Don’t Lose Control

Psalm 37:1-2 ESV

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.”

We are not to worry or to be extremely agitated or anxious of spirit because of evildoers and their evil plots against us. We are not to let their actions towards us upset us to the point to where their actions towards us ruin our moods or lead us to be depressed, or to where we begin to doubt God or to question our beliefs, or to where we fear what they might do to us.

Believe me when I tell you that those plotting evil against followers of Jesus will try every trick in their books to try to get us to fail. They want us to blow it. They want us to give up. They want us discouraged and disheartened and afraid. And, they want us doubting ourselves and our relationships with the Lord, and they want us doubting God, too.

So, we are not to fear them or their threats or their evil plots against us. And, we are not to be vindictive towards them, in return for their evil, either. We are to love our enemies, do good to them, as God defines good, and we are to pray for them and say to them what will benefit them spiritually, physically, mentally and/or emotionally, as God would do unto them.

Thus, we are to never lie to them or console them in their sin or tell them “sweet nothings” to soothe their consciences. That is not love! Love (agape) is a love that prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, honest, moral, and upright. So true love will never gloss over sin, nor will it make excuses for it nor do anything to help facilitate it, either.

True love will speak the truth in love, in hopes that the wicked will turn from their wickedness, and that they will turn to the Lord in submission and in obedience of faith, so that they may be saved from their sin, walk in purity of devotion to the Lord, and have true hope of eternal life with God.

Psalm 37:3-7 ESV

“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

“Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!”

I want to first state here that the desires of our hearts, which God will give us, are contingent upon us trusting the Lord with our lives, us doing the good that God predestined that we should walk in, us being faithful to the Lord, us keeping his word, and us delighting ourselves in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to state that, if we are doing all of that, in the strength of God’s Spirit, then God’s desires will become our desires. So, the desires he will give us will be his desires, which have now become our desires.

But… and going back to vv. 1-2, if our desire has to do with the Lord delivering us from evil people, or if it has to do with the Lord changing the hearts of those who do evil, so that they will now be followers of Jesus, we need to be patient and wait on the Lord.

And, we must commit our lives to the Lord, trusting him that he knows best. We must believe that he is fully sovereign over all things, and that all things are under his command and control. He allows evil to exist, for a time, and he will allow evil people to conquer nations and peoples and to persecute the saints of God, for a time determined by God.

And, this means that we must trust the Lord with our reputations, with what people may be plotting against us behind our backs, with any evil or even perceived evil being done to us, with any slanderous accusations against our character, or with any false judgments against our motives. For, Jesus promised us we would be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

But, one day we will be exonerated, if we are walking in the ways of the Lord and if we are being slandered as though we are not. We must trust the Lord even if we never see this in our lifetime and if we die a martyr’s death, with the world thinking we did evil in God’s sight. For, that is what happened to Jesus, right? He was killed for being a criminal, which he wasn’t.

So, we have to be willing to have the world think evil of us because we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and because we are loving others as Jesus loved us, being willing to die wrongfully, if by our deaths others will be brought to faith in Jesus Christ. Again, we must hand our reputations over to the Lord, and we must continue to walk in his ways and in his truth no matter how we are treated in return or even if we are slandered.

Psalm 37:8-11 ESV

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

“In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

I hate lies! God hates lies! And, I sometimes get angry when someone lies to me, depending upon the circumstances or the severity of the lie. You could call this righteous anger, since God gets angry, too, and since it is hating what he hates.

But I still need to control my temper. I still need to bring my emotions under the control of the Holy Spirit. Even if what I am saying is truth, and even if what I am saying is not vengeful, and even if what I am saying is intended to correct error and to silence the lies, I still must keep my emotions under control and not lose it.

I think that I (rarely) lose control of my emotions because I am fearing where that other person is going to go with those thoughts or beliefs about me or about themselves or about God. And, I must not do that. I must not let that other person have that kind of power over me. God is speaking to me about that, as I have asked him to do.

And, honestly, I am not rejoicing over the fact that evildoers will be cut off, for my hope is that they will surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, that they will cease to do evil, and that they will now live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. But I do so look forward to the day when all evil will be cut off, and when we who believe in Jesus will forever be with our Lord.

And, I do so look forward to the day when the evil one no longer attacks me and comes against me and persecutes me. I look forward to no longer being harassed at every turn by the evil one, just because I am living for Jesus and speaking his truth to the world.

But God is good! All the time!! And, he will give me everything I need to endure, to respond correctly to attacks of the enemy, and to not lose it when oppressed strongly. He will give me the grace to make it through every trial and to hold fast to my faith and to not fear what Satan might throw at me.

So, I surrender it all to Jesus, and I trust him to help me in every trial to stay the course and to remain calm even when fiercely attacked, and to keep giving it all over to Jesus, trusting in his sovereign grace through it all.

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

William Whiting

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e’er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Lose Control

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