What have you been fretting about lately? Notice I didn’t ask if you were fretting, because it is in the DNA of our sinful nature to fret! Yet Scripture clearly instructs that this is not for you:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
When God says something we should listen carefully; when He repeats Himself, we should listen very carefully! God tells us twice in the passage above not to fret, because He knows that fretting and faithfulness are like oil and water—they don’t mix well. In fact, as you’ve just seen, the Word of God states that fretting leads only to evil. When was the last time you fretted over the success of someone other than yourself? When was the last time you fretted over the “gain” received by evildoers? When we do things like this we work ourselves up, tear others down, and exchange faithfulness for fretting.
God tells us not to fret, because He is in control of all things. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29). The sovereignty of God is a great comfort for the Christian, because we can be completely sure that what He has planned, He will bring about; in the end all that is crooked will be made straight—and that includes you and me! Keeping our eyes on the truths of the Gospel is what will take us from fretting to faithfulness. If we forget this we fret, and in our fretting we try to take control and make things right . . . which generally turns out all wrong!
Listen, we can fret over the economy or we can be faithful to the One who has the government upon His shoulders. We can fret over the terrorism throughout the world, or we can be faithful to the One who will make every knee bow before Him. There is so much God is calling us to do to expand the cause of His kingdom! That’s why it is evil for us to be filling our hours with fretting. Scripture commands us to “Be still, and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10). We are to be still and fret not, and He has given us every reason to do just that. It’s only when we forget these reasons—the truths of the Gospel—that we allow fretting to replace stillness and faithfulness.
Only the Gospel can take our eyes off the stuff of this world and keep them fixed on our Savior. We must continually remind ourselves that the day is coming when there will be no more pain, sorrow, tears, death, brokenness, sin, injustice, poverty, evildoers, and the fretting that springs out of this mess. Gospel truths are the keys that unlock the doors to lead us past our fretting and turn it into faithfulness.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!