, which are expanded on in the rest of the psalm. Each one results in some type of blessing from the Lord.
Here are those five ways to overcome what we cannot control—
- Trust in the Lord and do good (verse 3)
- Take delight in the Lord (verse 4)
- Commit your way to the Lord (verse 5)
- Be still before the Lord (verse 7)
- Refrain from anger and turn from wrath (verse 8)
In my next post, I'll unpack these five things a bit more, so check back!
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Are there times when you're frustrated and angry about the state of things in your life or the world around you?
When do you feel most overwhelmed? What seems to trigger this, or precede this sense of being overwhelmed?
How do you handle angry feelings, worry, frustration, or fears? Are you able to bring these feelings to the Lord in prayer?
How often do you try to settle your heart and mind by trusting your concerns with the Lord?
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