In my last post, we explored Yeshua’s commands to watch and pray; be ready for His return; and, not to worry about how to witness. In this post, we will begin a new mini-series to explore the cautionary insights or warnings that Yeshua has given us in obeying His Word.
Cautions ~ Part A
“I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.” (John 10:10b)
Yeshua has the ability and the authority to give life to anyone He chooses. “Just as the Father raises the dead and makes them alive, so too the Son makes alive anyone he wants.” (John 5:21). This is not just talking about a normal living and breathing life; it is significantly more. Yeshua has every intention of helping His followers experience above and beyond what any normal life has to offer – everlasting joy, peace that goes beyond our understanding, hope beyond measure, and the filling presence of the Ruach in our life.
When Yeshua promised us abundant life, it was not like the promises some politicians give to get elected – well-intentioned but empty. However, Yeshua’s promise is a conditional promise. Abundant life or “life in its fullest measure” is promised only to those who lovingly follow His commands. Those who want to have an abundant life but do not follow Yeshua’s commands will be disappointed and even get frustrated with God. Kefa advises us, “As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’ Also, if you are addressing as Father the one who judges impartially according to each person’s actions, you should live out your temporary stay on earth in fear.” (1 Kefa 1:14-17)Yeshua wants us to use the abundant life He offers us wisely and with great care, and not use it recklessly or wastefully. In addition, He intends for us to experience the fullness of life not just here on the earth but for all eternity. We should always live today as if we were in the presence of the Lord.
Fortunately, Yeshua’s commands also provide us cautionary insights or warnings that help us avoid the pitfalls and entrapments that prevent us from experiencing an abundant life. Yeshua knows our weaknesses and our limits in withstanding temptations. He always provides us ways and means to stay on the path that leads to righteousness so we will not venture onto the road that leads us into destruction (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). Look at the following commands as means to experience joy, peace, hope, and purpose as you live in God’s presence.
1. Don’t Be Anxious
“Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life – what you will eat or drink; or about your body – what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Mathew 6:25).
“Don’t worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris [troubles] already!” (Mathew 6:34; see also Luke 12:22ff)
An anxious person is a faithless person. The more people worry, the less they trust in God. To be anxious means to be consumed by a problem and allow it continually to dominate your thoughts. Worrying about things is an unproductive mental exercise that rarely, if ever, makes any difference in a situation.
The most effective antidote to worry is to take action. As Believers, we are to take our concerns to God and leave them there, not take them back up and continue to worry about them all day long. Yeshua wants us to believe that He cares for us. He wants us to place our faith in Him and trust He will deal with our problems, and intervene in our circumstances. Will we trust Him? Will we allow Him the time He needs to work things out in His way rather than trying to control our own destiny?
I learned fairly early in my career not to be anxious or worry extensively. Oh, sure, I spent a couple of restless nights; but always told myself that I was just cogitating on or planning my next step in solving a problem. I recall one incident many years ago. I won’t go into details – you’d probably be bored – but suffice it to say that I ended up calling my boss at 2:00 am to let him know I had figured out a solution to our dilemma. While he appreciated the solution and it was implemented, he did not appreciate me waking him up. I learned my lesson.
Sha’ul reminds us of this command not to be anxious or worry in his letter to the church in Philippi: “Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.” (Philippians 4:6) The combination of taking our concerns to God and adding thanksgiving to it frees us from anxiety. The thanksgiving is our affirmation to God that we trust Him to handle our requests. If we can thank God that He has heard our prayers and thank Him for how He is going to answer them, we can then rest in Him, and His peace can cover us and keep us safe from worry.
Application: A life of worry is a wasted life. A life of trust is a blessed life. Yeshua’s command encourages us to be blessed and to trust Him and His love for us. Ask the Ruach to remind you of His faithfulness, His provisions, His protection, His guidance, and His strength each time you begin to become anxious about your life or circumstances. Remember, He cares for you very much. What is stressing you out the most right now? What do you have the most trouble releasing into God’s hands? What do you think Yeshua thinks about your control issues? Remember, when you are in control of your life, Yeshua is not.
Remember always the words of Yeshua: “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” (Yochanan 14:15)
In my next post, we will continue our mini-series on the character traits that Yeshua expects us to possess concerning cautionary insights by exploring handling Holy things with care and not being afraid of persecution.