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Devotion 28

Fret Not!

Fret not! Fret not! Fret not!

That marching order is given three times in the first eight verses of Psalm 37.

Fretting is an exercise in futility for two reasons. First, I usually worry about some thing over which I have no control, for example how much money Clinton will promise this week with all his give-a-ways to help Al Gore or insure his legacy.

Second, it's usually something that isn't any of my business like decisions only our children can make for themselves.

Verse 8 tells me that the habit of worry produces two destructive traits in me: anger and wrath.

When worry festers, my anger grows, either because of my sense of helplessness or the failure of others to respond as I think they should. And anger mushrooms into wrath. Soon I am out of fellowship with the Lord.

The result of the three-pronged assault of fretting, anger, and wrath is that I lead myself into sin — what a devastating thought!

But these verses are in the imperative mood: (you) fret not. That means that this habit is mine to control. To break this bad habit, I can:

• Trust in the Lord.

• Do good.

• Delight in the Lord.

• Commit my way to Him.

• Trust in Him.

• Rest in the Lord.

• Wait patiently for Him.

I go back to this passage over and over again because it turns me from the path of worry to one that causes my heart to sing.

For Further Consideration:

First let me quote the verses from The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson.

"Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. In no time they'll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.

Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best.

Open up before God, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done:

He'll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him.

Don't bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.

Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.

Before long the crooks will be bankrupt; God-investors will soon own the store."

And now the King James Version:

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

They shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shall be fed.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit they way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it pass.

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment like the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil."


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