Psa 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”
Obedience to God’s will unlocks certain blessings. This has nothing to do with God’s love. He loves you no matter what, but God’s blessings come with conditions. His favor is with conditions. It doesn’t make Him less loving or wonderful.
2 Chron 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
There are people who need peace right here. There is so much pressure. Some of it is from you, some of it is just happening to you. Jesus said you are going to have trouble.
God’s perfect plan is for you to prosper and be blessed, but we’re not in the Garden of Eden anymore. We’re on our way back. We need peace.
Life can be a troubled sea.
Life can be like shoes in the dryer.
But, ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…’
It is the will of God for you to have peace in your mind. It is not the will of God for you to have depression and discouragement and worry. Peter said to give God your cares and concerns. You can have peace. That is the will of God.
Maybe you need to give yourself the permission to have peace.
‘Gird up the lions of your mind.’ If it doesn’t happen today, you have another chance tomorrow to renew your mind.
Luke 10:38-42 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Mary ‘sitting at Jesus’ feet’ means to be one of His disciples, to listen to Him, to study under His teachings.
Martha was ‘cumbered about much serving.’ She said, ‘Don’t you care?!’ Martha had no idea just how much Jesus cares. That was a lack of peace and understanding. This makes Jesus angry because it’s a lack of faith. He loves you, but He’s not pleased when you don’t have faith. Saying, ‘Don’t you care?’ is showing lack of faith.
This isn’t necessarily sin in her life, just a lack of peace. Jesus’ response is the beautiful peace that Mary had found.
Exodus gives the Ten Commandments. One of them is to keep the Sabbath. This is speaking of doing no work.
Exo 20:8-11 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV) “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Phillips)
Gary Chapman wrote the book, ‘The Five Love Languages.’ One of the five is quality time and another is serving. Jesus speaks all five. There is a place where it’s not about love, it’s about work. There is also a difference between resting and being lazy. The story of Mary and Martha isn’t about Mary being right and Martha being wrong. It’s about getting an understanding of what real rest is all about. Mary had found it.
When you’re not at peace with yourself, you get the seasons mixed up. You don’t understand why stuff is happening right now. Why this storm? Then, you lose the peace and the trust. You got up from the feet of Jesus and your steps are not ordered by the Lord. Instead, they are ordered by what you think you should do. There are times to rest and times to run and work hard. If you mix those two up, you’ll be like a hamster on a wheel, working without result.
If you’re working hard but nothing changes, there is something wrong. Get to Jesus’ feet. You’ve got to know the difference. ‘Minister’ is a verb. You can believe all you want that your teeth will stay white and pretty, but if you don’t take care of them, you will lose them.
We are not saved by our works, but we are saved by His works. We need to stop doing our works and seek to do His works. Jesus died and spent time in a tomb and then rose again. He poured out His Spirit into us.
You’re not saved by works of your own, but you are saved by works that God has done. If you do the works of God, you’re not doing your own works.
Heb 4:1 “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”
Let’s be mindful that there is a possibility that we come short of the rest that God has for us.
Heb 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
This is talking about the Jews that were in the wilderness and wandered for 40 years. We have the same opportunity to enter into the rest or we might end up wandering for too long. It is not God’s will for you to worry so much!
Let your mind be fixed on God and have faith. When you can’t find Him, you trust Him anyway. If you can think right, you can act right. If you can act right you’ll end up in the destiny God has for you.
Heb 4:3 “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
We can inherit stuff that somebody else worked for.
Heb 4:4 “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.”
God rested and ordained it. We are to keep the Rest Holy.
Heb 4:5-8 “And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”
The promised land must not have been the place of rest. It’s not a destination or a certain day on the calendar. It’s not found in money or children or success. ‘I’ll be happy when…’ is not the way a Christian ought to think. ‘I’ll be happy because of what Jesus has done for me and Who He is to me.’
Heb 4:9-11 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Let’s work real hard to stop working! If you understand that this is about letting go of our own ways and ideas and instead let God take care of us. It takes effort to ‘cast our cares on Him.’
This is a choice you must continually make every day to work to cast your anxieties on Him. Don’t fall into unbelief.
There are two reasons why you struggle with peace.
Isa 48:22 “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”
The world does not give lasting peace. God gives a different kind of peace. The wicked can’t have it.
Isa 57:20-21 “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story called ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’ It was all about a man’s guilt because of murder. If you can’t sleep at night, try repenting.
In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ Lady Macbeth plotted a murder and at her bidding the murder went through. She suffered from guilt because of it and went insane. She said, ‘Out, …spot.’ She thought she had a spot of blood on her hand that she couldn’t get off. She was so guilt-ridden that she couldn’t have peace.
James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Make up your mind to follow Jesus.
Acts 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
Sinners sometimes have more fun because they’re all in. They aren’t double-minded. If you are half-in, half-out, you won’t have peace. Get both feet in God. You can have peace in the midst of all the crazy. Just try it.
God knows the difference between love and duty. Giving is for lovers only. You give out of the love in your heart. The difference between love and lust is that love gives and lust takes. When you give and operate in God’s will, you will have peace. It’s resting in the will and rest of God.
When you rest in God (doing His will, His way), you open His windows and blessings are poured out on you.
When you cease from your own work and do His, you have that Sabbath rest.
Maybe you feel like you are doing this. However, it’s equally wrong to trust God when you’re fearful. It’s not your responsibility to worry. It’s your responsibility to do a job, but not to worry.
Maybe you have cast judgment on yourself. ‘God has not forgiven me.’ Or you cast judgement on someone else. This keeps you from peace. When you allow yourself to get offended, it festers and grows. Anger unchecked grows into murder. Don’t pick up a magnifying glass instead of a mirror.
There is more peace when you refuse to be offended. It is the devil’s strategy to get you offended.
Don’t let your hurt fester. Forgive quickly. Hurt held onto grows into judgement. Don’t take this work on yourself. By harboring stuff in your heart, you keep yourself from having peace. Jesus never got offended when He had the most reason for it. Jesus forgave even on the cross. ‘Father, forgive them.’ Only a mind that is at peace could say that.
You may have been abused by something in your past. Because of that you want down from that cross. There is no peace until you forgive. This is what Jesus died for.
There is no peace for the double-minded, the doubtful, the unforgiving, the wicked.
Even in the midst of the storm, you can have peace because of Jesus. It’s your choice.
Heb 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
Let it be His works, not yours. ‘Cast your cares…’ Sometimes God will send you into a storm. Will you choose peace in that too? It is available.
Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When your hands are tied, reach with your feet. Sometimes God will allow your suffering, but He knows what He’s doing. Trust Him! Let God squeeze out all the junk and fill you with His Spirit instead.
Mat 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- What do you tend to worry about the most?
- Read Phil 4:4-8. Notice that peace is promised in these verses. However, are you following the commands listed here? What do you need to add to your life and what do you need to take out?
- How can you become more consistent with ‘staying at Jesus’ feet’? How can you bless someone else with what you’ve learned from this sermon?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.