“One of my most common excuses for not being more loving and helpful is my circumstances. When you are weighed down with difficulties, what is the first thing you want to do? You don’t want to do anything. You want others to do things for you. You want to be served, not serve. Again, I only have to look back as far as yesterday for examples. When my children press in on me the second they arrive from school, I am suddenly reminded of all my responsibilities. Don’t they understand I have a job with many things to think about? Why do they insist that I help them with their homework immediately? Don’t they see I have more important things to be concerned about than their assignments? These are the thoughts that race through my mind. Soon I feel convicted about my impatience and try to rationalize it. I would be more patient if I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills and getting my work done. I would be a kinder, gentler father if they would be less aggressive and more obedient and respectful. In other words, if my circumstances were easier, I would be a better servant. If I could take care of my cares, I would be more caring. In fact, my children just got home from school as I was writing this, and I was tempted to get irritable— again! When we encounter Jesus in John 13, his circumstances are horrible. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to die on the cross for self-centered sinners. He knew that the wrath of a just and holy God would soon fall on him. The just punishment for all his people’s sins would crush him in just a few days. Yet what does he do? He serves.” -Tim Lane and Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
“When we serve one another, we carry one another’s burdens in practical ways. We get our hands dirty as we come alongside people and pay attention to the details of their lives. If our professed commitment to Jesus does not lead us to resemble him in our actions, then we are mocking him and not representing him accurately to the world. When you think about your relationships, how many of them ultimately revolve around making sure your concerns are heard and your self-defined “needs” are met?” -Tim Lane and Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
“Words can be powerful or they can be cheap. What makes words powerful is the action that flows from them. Theology also can be powerful or cheap. What makes right thinking about God powerful is the life that emerges daily from that theology.” Tim Lane and Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
Tim Lane (in Living without Worry) offers the below explanation of how worry grows in us and what it does to us as it grows. This is in the context of him also showing the help that God gives, as he exposits Acts 18:9-11 and Paul’s struggles in Corinth (passages from Acts 18:9-11 in parentheses).
Phase 1: Worry and Fear— God gets smaller and other people and your situation begin to overwhelm you. Do not be afraid!
Phase 2: Paralysis— You start shutting down and getting silent. You feel helpless and things feel out of control. Keep on speaking; do not be silent!
Phase 3: Isolation— You start feeling as if you are all alone. You feel abandoned. God is remote and people have deserted you. For I am with you!
Phase 4: Paranoia— Other people are scary. They are out to get you. They are not safe. No one is going to attack and harm you!
Phase 5: Hopelessness— Nothing you do matters. Why bother? Why not just give up? I have many people in this city!
“The word that best captures what this looks like in the Christian life is meditation. This word can be confusing, because of the way in which the term is often used. In Eastern religious traditions, meditation is a form of emptying your mind and uttering a “mantra” repeatedly as you seek to connect with the impersonal other. For the Christian, meditation is completely different. Christian meditation involves filling the mind with truth from the Bible and using that as a basis upon which to talk to our personal God. Truth is important; but it is a means to an end, and that end is relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” -Tim Lane, Living without Worry: How to replace anxiety with peace
“The devil is called ‘the accuser of our brothers and sisters’ (Revelation 12 v 10). ‘Accuser’ is legal language. Satan brings a case against you and says that you don’t really find favor in God’s eyes, because of who you are and what you have done. He is a guilt-producing prosecutor.” -Tim Lane, Living without Worry: How to replace anxiety with peace
“It is no accident that just before Jesus’ teaching on worry in the Gospel of Matthew he talks about storing up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6 v 19-24). And Luke places the parable of the rich fool who stored up treasures on earth but was “not rich toward God,” just before his account of Jesus’ teaching about worry (Luke 12 v 13-21). What you worry about is a good indicator to what you truly value and rely upon.” -Tim Lane, Living without Worry: How to replace anxiety with peace