Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Dangers of “What-if?” Living

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

Let’s imagine standing beside the individual looking out a picture window at the street and we hear with an animated voice of fear, “There is a lion outside. I shall be killed in the streets.” We might respond with , “Really? Is the circus coming to town? Lion? In a cage in a zoo maybe, but just walking down the street? Really? Come on, what is wrong with you?

The direction King Solomon takes us in his proverb is toward living life in the “what ifs” of imaginary fears. And be honest, who has not lost sleep tossing and turning over not yet to happen situations and circumstances and attaching “what ifs” to each of them? We know the experience all too well–“What if this happens, then what?” or “What if this doesn’t turn out good, how am I going to deal with it?” When it comes to the temptation to attach “what ifs” of any kind to our not promised tomorrows, there are two great danger sin doing so; dangers adversely and seriously impacting our walks with the Lord.

First, living in “what ifs” will paralyze us to a life of active obedience. In today’s scripture, the person exhibiting the fear of “what if” is labeled “sluggard” and this means lazy, inactive, passive. Fear always accompanies “what ifs” in life, and fear keeps us from obeying God. This individual is consumed with self and with self being the center of life, God isn’t. That produces a lack of consistent and purposeful obedience to God’s Word. In today’s scripture, the sluggard is afraid to even leave his house! And there are way too many Christians stuck in fear of all that is happening in the world around us and they constantly justify being isolated by “What if” and that is simply disobedience. Jesus said “Go” and what if living says, “stay” out of fear.

Another adverse consequence of “what if” living is a lack of trust in the God who is sovereign–over all things including lions in a street and everything else in life, even your life, my life. Here is Psalm 91 in its entirety. Please read it slowly. It is the best part of today’s nugget and the greatest weapon to slay “what if” living:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord,“ My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation (Psalm 91)

As we close today’s nugget, stroll over and look outside a window. Do we see any lions walking down the street or roaming in the yard? I didn’t think so. Let all the possible “what ifs” in life alone. They are in good hands of Him who directs them all!

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me for the too many times I worry and look for the worst in my not promised tomorrow.”

QUOTE: “Learn to rest moment-by-moment in the faithfulness of God. Here is how we grow in the Lord Jesus.”

Because of Him,

Pastor Jim