Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Do not fret

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ezekiel  22-24; Psalm 37

TO CHEW ON: "Cease from anger and forsake wrath
Do not fret — it only causes harm (it only leads to evildoing - NASB)." Psalm 37:8

So much of our frame of mind and sense of well-being depends on our thoughts. In Psalm 37 David gives us some good thought guidelines. He begins by telling us some thought patterns to shun: anger, wrath, and fretting. In fact, he warns against fretting three times (vs. 1, vs. 7, vs. 8).

"Fret" in Hebrew is charah, a primitive root also translated angry, and kindled. Its English definitions are so telling for our context:
1] to be vexed, annoyed, troubled.
2] to become worn, chafed or corroded.
3] to bite away bit after bit of something with or as with the teeth.
4] to eat through something by or as if by corrosion.
5] to rankle, fester.
6] to become rough or agitated, as water.
Synonyms are irritate, vexation, annoyance, uneasiness.

Do you tend to fret? I know I do. When something troubles me I am like a dog with a bone, biting, chewing, gnawing, then burying but always coming back to uncover my worry so that I can bite, chew and gnaw some more.

David doesn't leave us to fend for ourselves against the negative thoughts  of anger, envy and fretting. Psalm 37 is full of good thought options. We can instead:

"Trust in the Lord" (Psalm 37:3). This is putting the weight of ourselves - our past histories, present circumstances, and future hopes, dreams, expectations, and fears - on God.

"Dwell in the land" (Psalm 37:3). Though not a thought per se, dwelling connotes a rooted, settled, contented existence.

"Delight yourself in the Lord" (Psalm 37:4). We need to focus on God's good character and gifts to us and not on our lacks as compared to what someone else has.

"Commit your way to the Lord" (Psalm 37:5).  Literally, we roll ourselves and our way onto God. We let God take the wheel of life, not fixated on the route we take but giving Him the right to move us here or there,

"Rest in the Lord" (Psalm 37:7).  We are silent, still, at ease, relaxed.

"...wait patiently" (Psalm 37:7).  We aren't in a hurry to see things completed. We live by God's timetable.

"Cease from anger" (Psalm 37:8). We refrain from, let go of, withdraw from anger. This is something we can do — a willful action on our part.

We don't need to be at the whim of negative thinking. But to avoid the tyranny of our destructive thoughts we need to first recognize, then put the brakes on angry, anxious, fretful ones, and finally replace them with thoughts of trust, contentment, delight, commitment, rest, and patience.

PRAYER: Dear God, in the days ahead, even today I'm sure I'll be tempted to fret. Help me to replace fretting with constructive thoughts of You and Your goodness to me. Amen.

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 37 

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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