"The Answer is Next to the Problem"
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap." Luke 21:34 (NIV)
Some Christians face a crisis in their life and then attempt to "evoke" our Lord to bail them out. I don't believe that is how God typically works. I believe He wants us to develop trust in Him and prevent the major spiritual problems by tending to our spiritual needs along the way. God is not a "crisis intervention" tool that we can pull out of the hat at any moment and expect results. Yes, He can answer prayer in any and every way He chooses. I know better than to attempt to limit God! However, I believe the better answer is in developing a day to day relationship with Jesus and then we find strength during the bad days.
We know the direction to lean. This passage tells us to "be careful." This implies that danger lies ahead. It also implies that the path may have some deception, trials, problems, potholes and any number of other persons, places and things that might trip us up from our devotion to God. I believe the devil or his agents can attempt to trap a Christian and we have to be able to recognize these traps and "be careful" so that we learn to lean upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Crossing a busy highway on foot certainly requires more attention to our steps than a walk to our backyard! And let me assure you that walking the Christian path is sometimes difficult and always lined with danger. However, we are not stuck alone on that busy and dangerous road. Can you remember the fear you had as a small child crossing a busy intersection? The comfort from holding your Mother's hand made it so much better. Likewise, lets reach out and accept Jesus' extended hand.
Next we find in Jesus' Words that we can become "weighed down" with worries and problems. Have you tried to walk while carrying a few hundred pounds of extra gear? It bogs us down and makes every step difficult. That is the picture Jesus draws in this passage. Worry, worry and more worry is what the world is about in the eyes of some people. I know Christian men and women that seem to have forgotten their strength must come from above. Jesus is saying, "Let it go." Jesus wants to take the burden from each and every one of us. Jesus wants us to lean upon His chest and find rest. So, Jesus is here teaching, we must indeed be careful but when we discover the hard road (as we all will at different points in our life) but don't try and face it alone!
Jesus further illustrates His point by equating these burdens to a "trap." A trap is when something unexpectedly captures us. Being self- absorbed into the issues of this world is indeed a trap. It is a trap of the devil. It takes our eyes from the solution, which is Jesus Christ. Jesus is referring to the Day of Judgment. In the next verse Jesus clearly ordains that this day will happen to everyone on the face of the earth. I don't know about you my friend, but I don't want to enter that day unprepared. I don't want to stand before our Lord and try and explain why I failed to lean upon Him for strength. I don't want to given an account for refusing to develop a relationship when it is so freely offered to every human being. Rather, I look forward to hearing from my friend, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
Don't hear me saying that I am perfect. I am far from perfect. However, I do know first hand the living of problems and situations. I know first hand the failure associated with trying to find the answers outside of our Lord. I do know also the joy of leaning upon Jesus in the midst of problems. You see, I have walked a few miles weighed down with anxieties and I never found relief in this world. I tried different things for relief and every one of them ultimately failed.
When we get fully tired of depending on the wisdom and weak "fixes" of mankind and admit defeat it is then that we win. It is then that we are ready to let our Lord handle the situation. Oh yes, we have some work to do but let Jesus have the burden of worry and anxiety. Let Jesus be the Director of your life.
I want to look forward to tomorrow. I don't want to face each day with uncertainty and doubt. I want to enjoy the moment. And with Jesus by our side we can have richness untold. We face this life with a calling from above and a peace that non-Christians cannot begin to understand. Let Jesus have your worries. Let Jesus direct your path. May God continue to bless your study of His Word.
By Gary Stone
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