“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient.” – Hudson Taylor
The previous principle of actualizing a worry free life that I shared was to have faith in Sovereignty of God. It was designed to help us understand and believe that God is able to do anything, through anybody, including each of us. If God is truly God then nothing is impossible for Him and all things that He wills can and will be done. In other words, there’s no force or authority above Him or beside Him.
God most definitely is in control.
But trusting and believing that God is in control, when left by itself, does provide insurance that we won’t be filled with worry and anxiety. As a matter of fact, it is quite possible for a person to be actively doing God’s will and still have no peace about it! People can be in service to God, doing exactly what He has asked them to do, with full assurance that God will accomplish His task and still be worry and anxious about it! That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true.
Let me give you an example using the prophet Jonah. You know the story of Jonah. Jonah is commanded by God to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their disgusting wickedness had come up to God. Jonah however, didn’t want to obey God so he ran away and hopped on a boat headed for Tarshish. While on the ship God sent a hug storm to come up against them and almost sink the ship and everyone on it.
Jonah then convinced the other men of the ship that the only way to save the ship from God’s wrath was for them to throw him overboard. While floating around in the water, God caused a whale to come and swallowed him up. However, this whale swallowing experience wasn’t intended to kill Jonah but for God to get his attention and compliance. As Jonah was sitting in the belly of the whale, He cried out to God, committed to obeying Him by going to Nineveh, and preach against the city. Then after being burped up onto shore Jonah did go to Nineveh, he did preach against the city but once the king of Nineveh heard the message, on his own initiative, he got the whole city to repent and beg God for mercy.
As God heard the sincere cry of repentance from the people of the whole city, He did show mercy on them and pulled back His wrath. This, however, was not what Jonah wanted to happen. Jonah didn’t want mercy to be shown them but instead he wanted the judgment of God to fall on them. Jonah then begins to act like a spoiled little brat and throws a temper tantrum. Listen to what the Bible records Jonah saying once he realizes that God had shown the people of Nineveh mercy.
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God; slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3 (NIV)
While there are lots of lesson that we can learn from those first 4 chapters of Jonah, the one I want us to understand and meditate on today is this:
Just because you’re doing God’s will doesn’t mean you’ll experience God’s peace and be free from anxiety. Just because you’re being obedient doesn’t mean you won’t have worry in your life!
Why? Because a Christian who wishes to experience a worry free life not only needs to trust in the Sovereignty of God but they also need to surrender to the will of God in their attitude as well as in their action. If our attitude is wrong, even when doing what is right, we still won’t have a life filled with peace.
Jonah went and did what God wanted but he went and did it with a bad attitude. Even, though his actions were right – his heart was wrong. Jonah didn’t want the people of Nineveh to be forgiven – he wanted them to be judged and condemned! Jonah knew, from his understanding of the nature of God that “if” the people of Nineveh repented God would forgive them and because of this understanding of God, Jonah worried that God would forgive them and show them mercy if they repented.
The worry free life that we all are seeking always will come from both right actions and right attitudes. Jonah obviously didn’t have the right attitude. Jonah desired something that was contrary to what God wanted and as a result, even though He was obedient, Jonah neither had peace about the assignment or joy about the outcome.
Now with this as the backdrop, let’s once again take a look at part of Hudson Taylor’s quote.
“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine …”
It’s that last part of the sentence I want us to focus on,
“ … and His will is mine …”!
Hudson Taylor had come to a place in his daily life where he could honestly say that he not only sought to do God’s will but also that it was his sincere hearts desire to see God’s will accomplished, regardless of what it was.
So here is the third principle for a worry free life. We can experience a life free of worry by:
Surrendering Our Attitude To Desire Only God’s Will!
What I mean by that statement is that when we get our hearts to desire that which God desires; that we want what God actually wants; that we have no desires of our own but only to do the will of God then we can be freed from worry.
Jesus, after talking to the sinful woman at the well described his desire to do the will of God in the following manner,
“Jesus said to them, ‘my food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34 (NIV)
In other words, Jesus was so desirous to do the will of His Father that it was being hungry and thirsty. It was only through complete obedience that Jesus was able to satisfy that desire.
Think about a time when you were so hungry or thirsty! How did you feel? Wasn’t getting something to eat and something to drink an all consuming desire and thought for you? Of course it was!
THAT’S HOW WE ARE TO DESIRE DOING THE WILL OF GOD!
Nothing else will satisfy. Satisfaction only comes when we obey!
There’s an old gospel hymn that perfectly describes this principle of conforming our attitude and desire to match that of Christ’s.
WHEREVER HE LEADS I’LL GO
Wherever He leads I’ll go,
Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so,
Wherever He leads I’ll go.
He drew me closer to His side,
I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide,
Wherever He leads I’ll go.
My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Christ who loves me so;
He is my Master, Lord, and King,
Wherever He leads Ill go.
A true worry free life comes when we 1). Abide in God’s will; 2). Surrender our heart, our life and our all to Christ regardless of where He leads us.
In order to experience the worry free life we must be willing to exchange our will to that of God’s will.