Tag Archives: worry

Martin Luther on Tribulation

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Those speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such as offend them or to tribulation. Tribulation does not make people impatient, but proves that they are impatient. So everyone may learn from tribulation how his heart is constituted.

Martin Luther

I’m going off theme here, because I found this quote and I really like it.  These days we might be inclined to substitute “stress” for tribulation.  How do you behave under stress?  If you become angry or impatient, doesn’t that mean the person you’re really angry with is God?  Doesn’t it show a lack of obedience and submission to His will? Isn’t it sin?  Our sin, not somebody else’s?

My problem with stress is different.  I’m likely to worry, fret and sometimes become so overwhelmed I have trouble making a decision or moving forward at all.  This is sin also, just a different kind.  It’s boils down to lack of trust in God’s goodness.

Maybe you’re reaction is different from either of these.  You may have a different sinful stress behavior, or you may be mature enough to let go and let God in times of suffering.  For most of us, it’s something with which we have trouble, something we need to work on. We will experience trouble and tribulation.  The Bible tells us that is certain. We can grow through these times, or we can keep repeating the behaviors that get us nowhere.  Behavior that hurts others and hurts us.  Luther’s right.  Our reactions are our own and we need to take responsibility for them, and learn to do better.  They reveal where we are spiritually.  Next time you’re stressed, take a look in the mirror.  Do you like what you see?

 

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Let’s Get Personal

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I believe that once we become a Christian, and start trying to follow God’s will, He will gradually change us into the person He created us to be (in Lutheran speak, that’s sanctification).  That doesn’t mean our whole personality will do an about face.  It doesn’t mean we’ll be transformed into saints.  It does mean we’ll be more like Jesus, and more gifted, more joyful, more full of life, more peaceful with ourselves and others.

In my own case, the biggest thing God frees me from (I say frees because it still has to happen daily) is fear.  If I were asked to choose one word to describe myself, especially years ago, it would be shy, maybe even timid.  Social situations were not pleasant, but stressful.  I was afraid people wouldn’t like me, that they would discover what a fraud I was, or that I would make a stupid mistake.  Of course, that kept me from trying all kinds of things or taking risks of any kind … who knew what might happen?  It’s not a great way to live.

Becoming a serious Christian helped me to move outside of my comfort zone.  I’m still a quiet introvert (nothing wrong with that, it’s how God made me!) but I have taught Sunday School (children and adults), led workshops and retreats, given talks to groups, organized committees and more. I can use the gifts God gave me in my own way.  I’m not tooting my own horn, just telling you what God can do, because I would NEVER, EVER have done those things without Him.

Am I still afraid?  All the time.  My husband says if there isn’t something to worry about, I’ll invent it.  However, I don’t have to let my anxiety control me. I can step out in faith and take a risk.  A friend of mine once said, “there’s no better place to try something new than at church.  If you fail, they’ll still love you.”  That’s what’s so freeing about being a Christian — you know that no matter what happens, you can never lose the love and Christ.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”  1 Timothy 1:7

What has God freed you from?  We want to hear from you.

 

 

Just Pray

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“Pray and let God worry.”

Martin Luther

I admit it, I’m a worrier.  I fret about things and imagine the worst case scenario.  It’s become a joke with my children:  they call my side of the family “the happy Kaufmans” because we all have a hard time relaxing and having fun (and though my daughters make fun of us, they admit that deep down, they are happy Kaufmans, too). We’re constantly expecting something to go wrong.  This negative mindset(which boils down to a lack of trust in God) seems built into us, and I suspect it’s just part of our sinful nature.  We’re all inclined to sin in particular ways:  it may be genetic (I suspect it is in my case) or it may be learned.  It really doesn’t matter how it got there, the point is it persists and if it isn’t dealt with, it can drive a wedge between us and God.

There’s a remedy for my sin, and it will work for yours, too.  You can probably guess what it is: PRAYER.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

If we focus on Jesus instead of our problem (whatever that may be) our minds will be renewed.  We will have peace instead of turmoil;  trust instead of anxiety;  gratitude instead of anger.  Wouldn’t life be so much better if we all would just pray?