Fear not, little flock. We are meant for a better kingdom.
I worry often about the health of the Church. Why is it that we struggle so much with fear and anxiety rather than trusting the Lord and His perfect will? Has fear become idolatry? Has political fear become a burden? Are you so overwhelmed with fear and grief that you feel unable to cope with even the smallest of setbacks?
I can tell you this: If your problems are big enough to worry about, they are certainly big enough to pray about. Seek Jesus. Find comfort in His Word.
What's going on in the world?
Don’t give way to discouragement, feelings of futility, or waves of fear, because the Father has graciously chosen to give you the kingdom if you are in Christ. There are so many reasons to be discouraged in this fallen world, it’s a wonder that anyone is happy. It’s discouraging to watch your marriage turn cold and distant. It’s disheartening to be betrayed by a dear friend. It’s disappointing to lose the job you worked at with such commitment. It’s depressing to face a sickness that you’re not sure you’ll ever kick. It’s hard to face the rebellion and rejection of your once seemingly innocent children. It’s discouraging to hear so often about corruption in politics and government. It’s disheartening to have to be concerned about crime and injustice. It’s tough to deal with the weaknesses of old age and the failings of your body. It’s hard to be mocked and rejected for your faith. It’s sad to see your church become more a place of controversy than gospel healing. It can seem as if everything in your life is in the process of decaying or in danger of going bad. People die, dreams die, flowers die, and marriages, churches, jobs, and friendships go bad. If you look around, the world that God created isn’t doing very well. In many ways, it’s a hard, discouraging place to live. The downward spiral of the fallen world can get to you. It seems that everything is impermanent or in the process of falling apart.
The discouragement doesn't end there. It often seems as if we have no ability to change anything around us. You do everything you can to restore your marriage, but it just seems stuck. You know you don’t have the power to change other people and you have limited power to change situations. Often you are only a witness or affected by things you have little ability to alter. So where does one even find encouragement? It’s found in grace, as Christ speaks these beautiful words: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Everything changes with these words. These words tell you that it’s not you against a world gone bad. Yes, you are a citizen of this world and you are touched by its brokenness, but as you are, you must remind yourself that you are the citizen of another kingdom. Your King rules over everything that would discourage and disappoint you, and he rules for your good and his glory. What is out of your control is under his unfailing, precise rule. What you don’t understand is under his careful administration. While everything around you seems impermanent, this kingdom will have no end. Long after the kingdoms of this world have been destroyed, you will reign with your King in his kingdom forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever...
What does Jesus say?
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Let's look to the better kingdom!
The reality is that each and every one of us is a theologian. We are all well versed in doctrine. You have a solid grip on theology regarding the things that you worship.
But what do you worship? Do you worship your time? Do you worship the sport you play? Do you worship your popularity in the workplace or at school? Do you worship your family? Money? These things that you know and worship so well are your functional theology. It’s a self centered theology.
What is it that you have used to build your kingdom?
Now… all of these things are not necessarily bad things, but when they become RULING things in our lives… when they are the primary reasons that we get out of bed and work, they become ruling things and this way of living will only ever fail us in the end.
“Why?” do you ask?… Because these things will never satisfy or save you.
So when I say “we are all theologians,” I really mean it. We know a great deal about the things we care about and spend our time with these things.
If you have come to Christ, you have a better hope in him. He is someone who loves you and is always ready to meet you exactly where you are.
Between the “already” of conversion with him, and the “not yet” of you standing in his full presence in heaven, you have the opportunity NOW IN THIS LIFE, to have a relationship with the savior of the world. Not only that, we get to inherit that beautiful kingdom he has described for us in our text today.
With all of this that in mind lets move forward… Let’s look at what God centered, Christ centered theology looks like.
What would it look like to shift your focus from the constant use of social media or our time binge watching things on Netflix or Hulu, and instead replace that with the study of God’s Word? What if our deepest desire was to seek a deeper relationship with the One that loves us dearly. The One that truly has the ability to satisfy and save! Store up your treasure in heaven. Let your heart find its home there and not in the selfish places of this world.
HOW CAN WE ALL LIVE THIS OUT TOGETHER?
Let’s make an effort to be more intentional with our time. Let’s not let fear and sadness rule our lives. Let’s pray when we feel overwhelmed with the things going on around us.
Let’s be thankful for the ways we CAN stay connected with our friends and loved ones.
Fear is something that God can use for our good. in the same what that we have pain receptors to warn us of harm to our bodies, but remember this… Don’t give way to fear. Don’t let it drive your decisions or your actions. Let faith swell up within you and let faith lead you to act.
Pray: Pray that God would reveal to you the places in your life in which you need more faith in him. Pray that he will make clear to you what idols you may have in your life and that he would forgive you for doing so.
Read: Read Luke12:22-34 this week and take note of the attributes of Christ that appear in the text. As you study, pray God would grow you in the characteristics of Jesus.
Create: Make something to remind yourself that Jesus is supreme over all creation. Display your creation so you can see it and remember this passage throughout the week.
Meditate on Luke 12:22-34 today. Let the Word of God be a refreshing reminder that you can rest in His great promises. There is no need to worry. Remember the words, "HOW MUCH MORE..."
A portion of these thoughts are from the "New Morning Mercies" the daily devotional authored by Dr. Paul David Tripp.
Copyright © 2014 by Paul David Tripp Published by Crossway // 1300 Crescent Street // Wheaton, Illinois 60187