Friday - July 31st Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 37:1-9
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:13-20
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong.
The dictionary's definition of "fret" is "to be visibly agitated with worry." Anxiety over the evil in our world can, at times, be overwhelming. If you watch the evening news, follow breaking news on Twitter, or glance at your favorite news site, you will discover lots of evil, selfish, unkind things being done. If you follow the news more than once or twice a day, you can be plunged deep into a funk. The reports of political tensions, riots, COVID-19 deaths, crime, and violence can leave us visibly shaken by the evil and brokenness in our world.
Throughout the Psalms, we come across the little two-word command of seven letters: FRET NOT! Don't worry! In Psalm 37, the emphasis is on not letting ourselves get visibly agitated by evil and those who carry it out. That is a lot more easily said than done. Violence, injustice, arrogance, and immorality should disturb us. We should never become comfortable with evil in any form. Fretting, however, involves a constant mulling over the wickedness, getting more agitated that it exists, and letting the concern over the evil control us.
When worry takes over, we begin to see the world through a damaged lens. When anxiety takes over, we hate the people committing the evil more than we hate the wickedness itself. Being constantly consumed with worry over the sin and darkness of this world will eventually paralyze anyone. A person will even fear their own shadow.
As God's children, we can have peace and contentment without getting comfortable with all of the evil. Before we can embrace that peace that the New Testament says comes from God and is beyond all human understanding, we have to stop fretting. We have to rest our faith in God. We have to trust that He can sovereignly constrain evildoers now and, ultimately, will judge them one day.
"Do not fret because of those who are evil" (Psalm 37:1). A few verses later, in verse 3, we are admonished to "Trust the Lord and do good!" The promise with which the verse concludes is that as we trust God and do good things, we are given safety. The safety is found in the Lord Himself.
Maybe the news has saddened or frustrated you lately. FRET NOT! Let God handle what you cannot. Let God be God.
If you tend to be anxious and worried about what is taking place in our nation and world, write the words "Fret Not!" on three or four post-its. Place the "Fret Not!" post-its somewhere that you will see them throughout your day. You could place them next to your computer screen, on your mirror, on the refrigerator, or anywhere you look often.
This weekend my sermon will explore the three times Jesus said, "Do not worry," in Matthew 6:25-34. He gives some great reasons why we do not need to fret or worry. Check it out!
Fret not! God will take care of evil and those who carry it out. Don't get overwhelmed with worry!