Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Considering the lilies: Choosing freedom from fear, worry, selfishness

"Consider the lilies, how they grow... And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.                                       (Luke 12:27, 29-32 NASB)

The lily series continues, mainly because I've enjoyed learning about the lilies.  I hate to leave it. We began this series by considering the lily bulb. In case you missed any part of the series, you can click on the links to catch up. We've also considered lily propagation,  lily's dispositiontrue lilies and the importance of the name, the importance of planting the lily bulb deep in the ground, the different varieties of lilies, and  living the lily life. Yesterday, we examined seeking the kingdom

Today, we look at the "DO NOT's". The world often thinks of religion in terms of "thou shalt not's". To the unbeliever, Christianity seems more like a list of don'ts than do's, a divine dictatorship rather than a relationship. If they only knew... 

The "don't's" of faith are for our protection and generally come with a "do" alternative. (Maybe not in the same verse, but if you look for it, you can find it.)

There are three "don't's" in this passage and they aren't what most people think of when they hear "thou shalt not". 
1. Do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink. 
 The word translated as "seek" is not a casual hide and seek game. We might think of it as  a demanding search, determined to have what we want. Jesus is warning us against demanding a certain kind of consumption. 

The implication is for us to be content with simple fare. We may want caviar and lobster, but that doesn't mean we should have it. Let's give up our selfishness and our sense of entitlement.

The most commonly eaten food in the world is rice. The diet in many countries is composed largely of rice. Not caviar. Not filet mignon. We would likely improve our health if we did not "seek" (demand) a certain diet, but were satisfied with a simple diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Okay, lean meats, too for the omnivores among us. (My physician side is shouting this morning.) 

2. Do not keep worrying.
Jesus knows us, doesn't He? We don't just worry for a moment. We keep on worrying. Agonizing, soul-wrenching worry. We fill our lives with what if's and miss the here and now. It's not the way we were intended to live. 

Jesus told us not to keep worrying because there is no need to worry. Our Heavenly Father has the world in His capable hands. He can handle our lives. So take every thought captive. Make a choice to obey. Stop worrying. Stop it. 

Here's a motivator for those of us who have trouble with worry. Jesus told us not to keep worrying. When I refuse to obey Jesus by continuing to worry, it is sin.

How do we stop worrying? Take our thoughts captive. Stop rehearsing our worry. Speak truth. Quote Scripture aloud. Pray. 

3. Do not be afraid.
I love this particular admonition. "Do not be afraid, little flock." The Good Shepherd is speaking here to His lambs and reminds me of Psalm 23. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." As our Shepherd, He has accepted the responsibility of providing for our needs. We are not to allow fear to drive our actions. Momentary fear should drive us to Christ. In His presence, fear flees. 

Will we stop doing what Jesus says not to do? We must, so that we can live free of selfishness, entitlement, demanding, worry, and fear. 

Choose to live as free men and women. It's the way Christ intended us to live.
Our Father, Our Shepherd and our Lord, forgive me for my selfish demanding, my worry, my fear. Help me to trust you and to follow you. Help me to live free, for You bought that freedom with Your blood. In Jesus name, Amen.