Let’s face it. Life can be scary.
We watch the news and feel like Chicken Little. The sky always seems to be falling.
We lose sleep over our loved ones, our lost ones, and our little ones.
We worry about the economy, finances, and employment.
We shake and shudder when more medical testing is required, when the test comes back positive or the diagnosis is not favorable.
We are anxious with “what ifs” and “whys.”
It’s understandable that we wrestle with the opponent of fear. The world is broken, and life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a fairy tale. (Although I do love a good Hallmark movie!) In the same token, while I realize it’s completely normal for us to process emotions of anxiety and unrest, the Bible says it is not God’s plan for us to crumble in its wake. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Fear was never meant to control or consume us.
The good news is that God doesn’t just tell us to suck it up and deal. He gives us the tools we need to help us in the fear-fight.
Proverbs 1:33 says, “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” I sure do like the promises in this verse. I want to live in safety and be at ease.
So how can you and I have a brave faith when life gets scary? Let’s consider the text and break down the promises found in Proverbs 1:33 by looking at the: who, what, and why.
…but whoever listens to me…
WHO is the “me” we need to listen to? The context of the chapter lets us know that the me is God’s wisdom. I listen to God’s wisdom when I go to Him with my fears instead of allowing them to grip me. When I pray and place my anxieties in His care. When I reflect upon God’s Word, power, plan, and strength more than on the words of that analyst on the news channel.
God is the source of the wisdom I must listen to.
WHAT does it mean to “listen” in this verse? The Hebrew word shama’ is used. Shama’ means to hear, listen to, yield to, obey. So to listen to the wisdom of God does not simply mean my ears need to process His wisdom. It means that my heart needs to process and implement His wisdom. It is not just about hearing audibly it’s about hearing spiritually … and responding accordingly.
WHY does it matter if I accept and walk in God’s wisdom verses my own? My own wisdom is limited (1 Corinthians 1:25). It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead me to the safety and ease I long for deep inside.
God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. And it’s free for the asking! He gives us wisdom when we ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
When we ask for and listen to God’s wisdom – when we hear it, yield to it, apply it and obey it – we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s peace. We will be at ease in Christ. Not with perfect lives, but with lives that are led by the Spirit of God, not controlled by fear and anxiousness. We can and will experience calm in spite of chaos.
I hear your push back. Really? That seems too easy. It’s just not that simple, Gwen.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tap an easy-button here. The Biblical instruction might be simple, but the implementation of it isn’t. If you and I are going to live with a brave faith we need God’s help. Remember? Jesus said that without Him we can bear NO fruit. (John 15:5)
When you and I spend time with Jesus… when we look beyond our fears to God’s sovereign strength… when we trust in the wisdom of God and set our hearts on His Word, we find the peace our hearts long for.
You are the Peace I need. Help me to stop juggling fear with faith. Grant me Your wisdom. Put my heart at ease. I come now and hand over these concerns (pause to personalize this). Please fill me with Your peace and perspective.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Read John 15:15. What would it look like for you to bear the fruit of the Spirit today when it comes to the worries of your heart? Write out a prayer or a response to this question on the wall of my blog so we can encourage one another in community.
Peace and grace,