Eph 6:21-24, The Encouragement.
In Eph 6:23, Paul desires that we have the Peace of God in our lives. This week, we will see that there are several hindrances to your inner peace, mostly stemming from a negative mental attitude. Just as righteousness and truth are the noble companions of peace, so sin and falsehood are its great hindrances.
Jeremiah said in Jer 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jesus said in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Therefore, knowing that our Adamic nature, (the Flesh, Old Self, Old Sin Nature) can produce such vileness within our souls, it is imperative that we counter it with the holiness and righteousness of God. Experientially, this is only accomplished through the intake and application of God’s Word through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. When we have God’s Word and Spirit working within our souls, we now have the ability to recognize and avert the sickly deceitfulness of our human heart.
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
God tells us that there are three evil masters that can sap the peace and joy out of our lives. The three hindrances are: worry, anxiety, and striving.
Our Lord said in Luke 12:22, 29, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.” …29And do not seek (strive for) what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.”
Here, we see the three main enemies of peace within your soul in the following order, “worry, seeking / striving, and anxiety.”
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between “worry” and “anxiety,” and we typically view them as one and the same. Yet, there is a difference we can know and understand, so that we can defeat them.
“Anxious” is the verb MERIMNAO, μεριμνάω that means, “be anxious, care for, or be concerned about.” It means, “to be apprehensive, have anxiety, be anxious, be (unduly) concerned.” It is used for the unduly concern, or the unnecessary anxiety experienced, over daily needs such as food and clothing in Luke 12:25-26. It is also used in Luke 12:11.
“Anxiety” is an uneasy feeling called apprehension or distress, a feeling of danger, doom, or misfortune you might have about present or future events. It can also be an intense fear of dread lacking a definite cause or a specific threat. It can be induced by perceived danger or threat when you consider your present situation or a future event. It is nervousness or agitation, often about something that is going to happen. It can also be a strong desire to do something, especially if the desire is unnecessarily or unhealthily strong.
“Worry” is the verb METEORIZOMAI, μετεωρίζομαι, a cognate of MERIMNAO that means, “worried, troubled, unsettled, be in suspense, or even anxious.” It is only used here in scripture. In classical Greek and in the papyri METEORIZOMAI meant, “to raise on high, to exalt, or to suspend.” It implies the suspending of an object or even a person in midair. It emphasized the mental attitude placed on a thing.
Figuratively, it is used in two ways:
1) “To raise up someone by hope, to lift up oneself, to be proud or arrogant.”
2) “To doubt, worry, be unsettled, tense, anxious, or to be suspended between fear and hope.”
The context in our passage indicates the second meaning of “being doubtful or worried.”
“Worry” is the mental part of anxiety. Worry has to do with anxious thoughts. It is the constant machination of something that goes unresolved in your thinking, leading to fear and causing anxiety. It is a distressing and painful state of mind involving undue concern over something in life. It always envisions the worst, and so becomes apprehension or anticipation of danger, misfortune or trouble, or uncertainty. It is also a state of restlessness and agitation, producing mental disturbance, uneasiness, anxiety, and painful uncertainty.
Worry is a destroyer of the soul. If unchecked, it results in mental illness, because it is a satanic device to lead the believer into reversionism and even the sin unto death, Ezek 4:15-17; cf. 1 Peter 5:5-9. It is a mental attitude sin which is self-induced misery, and therefore soulish torture regarding anything in life.
I once read an interesting allegory about worry that goes as follows: Death was walking toward a city one morning and a man asked, “What are you going to do?” “I’m going to take 100 people,” Death replied. “That’s horrible!” the man said. “That’s the way it is.” Death said. “That’s what I do.” Then the man hurried to warn everyone he could about Death’s plan. As evening fell, he met Death again.
“You told me you were going to take 100 people,” the man said. “Why did 1,000 die?” “I kept my word,” Death responded. “I only took 100 people. WORRY took the others.”
Therefore, “anxiety” can be viewed as the emotional response to a situation, while “worry” is related to the thoughts about life or an area of concern. Worry causes anxiety. Most people would say, “regardless of how you explain it, it feels the same and has the same impact on my life.” That may be true, but we must see the slight differences between them so that we can overcome them. That is why Jesus said regarding both, “do not do it…” using the Present, Active, Imperative, as He also did with the third enemy to our peace.
“Striving.” Here we see the third enemy of our peace, which is “seeking or striving.” Here we have the Greek verb ZETEO, ζητέω that means, “seek, look for, wish for, desire, inquire into or about.” It was a technical term for philosophical investigation; something “examined, considered, or deliberated.” In our passage, it is used in the negative sense of trying to solve your own problems.
It is to diligently, earnestly, and tenaciously search after something, sparing no effort or expense. This is what some Bible translators, such as Holman Bible Publishers, call “striving for.”
Luke 12:29 (HCSB), “Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink…”
If anxiety is the emotional response and worry is the mental activity, striving is the action taken. Striving is what you do to solve the problem on your own. It is taking matters into your own hands. It is not trusting or relying on God and moving into inappropriate action to get the results you desire. It is “seeking” for something in the negative sense.
These three evil masters noted in Luke 12:22, 29 are paralleled in Mat 6:25-34. In these verses, Jesus is talking about food and clothing, not cars and yachts and recreational apparel. He is talking about the basic needs of life, and if you do not have them or fear losing them, it would seem to be a reason to be anxious, worry, and strive for. Yet, in these and other passages, our Lord tells us not to worry, have anxiety, nor strive for even the most basic necessities of life, as He is a loving and caring God who can provide all these things and more.
Mat 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid (PHOBEO), little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
1 Cor 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
And as we know, it is sin that causes us to have distress, worry, and anxiety, Psa 38:18, “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”
Moreover, your anxiety will not change a thing, e.g., Luke 12:25, “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?”
Our priorities and focus are not to be dictated by the world around us or what others do. Even in the midst of the most basic, fundamental needs of our life, Jesus says, do not strive, do not get worked up on how you are going to bring them into your life. Instead, “trust Me.” The God who cares for the grass that grows in the fields and the birds of the air says that He cares for each of us more than they.
Luke 12:24-28, “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!”
And Jesus said, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
If Jesus left His peace for us, why aren’t we taking it? People react emotionally and allow their pride to steal their peace with God and with others. When we believe Satan’s lies; when we worry and fail to trust God’s love, we block the peace and joy that is available to us.
Prov 12:20, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy (inner happiness).”
Emotions can be a believer’s worst enemy. We must recognize Satan’s lies and identify feelings that are not in line with God’s Word. Worry is, and always will be, a fatal disease of the heart, for its beginning signals the end of faith. Worry intrudes on God’s compassionate ability to provide. When we allow our problems to overshadow God’s promises, we unknowingly, doom ourselves to a defeat that was never part of God’s eternal plans.
The Lord has a plan to provide peace in the pressure of life. If we do not learn to trust Him, we will not go any farther on our journey with Him.
Psa 4:8, “In peace (shalom) I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”
Psa 29:11, “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.”
Psa 55:18, “He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me.”
Psa 119:165, “Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”
Heb 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
In real life, when we walk in faith, God intercepts the problems and interjects wonderful vertical truths to guide us through our lives, especially regarding worry. As His disciples, we must operate our lives in the power of His Word and the energy of the Spirit, and not in the energy of the flesh.
Many times, life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. The scriptures provide us with the backwards view of life while we are living it in a forward mode.
“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward (vertical view point) to what lies ahead,” Phil 3:13. Live life with a vertical mind. Keep thinking the things above, Col 3:1-2.
When, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been faithful in the reception, retention, and recall of Bible doctrine and have advanced to spiritual maturity; you are not only a strong person, but you have great inner happiness. You then take the peace of God with you wherever you go. It is not dependent on environment, associations, or circumstances of prosperity or adversity. It is a part of God’s grace plan for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. True peace and happiness is a system of thought in the soul, not association with stimulation or pleasure, Prov 3:13-18; Rom 5:1-5.
Prov 3:13, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”
Rom 5:1-5, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Therefore, do not worry, do not strive, do not be anxious, but trust the Lord who knows your need, seek His kingdom, focus on the eternal and follow God’s plan for your life, your finances, your relationships, etc., and your future.
We must release the regrets of yesterday, refuse the fears of tomorrow, and receive instead, the peace of today. Simply let go and let God be God. To do so we trust, we maintain a focus on the eternal, and we do what the scripture tells us to do, just as Paul did and tells us to do as well, Phil 4:6-9.
Phil 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Determine how you will handle things that come your way. Believe that God loves you unconditionally and trust Him for direction. Measure everything by His Word instead of feelings. His peace will come when you believe Him more than lies and emotions.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-085 – 18-086
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!