Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The Cure For A Fretful Spirit
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PSALM 37 admonishes us to beware of irritation in our religious lives:
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
The word "fret" comes to us from the Anglo-Saxon and carries with it
such a variety of meanings as bring a rather pained smile to our faces.
Notice how they expose us and locate us behind our disguises.
primary meaning of the word is to eat, and from there it has been
extended with rare honesty to cover most of the manifestations of an
irritable disposition. "To eat away; to gnaw; to chafe; to gall; to vex;
to worry; to agitate; to wear away"; so says Webster.
And all who have
felt the exhausting, corrosive effects of fretfulness know how
accurately the description fits the facts.
Now, the grace of God in the human heart works to calm the agitation
that normally accompanies life in such a world as ours. The Holy Spirit
acts as a lubricant to reduce the friction to a minimum and to stop the
fretting and chafing in their grosser phases.
But for most of us the
problem is not as simple as that.Fretfulness may be trimmed down to the ground and its roots remain
alive deep within the soul, there growing and extending themselves all
unsuspected, sending up their old poisonous shoots under other names and
It was not to the unregenerate that the words "Fret not" were spoken,
but to God-fearing persons capable of understanding spiritual things.
We Christians need to watch and pray lest we fall into this temptation
and spoil our Christian testimony by an irritable spirit under the
stress and strain of life.
It requires great care and a true knowledge of ourselves to
distinguish a spiritual burden from religious irritation.
We dare not
rest at ease in Zion when the church is so desperately in need of
spiritually sensitive men and women who can see her faults and try to
call her back to the path of righteousness.
The prophets and apostles of
Bible times carried in their hearts such crushing burdens for God's
wayward people that they could say, Tears have been my meat day and
night, and Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain. of
tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain daughter of my
These men were heavy with a true burden. What they felt was not
vexation but acute concern for the honor of God and the souls of men.
By nature some persons fret easily. They have difficulty separating
their personal antipathies from the burden of the Spirit. When they are
grieved they can hardly say whether it is a pure and charitable thing or
merely irritation set up by other Christians having opinions different
from their own.
Of one thing we may be sure, we can never escape the external stimuli
that cause vexation. The world is full of them and though we were to
retreat to a cave and live the remainder of our days alone we still
could not lose them. The rough floor of our cave would chafe us, the
weather would irritate us and the very silence would cause us to fret.
Deliverance from a fretting spirit may be by blood and fire, by
humility, self-abnegation and a patient carrying of the cross. There
will always be "evildoers" and "workers of iniquity," and for the most
part they will appear to succeed while the forces of righteousness will
seem to fail.
The wicked will always have the money and the talent and
the publicity and the numbers, while the righteous will be few and poor
The prayerless Christian will surely misread the signs and
fret against the circumstances. That is what the Spirit warns us
Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look
down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him.
Though the wicked spread himself like "a green bay tree" it is only for
a moment. Soon he passes away and is not."
But the salvation of the
righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.