Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Dangers Of Living A “What If?” Life

PROVERBS 22:13 – The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

THEME OF THE DAY. THE DANGERS OF LIVING A “WHAT IF?” LIFE. Today’s scripture should bring a smile on our faces. As we do, we want to tell the sluggard, “Really? A lion walking through the town? Has the circus arrived? Why are you afraid? This is ridiculous.” However, our smiles quickly fade because too many times we are like the sluggard. In the wisdom of King Solomon, he gives an insightful, maybe even uncomfortable truth, quite appropriate for the times in which we live – living by imaginary fears or the “what if?” life. And should we justify or allow these to get strongholds in our lives, gone is our joy in the Lord, gone is our influence for the Lord, and gone is close fellowship with Him and His people. Why? Imaginary fears or the “what if? life is living in a not realized future under a blanket of unbelief. By the way, if we want to get a real close look at God’s heart and attitude about the sin of unbelief, check out Hebrews 3:7-19. He is quite displeased with His people when they allow what is seen and felt to breed fear in them suffocating a life of bold, courageous, and faithful obedience. With that introduction, let’s consider two dangers of imaginary fears and the “what if?” life.

First, living in imaginary fears of the future questions God’s sovereign goodness over all that is happening in the world. Oh, we would never look to heaven and say, “I don’t trust You are in control and that You are really working all things out for good.” I get it. So do you. What we see in our world, and especially our nation, looks completely out of control and that God is a distant and detached deity leaving us to ourselves. He is not, but, Christian, I hope we are reading our Bibles and seeing in a very real way, all that is happening in our nation is a judgment upon us, His church. We have been for too long, way too worldly, way too apathetic, way too self-centered, and way too “off mission” (gospel mission) and He is chastising us. I pray we are getting the message to repent and become what the Bible tells us we are to be – a holy, separated people on mission to love the world with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus and living the example of Jesus. But we won’t have spiritual eyes to see this if we are living by what we see and feel, not by faith in what God says and who He is. To live in this fearful unbelieving way is to deny the sovereignty of God. Believer, all is well. It may not look it, but faith says it is. God is in charge. Even now. Don’t be afraid.

Another danger of living by imaginary fears and “what ifs?” is the spiritual paralysis it causes. The individual King Solomon describes is hiding from the world. He isn’t going anywhere or influencing anyone for the Lord. Fear grips him. The negative “what if?” has so paralyzed his life that obedience to God, closeness to God, and the responsibility to represent God in the world are not present in his heart. He is consumed with fear, guided by fear, and thus anything spiritual and Biblical is not in his mind, heart, and directing his life. But we don’t have to live in this spiritually unhealthy way. God has provided all we need in His Son, by His Spirit, and through His Word for us to defeat all imaginary fears and “what ifs” in our lives. Learn to live not by what we see, fear, and hear, but through who God is and what He gives us. And start by remembering, lions are in jungles and zoos, not roaming our streets!

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me for the times I mask my unbelief and fear by saying, ‘I am just being wise and prudent’.”

QUOTE: “Don’t let the fears of a world gone mad in rebellion to God cause us to be passive in obeying the Word of God.”