Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything… — Philippians 4:5-6
Unchecked anxiety can unleash an Enola Gay* of destruction that levels everything in its way. ~ Max
Welcome back! It’s week two of the Anxious for Nothing Online Bible Study with Max Lucado.
*The Enola Gay was the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb during WW2. She was the initiation of the atomic era.
Have you ever known someone who lives so stressfully, so chaotically, so emotionally erratically that people tend to back off or steer clear of them entirely so as not to get bombed with their tension? I have.
And, I have been that person, too. During the most stressful time of my life, I didn’t even like myself or my reactions. In my fear, I said words I should never have said, did things I never should have done, and operated in panic, anxiety, and irritability. It took a long time and a lot of the Holy Spirit’s kindness and gentleness for me to begin to learn to not freak out internally or externally whenever the spit hit the fan. Can you relate?
In this world you will have trouble… — John 16:33
Last week was a Murphy’s Law week for my family. It was one thing after another after another. Car troubles, an unexpected financial snag, an emergency trip to the dentist for a broken crown, a family fun day cut in half by delays out of our control, and then my phone slipped into the bathtub. That was it. I needed a time out so I didn’t verbally eviscerate an unsuspecting loved one out of my own frustration. Slowly but surely, with Jesus’ help, I’m learning to say along with my kids “let’s have a great day anyway”, to have a sense of humor when frustrations mount, and to laugh without fear when difficulties arise (Proverbs 31:25). It’s not easy and sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back, but my goal is to say with conviction “I’m not going to worry about it and I’m not going to lash out at anyone else over it. Because God is right with us, He’s in control, and we’re going to be ok. The Lord is near.”
Just think about how many people have been wounded as a result of unbridled stress. But also think about how many disasters have been averted because one person, like the Apostle Paul, refused to buckle under the strain. ~ Max
During hard times, we can realign our hearts to God and pray Lord, I need Your help with this situation. I’m in deep and I’m freaking out. Help me to mind my attitude and my words through this stressful circumstance and please work this out in my favor. I need Your divine gentleness.
J. Knox Chamblin tells us that gentleness is “a sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior that is founded in strength and prompted by love.” Isn’t that a great exhortation?
Gentleness is found in the Scriptures from cover to cover. Here are just a few passages to dwell upon:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1
A gentle tongue can break a bone. — Proverbs 25:15
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. — Matthew 11:29
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you… — 2 Corinthians 10:1
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. — Ephesians 4:2
No matter what is going on today, my family doesn’t need me to freak out. They need my gentleness. In times of trouble or anxiety, they need me to remind myself and them not to be worried, for the Lord is near.
We can calmly take our concerns to God because He is as near as our next breath. ~ Max
The gentle person is sober-minded and clear-thinking. Like Paul, they look to God for the solution and they remain contagiously calm. The contagiously calm person is the one who reminds others that God is in control. ~ Max
Friends, let’s not be The Enola Gay bombing anyone in our path because we’re so stressed out. Instead, let’s point our hearts and minds towards our loving Father who holds the universe in His hands and loves us beyond our ability to even comprehend. We can respond in gentleness and contagious calm because…
The Lord is near!
This week in your study:
1. Watch the video for session two on our study home page or live with other participants … Take notes in your study guide on pages 33-40.
2. Go through the study questions and activity with your group or on your own on pages 40-44.
3. Read Chapter 5 in Anxious for Nothing.
4. Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 45-53.
5. Watch parties on Mondays at 12 pm and 8pm CST.
6. Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scripture of the Week
Other Key Scriptures
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You that You are sovereign over everything. All of our troubles and woes, difficulties and frustrations are under Your loving control. We don’t have to freak out and we don’t have to be afraid. Help us not to be bombs of destruction in our homes or workplaces or in the community but to trust in Your nearness and Your love. We love You, Lord. Amen.