I can’t remember Greg confronting most of my sin earlier in our marriage. But one thing I do remember him saying fairly often was, “You worry too much.”
I knew that was true and I couldn’t argue with his observation. But in my mind at the time, worry meant that I cared about something or someone.
Telling me, “April, don’t worry,” was no help. I didn’t have any other way to think. I had no idea that I was worrying because (in my case) I wasn’t really trusting God and didn’t grasp His sovereignty. I thought I did trust God. I said I trusted Him. I convinced myself I trusted Him. I did acknowledge Him with my mind and words but I did not fully trust Him with my heart.
In my understanding at the time, the only way I could think of to not worry was “to not care.” I certainly couldn’t do that! So I continued on in my worry, fear, and anxiety. Such a miserable way to live! But God, in His great love and mercy, did not leave me in that prison of the enemy! How I thank and praise Him for waking me up in December of 2008!
April in 2003
We must all guard against worry and fear each day. I know I will always need to! That is why it is so important to take my thoughts captive for Christ and to shoot down ungodly or unscriptural thoughts. Even then, sometimes I have blind spots. I’m thankful for my accountability partners who are willing to lovingly let me know if they see me begin to slip into fear/worry so I can repent and refocus on trusting God – like they did for me just this past month.
If we are not careful we can create a belief system where we give SELF and human will more power than God and His sovereignty. A minister I deeply respect at our church recently said that this kind of theology can create a “spirit of independence” from God in the people who hear it. That is what I had.
I believed that people and situations depended greatly on me and my powers and that God was rather small and wimpy.
It is also possible to give God’s sovereignty too much emphasis over human free-will. This can be taken to the point where we believe that people become robots with no real choices or accountability. When people go to extremes with this idea, they may adopt a fatalistic approach and decide it “doesn’t matter” what we do as people, because God is ultimately deciding outcomes without any input from us When we focus only on God’s sovereignty and negate the concept that God has given us a choice to obey Him or not is destructive and unbiblical as well.
The reality of what Scripture describes is somewhere in between – and is a bit of a mystery to our finite minds. God is totally sovereign AND we have free will. There is no conflict!
Scripture presents both of these concepts as being true. That is often how God works – in His wisdom – He puts things in a delicate balance. Love and justice. Grace and wrath. Omnipotence and gentleness. Healing and Suffering. Mercy and Holiness. Generosity and discipline. When we lack balance in our understanding too far one way or the other, we end up with a warped view of God and ourselves.
- We are responsible for our own choices, obedience, and sin. All adults have God-given free will to make their own decisions. I can influence people, but then I must trust God to work in their lives and allow the person to make his/her own decisions.
- God is sovereign ultimately over all things in ways that I will never fully grasp while I am on this earth.
There is freedom and peace in understanding where our responsibility ends. I will answer to Him alone. Other people will also answer to God ultimately. God will handle people and situations. He took that heavy load of the world off of my shoulders.
- I think of myself laying my burdens down at the feet of God in the throne room of heaven in prayer. Then I don’t carry the spiritual and emotional weight anymore.
- I love to turn on praise music and sing at the top of my lungs. It is truly impossible to worry and praise God at the same time!
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18