anxiety, fear, hope, love, praise, renewed mind, Sermon on the Mount, spiritual armor, victory, worry
Fear, anxiety, and worry are normal challenges in our daily lives. They are part of our fallen nature and grow in the cursed ground watered with the sweat of Adam’s toil and the blood of Abel’s murder. Like all crops, they have a daily growth and a seasonal yield. Come harvest time, they feed us with dysfunction, distress, and disease; but only if we let them. If we pull the weeds out of our garden, life won’t be a bitter salad.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. KJV
Much of our frustration in life—our fears, anxieties, and worries—roots itself in our continual attempts to live outside the boundary of the day in an unhealthy way. Jesus wasn’t preaching against proper planning in the Sermon on the Mount. He was talking about worrisome thoughts and anxious care. Each day has enough evil, Jesus said, no need to add to it tomorrow’s worries.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. KJV
We need to wisely make the most of our present opportunities precisely because we live in evil days. Lord Jesus and His apostle Paul present to us the seed and weed of daily evil. The evil in Matthew 6:34 is in the Greek kakia and in Ephesians 5:16 it is poneria. The former means “an evil habit of the mind,” and the latter “the active outcome of the same.” Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds. Each comes in sufficient measure that must be met in daily battle.
10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. KJV
The enemy assaults us daily with the temptation of doubt. The rent is due and you have no money, where is your God now? You lost your job, where is God your provider? You’re sick, where is God your healer? Your friend died in a car crash, where is God your deliverer?
The psalmist counters this attack through and intentional focus of his spirit toward renewed thoughts. “What are you doing down and distressed, Mr. Soul?” he says, “Hope in God! I will still praise Him. He is the health of my countenance and my God.” This is worship in spirit and in truth. When the enemy attacks us with adversity, doubt, and fear we press back with our spirit because we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. We intentionally challenge our souls to look beyond present circumstances to the presence of God and the hope of His promise.
1 Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
2 Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. KJV
The Hebrew word translated “swallow me up” in the verses above is sha’aph, which means “to gasp, to pant after, to thirst for one’s blood.” David’s prayer to God acknowledges the same reality as Peter’s warning to those sprinkled with the blood of Jesus and sanctified through the Spirit.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: KJV
Daily warfare requires sober vigilance. If our relationship with God is reduced to a weekly meeting, we can’t expect to stand against the day-to-day malevolent stalking of the devil. Jesus said that what fills our hearts spills out of our mouths. What is our confession? Do we complain of all the ways the devil derailed our days or do we fill our mouths with praise?
Psalm 56:3-4, 9-11
3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
9 When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
10 In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word.
11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. KJV
Defense is necessary in war, but offense wins the day. We cannot afford to be passive in our struggle against a predatory enemy. When he attacks, we need to remind ourselves of the Lord’s victory.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ESV
The Holy Spirit had Paul record God’s answer to the psalmist’s cry. Christ has won and bound us to Him forever in love. We are superconquerors because He cannot be defeated. He is love and love never fails. The truth of His love is the foundation of our armor against the evil day.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ESV
What Paul described as “the whole armor of God” to the Ephesian church he called “the armor of light” when writing to the Romans. To stand in the evil day, we must be clothed with Christ and walk daily in love.
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. KJV
When we starve out the lusts of the flesh and walk in love toward our neighbors, we receive the grace needed to meet the challenges of the day.
 The word in the Greek text is merimnao, Strong’s # NT:3309. It means “to be anxious about” or to have “anxious care.”
 The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, s.v. “2549. kakia.”
 Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, s.v. “sha’aph.”
 Matt. 12:34.
 Ps. 44:22-23.
It’s all good news when you’re on the same team with they one who owns “the cattle on 1000 hills.”