How are your worry levels? It seems like there is a lot to be worried about right now. Our political systems seem confused and toxic. Boris found his ditch and Rees seems to be eating his words. I would not want to predict where this roller coaster will land and whether it will be for good or ill. But I am not worried, and neither should you be.
The bible is clear that we should not worry or be anxious or be afraid. One of the results of these three things it that we get locked into patterns and behaviours that make the worry, anxiety and fear worse.
Whatever you think of the politics at the moment, it is certainly creating some high drama and providing a feast for our media. It has also increased by 27% the applications to study politics. Brexit has exalted some people to celebrity status (or loathed status - dependant on your views). The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow has found himself at the centre of it all. The internet is now awash with clips of his efforts to bring the house to order and his flamboyant commands.
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY7EIZl4raY&feature=youtu.be
Yet the process he oversees, especially when it comes to voting is both historic and formative. If neither the ayes or noes have it then the lobby is cleared and the voting begins. The MPs file through one side or the other and cast their votes. After the tellers have announced the result the speaker confirms then he cries, UNLOCK. This is a picture of where we can be with worry, anxiety and fear. We are removed from our places, but are locked into a course of thinking that will not achieve anything and is without fruitful conclusion. We need somehow to be unlocked. This is where Bob Marley and Jesus offer similar advice but from very different perspectives. They both tell us not to worry.
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3HQMbQAWRc&feature=youtu.be
Bob’s rational is that by worrying you, “make it double” and Jesus says that worrying simply does not work. But Bob does not offer us much more that just being happy as an alternative (maybe with a little help). Where as Jesus refocuses us on “seeking first the kingdom of God”. He invites us to raise our eyes and our outlook to see things from the perspective of heaven and to participate in its coming on earth.
”Don’t worry” is an easy thing to say, but it is not an easy thing to do.
So here are five things to help us
Seek First the Kingdom of God
“Seek first his kingdom” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
The kingdom of God goes beyond geography and political boundaries. We are part of something much, much bigger. The foundations of which are not about values, philosophies or ideas, but about the person of Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. To seek his kingdom is to seek his rule in everything. This will continue to be possible whatever the outcome of Brexit.
See the long view
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 (NIV)
We tend to think from the perspective that we can see. What is currently happening is confusing and polarising. However things play out we will have to see the healing and reconciliation of everyone who lives and works in this nation. The kingdom that we are seeking is not synonymous with current political boundaries that have shifted many times of the last 2000 years. Having a kingdom of God mindset helps us see the long view.
Seek the welfare of the city
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7
We are to play are part in the cities and nations that we find ourselves. Seeking the welfare of all the people that are here. Vote when you have the opportunity, and be thankful that you can. Participate in politics, rather than just shouting from the sidelines. March if needed. Work if you can and pay your taxes. Get involved in your local community. With these small steps we seek the welfare of the city. Remember as well that people with different views are not the enemy, and even if they were, we are suppose to love them.
Pray for those in authority
”I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority.” 1 Timothy 2:1–2 (NIV)
We are to bring all those in authority - this includes MPs from both sides of the house - before the King of Kings. It does not matter whether you voted in or out, if you want a deal, an election or a referendum. Each one of us is invited to pray for everyone in authority - following Jesus really does mean living differently.
Pray with thanksgiving
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Thankfully the bible is not just a about the do nots, but about the dos. Do not be anxious instead here is something better to do... Pray with thanksgiving. When we pray like this it changes the atmosphere of our hearts and we begin to find ourselves surrounded by the peace of God. These verses come with a promise, that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
By the time this blog has been published, the political landscape will have probably have changed again and we will have another set of things to worry about. Remember the five little things so that your hearts can be unlocked from the never ending cycle of worry, anxiety and fear. As it says in Matthew 6:33, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well”. If you’re not sure where to start with this especially with praying, then why not read about the five habits as part of our church vision.