Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Cure for Worry and Anxiety

I know this may sound weird, but sometimes I love to get down on the ground in my backyard to get a good close look at all the little plants, sticks and rocks. What amazes me is the detail in some of the smallest of those little plants.

Most people have a fascination with beautiful flowers. The zoo in our city built an entire facility called the botanical gardens just for gazing at plants. Large flowers like irises and gladiolas are always striking and stunning in their shape and colors. But have you ever stopped to take a look at the flowers that pop open in the smallest of plants right in your backyard?

The photo included in this article is one I took in my own yard. It’s a picture of a weed. That’s right, a tiny plant that is here today, gone tomorrow. It’s a plant that I wouldn’t think twice of either pulling out of the ground root and all, drenching with weed killer, or plowing down with my mower.

Take a moment and study the photo. Admire the complexity of this little purple flower. The colors are exquisite. The shape of the flower is almost tropical in design. The little “hairs” on the tops of each petal are unique. Even the green leaves underneath each flower have an almost Victorian look. All this beauty and intricacy — in a weed!

As I was on my hands and knees, phone in hand, trying to get the best shot of this tiny flowering weed I’m sure the neighbors thought I was a bit crazy. But there on the ground, as I sat gazing with amazement I was reminded of an important lesson the Lord Jesus teaches in the Scriptures. It’s one of those lesser to greater lessons that he used so often to get us to focus on the truths of the character and promises of God.

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28b-30)

This passage reminds me that God knows we are prone to anxiety. Our hearts and minds are bent towards worry. Jesus teaches believers that the cure to worry is to consider the flowers. Consider the reality that if God so decorates the flower of a weed that is here today and gone tomorrow, he will surely care for his adopted children who he has secured for all eternity through Jesus Christ.

How often we run here and there fretting over small and great things! How little we stop and take the time to marvel at the tiniest of flowers and use that as a lesson to remember the teachings of our Lord. The way to combat the frantic worried mind and heart is to stop and look at the flowers God has created. When we marvel at the beauty, creative mastery, colors, shape (and even smell), of something as insignificant as a flowering weed it should cause us to be reminded that God cares infinitely more for his adopted children than for that weed dressed in colors Solomon only dreamed about. And if that be the case, what in the world do we really have to worry about? Oh, we of little faith indeed!

If you are like me, you sometimes feel paralyzed by worry and anxiety. Over time I have slowly come to realize two important things. First, worry is a sin because we are in essence doubting God’s goodness and his providence. Second, the cure to worry and anxiety is to saturate your mind with the great truths of the word of God and his character. How amazing is it that our Lord teaches us to gaze at little flowers to help us be reminded of both of these truths!

So next time you are out and about, take a moment to stoop down and marvel at something as insignificant as a flowering weed. If you marvel through the lens of Scripture, it will be a balm to your weary anxious soul.

Accepted

There are a few interactions I’ve had when sharing the gospel on the streets that stick in my heart and mind. One such interaction occurred a few weeks ago. We were at a large bus terminal in the heart of our city where we frequent every weekend as part of an evangelism ministry. The busy bus station is a wonderful place to share the gospel since there are always people coming and going (and standing around).

We walked around handing out gospel tracts and speaking with some of the people standing around waiting for their bus to arrive. It can be a captive audience! As I made my way to the back side of the bus station I handed a tract to a young man and began a conversation with him. He asked me a few questions about the contents of the tract and that gave me an opportunity to begin sharing the good news of the gospel. He had a worried look on his face as I was telling him about Jesus and the judgment. He said with a genuinely concerned look, “I don’t know if I will be accepted by God.”

Continue reading Accepted

The Three Worst Friends

Yes, Virginia, there is an unholy trinity!

The English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, often called the “prince of preachers”, had great insight into the dangers, toils, and snares of the Christian life. It’s no wonder that he is often referred to as the last of the Puritans. Like the Puritans of old, he not only had a grasp of the gospel and the Scriptures, but he also had an experiential and biblical understanding of the realities of the Christian life.

There are droves of sermons, books, and articles that speak of the Christian life in almost fairy tale ways. Most of them make the Christian life sound like something out of a movie. They tend to portray a life of abundance, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from any conflict. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that one of the best selling books in most Christian bookstores described the Christian life as the best it gets right here and now. There are so many misleading resources that sadly Christians have become influenced by much of them. We need to get back to what Scripture says about the Christian life, not what the latest religious guru concocts to tickle the ears of the masses.

Continue reading The Three Worst Friends

All Roads Lead to God

Brace yourself – all roads do in fact lead to God.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this guy has turned into a heretic. You’ve probably been taught and brought up being told that all roads don’t lead to God. Well, that’s true in one sense. But in another very important sense, it’s also true that all roads do lead to God. Let me explain.

You’ve probably been flipping the channel on your TV and stopped on a popular talk show featuring a panel of spiritual people—everyone from Christians to Atheists. Inevitably, someone either from the audience or the host will utter that dreaded phrase, “but all religions lead to God!” As a Christian, you probably cringe when you hear that and your inner instinct is to shout at the television, “there is only one way to God and that one way is Jesus Christ!” And, you’d be right if you qualify what “to God” means.

The Christian faith is clear that there is only one way to be saved. That one way isn’t a method or something that we do. That one way is a person. And that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear that he alone is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through him. But Jesus is speaking about something very specific— salvation. He is speaking about the way in which fallen humanity can come before God in complete forgiveness and the imputed righteousness required to enter his presence. Jesus is speaking of the narrow road that is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. Oh, and that single road that is salvation is full of dangers, toils, and snares. It’s rocky and a hard path to tread. It’s a difficult road because a new heart that seeks to love God will now have to constantly battle (by God’s grace and strength) sin, the world, and Satan. So, when it comes to salvation and forgiveness, it is false to say that all roads lead to God.

However, in another very important and startlingly terrifying sense, all roads do lead right to God…

Continue reading All Roads Lead to God