My heart goes out to people who get overcome by worry. It’s a temptation we all face. It used to be a way of life for me ’till I was renewed spiritually and deepened by trust in God’s Word.
As a psychologist, I help people with worry in therapy. I also provide spiritual care and mentoring for groups of people in homes, churches, and retreat centers. For instance, last night I was blessed to lead a group of friends in a time of Lectio Divina (an ancient way of praying Scripture) on Jesus’ beautiful words Matthew 6:25-34: “Do not worry… Look at the birds… See how the lilies grow… Seek first the kingdom of God…” Everyone drew closer to Jesus. Each person shared their heart with the Lord and their friends and each heard Jesus’ words of peace applied to their personal life.
God Will Clothe You
I’d like to give you a taste of our “Intimacy with Jesus” group by sharing my experience. For the first reading of the Bible passage, the phrase that God drew my attention to was, “He will clothe you.” After the second reading, I prayed in silence and then with a cluster of friends concerning my temptation to worry about the sermon I’ll be giving this Sunday, my first at Voyagers’ Bible Church, our new home church.
Our third and final reading of the Bible passage was focused on listening for a personal invitation from the Lord. We listened in silence and then each of us shared in our cluster a prayer of thanks for what we sensed God was saying to us. Here’s how I heard the Lord speak to my heart:
Do not worry. As you preach concern yourself with one thing: me in the midst of the congregation. I am present. I am Fathering the people as you speak. Just as I care for the birds so I care for my people. Trust me as the one who is sowing and reaping, the one who stores away treasure in the heavens. Then for you and the congregation, your sowing and reaping will be an easy yoke and you’ll enjoy a treasure store in my kingdom.
I am growing the flowers as you speak, clothing them in my sunshine. I am the one who clothes you. Be clothed in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Be clothed in the words of Jesus — embody them. I will speak through you, not just your words, but your spirit clothed in my Spirit. I will glorify Jesus through you and he will minister peace to the congregation.
Just as I sing over the birds and they sing back to me so it is with my people. Imagine yourself preaching in a field of wildflowers with the sun shining and birds singing. Imagine yourself standing with Jesus in the kingdom of the heavens and all eyes are on him. Make this your prayer, then you and the congregation will be at peace as the sunshine and music of my glory spreads in them and through them to the people they touch in their daily lives.
Feed off the Fruit of My Meditation
What challenge are you facing in your life? What stress is troubling you? Re-read my invitation from Jesus, receiving it for you in your situation. The ancient masters of devotion to Jesus call this “Feeding off the fruit of another’s meditation”…
More Soul Shepherding
The best way to hear God speak into your own life is to take the time to do your own meditation on Scripture. I invite you to listen to God speak from Matthew 6:25-34.
My article on Lectio Divina introduces the history, Biblical background, rhythms, and steps to practice of this ancient discipline.
If you live in Southern California I invite you to come to one of our Upcoming Events, including this Sunday when I preach on “Be God’s Wildflower — Be Worry Free!” Or perhaps we can do an event for you and your friends at your home or church.