The Survival Guide for Christians

Psalm 37:1-7 Amplified  1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against those who work unrighteousness (that which is not upright or in right standing with God). 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.
6 And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday. 7 Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

These seven little verses pack a powerful punch. They outline five steps that provide everything we for surviving life on this earth.  How many of us are constantly looking for books to help us with our daily spiritual walk?  These books can be helpful but The Book give us everything we need, neatly tucked into five steps.

1. Fret not yourself
2. Trust in the Lord
3. Delight yourself in the Lord
4. Commit your way to the Lord
5. Be still and rest in the Lord

As we all know, there is effort involved when implementing any good plan and this is certainly the case here.  I will look at each step in a moment, but first, I think it is interesting to note that the active verb in each step is an action that must be done over and over.  We don’t do the “5-step program” once and have it all together.  (Oh, we might for a minute or two…).  No, the Lord gives us the tools to work with continuously.  In the next couple of minutes I want to look at the definition of each of these verbs and share some word pictures to take home with us.

Fret actually has two definitions both of which fit verse 1.  The first definition is to be anxious or allow something to gnaw at us.  That is the kind of fretting we do with the evil that surrounds us and threatens our families daily.  God says don’t let it gnaw at you like a dog slowly gnaws away on a bone.  The second definition is to chafe or grumble.  Interesting, isn’t it?  There are really only two things we can fret over.  They are evil people and their presence in our lives AND seeing evil people get away with the evil they do.  We all are guilty of wondering why God doesn’t just strike certain people with lightning, aren’t we?  Instead God says do not let it chafe you.  Chafing is an uncomfortable condition especially if the source causing the chafing continues.  We can all relate to a clothing label or bra fastener poking, biting or rubbing at us all the while we are wearing them.  It not only causes chafing and perhaps even a sore, in addition it makes our disposition sour and irritable.  The Lord says very simply “fret not”.

Next we are told to Trust in the Lord.  The concept here is to lean your whole personality on Him.  This is the kind of trust we show every time we lean up against a wall or sit in a chair.  It is that sweet innocence that lets a child jump into his father’s arms without a moment’s hesitation.  There is complete trust and faith in their parent’s ability to not drop them.  So it is to be with our Lord.

Delight yourself in the Lord.  WOW!  I love this one.  Delight means: to luxuriate in with wild abandon.  Luxuriate probably conjures up different snapshots for each of you, but they all have one common theme.  They involve something that we love to do, probably don’t do often enough…if hardly ever, and if we could we would experience it over and over and over because it brings such enjoyment.  It might be a pampering day at the spa, or sinking your toes into the sand as you walk a deserted beach, or fellowship and laughter with old friends.  When was the last time we luxuriated in our Lord with wild abandon?

Fourthly we are told – Commit your way to the Lord.  This one is uncomfortable because the meaning here is to “send for confinement”.  God is saying we need to consciously send our ways, yours and mine, to the Lord where they will be confined.  Ooh…that means they won’t be our ways anymore, doesn’t it?  We will have to give up control!  And as if that is not uncomfortable enough, it also involves exerting energy.  Energy that in the day-to-day grind may be hard to find.  However I like to think of it as going to my safety deposit box.  We make the trip with our treasures and confine them to a small box, why?  Because we know they will be safe there and kept in perfect condition.  Safe are our ways when committed to God.

Be still and rest in the Lord is the last step given by God in our survival guide.  Oddly enough, while it has been placed last, in reality it is both the first and the last step.  We must Be Still and Rest in order to Fret not, Trust in, Delight in, and Commit to our wonderful Lord.  But the converse is also true, that as we Fret not, Trust in, Delight in, and Commit to God we will be still and rest.  To “be still” literally means to be without motion.  What an odd thought in this busy world, yet, this is where God says we need to be.  Then He continues by saying, “rest in the Lord”.  The thought here is “to remain for action or accomplishment”!  You see it’s up to Him to accomplish the task.  Whether the task is insignificant or monumental – OR we are referring to the task of LIFE itself from beginning to end, we can … and must continually find time to be as still as a silkworm in its cocoon.  It lays motionless waiting for the action  – a transformation into a butterfly!

What an incredible amount of richness is packed into these seven verses.  Our precious Lord in His goodness has given us the complete guide to survive – and much more than just survive – in this world.  It is ALL we need to experience life abundantly.