We all want help with something. But we seldom like to ask for it.

1

We All Need Help

Imagine you are walking to your house from the grocery store. You’re carrying two bulging bags of groceries, arms aching while the bags you hold, threaten to rip and spill. Your friend sees you and offers to help you carry the load. Say no, and you stay uncomfortable and might drop your goods. Say yes, and you have to admit that you can’t do it yourself.

Receiving help takes humility—the humility to utter two words we try hard to avoid: I can’t.

We all need help with a lot of things. And maybe life would be a little sweeter if we could share our load with a friend.

As we look for someone to help us both with trivial tasks and soul-deep questions, we realize that there are many anxieties we carry with us that nobody can help with—from crises at work and school to cares at home. Except, there is one Person. He is the one who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV). He can help. And he already has.

2

How God Has Helped Us

He saw your deepest need—to know God personally, to be free of selfishness, to be unshackled from regret and your past—and he said, “I will help you.” He, Jesus, bore God’s punishment for you as he carried to the cross every offense you have committed against God and neighbor. But, receiving this favor from Jesus requires admitting you have sins that need carrying away.

Jesus let your sin and failures crush him, but he did not let them win.

Jesus let your sin and failures crush him, but he did not let them win. He rose from the grave, throwing off the power of sin and death from all who believe in him. Receiving the new life Jesus offers requires understanding you’re dead without him.

God daily carries the world. He sent his Son Jesus to earth to carry the sins of his children into the grave, and then carry his children out of it. Surely whatever is on your heart is not too heavy for Christ to carry. But it’s certainly too heavy for you. Would you humble yourself and say, “I can’t”? Tell God your cares, for he can handle them.

3

Having a Hard Time Handling Life?

God commands us in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:6-7 to humble ourselves. He tells us to assess our situation honestly—we have hurts we can’t handle, situations we can’t solve, needs we can’t meet. Yet we have a God who asks us, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)

“Let me help,” he says. And when we say to God, “Please carry this,” we are also saying, “because I can’t.” This verse tells us that the One who upholds the universe not only can carry your anxieties, he wants to, because he cares for you. He can start right now, if you’ll just humble yourself and ask.

Article: 3 Min

Having a Hard Time Handling Life?

by Bibles.net

Video: 7 Min
by Benjamin Watson at Biltmore Church
Article: 12 Min

Baltimore Ravens' Benjamin Watson:
Trusting God Brings 'Eternal Perspective'

Here’s an interview from Ben Watson,
where he opens up about his faith,
sports, race relations, fatherhood,
and Scripture.

by Benjamin Watson
at The Washington Times

Image

But he gives us more grace.
That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes
the proud
but shows favor
to the humble.”

James 4:6 NIV
Article: 7 Min

Does Grace Still
Amaze You?

by Randy Alcorn at Desiring God

Quote

The Good News: Just Bring Your Nothing

The thought of Bring Your Nothing came from Isaiah 65 and how we have nothing to offer Jesus. That’s the Gospel message. If you bring anything other than nothing, than Jesus has no part in it. He says, bring nothing and in return, I’m going to give you everything, forever… it requires a supernatural amount of humility to admit that you have nothing. 

by Shane Barnard | Source
Quote

Let God have your life;
He can do more with it
than you can.

Messages: 34 Min

D.L. Moody:

An Unlikely Servant 

by Erwin Lutzer 

Quote

There are many of us
that are willing to do
great things
for the Lord,

but few of us
are willing to do
little things.

Article: 7 Min

Here’s a Root of Anxiety and a Solution to It

by Bibles.net

“Submission” is a dirty word today. It implies authority, that whatever or whomever you have to submit to has power over you. And no one likes the idea of being bossed around.

But there is a kind of submission that is precious, and by it we find peace and the release of anxiety in our lives. Let’s take a look at God’s promise to us written in the Apostle Peter’s first letter, that deals with this issue:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV)

Peter tells us to cast all our anxiety on God. Casting our anxieties on God is a way of coming under his leadership. God tells us to humbly do this because he, the Lord of heaven and earth, actually cares about what we are anxious about.

Let’s start with asking, why in this letter does Peter address anxiety?

1

Anxiety Is Normal

Let’s face it, life is full of anxiety—worries about healthcare costs, concerns about the future of our children, fears over war and rumors of war, stress over employment and money and housing and possessions and retirement.

The Bible assumes our humanity and all the weaknesses that come with it—including anxiety. Humans are anxious. Peter knows this, and God knows this, so he counsels us through Peter.

Notice the assumption behind Peter’s words here. Christians can, and certainly do, experience anxiety – it’s not a matter of if, but when. Peter doesn’t try to dismiss this possibility. Instead, he wants to help us discover what we should do when we became anxious.  And we will see that the solution involves humility.

But there’s another reason Peter writes about anxiety.

2

Anxiety Is Tied to Humility

Peter addresses anxiety because it relates to authority and our attitude about God’s authority in our lives.

Peter addresses Christian leaders at the end of his letter, who we call “elders.” He uses the metaphor of shepherds caring for their flock to describe their leadership role in the Christian community. He says they must be willing and eager to serve others (v.2). He also says that despite their authority, elders shouldn’t “lord it over” those under their care (v.3).

No one likes an arrogant authoritarian leader, and God doesn’t either. God wants his people under servant-hearted caring leaders, because that’s the kind of leader God is—even though he is Lord of all!

Ultimately, our example of leadership comes from the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.

Peter further expands this teaching to all Christians:

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV)

Peter explains that we are all to understand ourselves as under God’s ultimate leadership and Lordship. Then Peter draws a straight line between anxiety and submission to God’s leadership in our lives: “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you.”

So what’s the connection? What’s the relationship between a humble attitude of submitting to leadership, and anxiety?

3

Anxiety’s Root

Peter tells us to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand (1 Peter 5:6). This is the submission we talked about earlier.

Peter says in his letter, “clothe yourselves with humility” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV). The original Greek phrase literally means “tie on humility,” which conjures up the image of tying on a servant’s apron. It is possible that Peter has a picture of Jesus in mind when in John 13 Jesus takes a towel, wraps it around his waist, and washes his disciples’ feet. He was both literally and figuratively clothed with humility.

Humility is the clothing that every believer in the Lord Jesus must wear. If we humbly submit to God as the one in total control of our lives, we will willingly cast all our cares upon God, knowing he is the only one who can handle them.

Conversely, this verse identifies anxiety as a pride problem. When we do not submit to God’s authority over us, it’s the result of arrogance. We want to be God. Arrogance leaves our anxiety unaddressed. Those who refuse to submit to God will consistently struggle with anxiety, because they can’t handle life on their own and prey to our angst-inducing world, without God by their side.

In fact, Peter says God “opposes the proud.” When he says that God opposes the proud, he means that God is their enemy. The proud can expect no favor from God. God opposes our self-reliance. And if we want to be the Lord of our lives, he lets us be that, but it closes us off to his favor and help.

So now it’s time for a heart-check.

4

Anxiety Is An Indicator of Our Relationship with God

If you are anxious about every little thing in your life, what does that say about where you place your trust? Do you truly believe God is in control of your life, guiding and directing it in the way best for you, working all things out for good?

What would your life look like if you genuinely trusted God for all things?

Humility flows out of genuine trust in our relationship with and position before God. Conversely, anxiety comes from a proud refusal to submit to God’s authority, and to entrust our concerns to him.

5

A Solution to Anxiety

So what do we do? Cast our anxiety onto our caring Lord. As we do this, he replaces our anxiety with peace.

But how do we do this, practically speaking? Elsewhere in the Bible, Paul writes:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

A wonderful transaction takes place through prayer: we give our anxiety to God, and he gives us his peace.

Do you believe God cares for you? I don’t mean intellectually. I mean at a heart level, in a way that changes your behavior.

Far too many of us live lives full of anxiety because we do not embrace this simple truth: God wants to care for us. And because we do not believe it, we do not trust God, and because we don’t trust him, we don’t submit to him and humbly give him our anxieties in prayer.

But what does it look like to give our anxiety to God?

6

How to Cast All Your Anxiety on Him

Paul tells us that when we are anxious, we should present our requests to God—in other words, ask him for what we need. We should also do this, he says, with thanksgiving.

That means that when you are anxious about any situation or circumstance, God wants you to not only tell him about how you’re feeling but to submit those feelings to him by asking him for his help!

This could take the form of journaling, or talking to God as you drive to work, or sitting down with your spouse and committing your anxieties to the Lord together, or just pausing your activities to speak to God from your heart—with thankfulness. After all, prayer is simply speaking to God.

And Paul says that when we ask God for help, with a grateful heart that trusts his good and wise leadership, we will experience peace from God that transcends understanding!

But note that God’s peace that transcends all understanding is given to those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV). While anxiety will always be a natural part of human nature, only those who have placed their hope and trust in Jesus can experience the kind of anxiety-easing peace that God gives to his children. For only those who believe in Jesus are God’s children (John 1:12).

Have you ever tried casting your cares on God in prayer? Do you believe today that he cares about you?

Why don’t you choose to trust him right now. Believe he cares for you.

He showed you his great love by sending his Son Jesus to take care of the sins you have committed against him by paying your debts to God with his own life on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead so that he might give new life to everyone who comes to him asking for mercy.

If God would offer you forgiveness for all your offenses at the cost of his own Son, and a new life at the price of his own, would he not also offer you his precious help for your every circumstance?

Throw those cares off your shoulders and into the lap of the Lord of all—do it today. Grab a paper and pen to write out a prayer or set aside time to cast your anxieties to the Lord. Maybe the first care to throw on him is that your relationship with him be restored in Jesus Christ for the very first time.

I want to introduce you to NaamanNaaman was one of my favorite Bible characters as a kid—an obscure favorite, I know. God kindly gave me parents who committed to reading their kids the entire Bible. I would replay Naaman’s healing story, dunking myself in the couch pillows as he dunked himself in the Jordan river (true story).  

I hope that what you read here will make Naaman’s story one of your favorites too, not because you love Naaman, but because you come to know his Healer better. I want you to open your phone or Bible to 2 Kings 5:1-14 first, though. Reading Naaman’s story on your own—which will take five minutes or less—will enrich what you read here.  

Have you read it? Alright, let’s talk about Naaman 

1

Naaman, You, Me and Leprosy

Naaman commanded the Syrian army (2 Kings 5:1). Think army general. At his time, Syria was a military superpower. Thus, Naaman was beyond cool in his day—like Special Forces soldiers today. He had honors and victories under his belt. Naaman was “a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor…” (2 Kings 5:1 ESV). Our Bibles tell us the LORD, the God of Israel, had given Naaman success.  

“But he was a leper” (2 Kings 5:1 ESV). Few ailments compared to leprosy. At that time people considered this disease incurable, and by law it was severely isolating (Leviticus 13). Such a sickness would devastate any man—especially one so mighty as Naaman 

In the Bible, leprosy isn’t just a terrible medical condition, it’s also a graphic, physical illustration of sin’s destructive power (Got Questions). The sores and deterioration that Naaman experienced in his body, we daily experience in our souls. Because apart from God, our nature is self-oriented, self-destructive, bent on evil in opposition to God

Naaman isn’t the only leper. We have leprosy of the soul, and that’s why we need to hear Naaman’s story (Romans 3:10; Jeremiah 17:9). His story can become our story too. 

So what happens with Naaman?  

2

Naaman’s Hope

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy. (2 Kings 5:2-3 ESV) 

A word of hope comes to this afflicted man from a little servant girl. She knows a man who can actually cure himthe prophet of the one true God of Israel, named Elisha 

Notice that Naaman takes this servant girl at her word. She was his captive, servant, and she came from a small nation with a totally foreign god. What weight did her word hold? A lot. It got Naaman on his horse. He likely didn’t ask her advice on much. But this time he takes it. Why? Because he was in need.   

One of the most kind things that the God of the Bible does for us is turn evil things for good (Genesis 50:20). And so, our kind God will often allow bad things to happen so we can see our need for soulhealing, to soften our hearts and rip away our sources of strength so that we see ourselves as we truly are—in need of the God of Israel.   

He knows that each one of us suffers from a debilitating disease called sin, that will not only corrupt our joy on earth, but will demand our eternal suffering after death. Our souls are sick. We too need someone to cure us. There was a prophet many years after Elisha who said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17 ESV).  

One barrier to belief in the God of the Bible is wealth. And I don’t mean money. I mean self-sufficiency, thinking we have enough. We think we’re ok, but the Scriptures tell us we are not. God indicts our self-reliance saying, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 ESV).  

One of our greatest needs is to be healed of our blindness to our need. And God did this for NaamanNaaman’s worst nightmare was God’s means of changing his life for goodBut it began with seeing his need. Nothing but experiencing helplessness like this would bring a man like Naaman to his knees.  

So Naaman listens to the little girl. Get this—he writes to his enemies, Israela tiny nation being pummeled by encroaching nations—for rescue. He sent a letter, and got on his horse to pursue the prophet.  

3

Why Naaman Almost Forfeited Healing

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. (2 Kings 5:9-12 ESV)

Naaman thought that he deserved healing his way. If God is powerful, why doesn’t he just heal me when I ask? Naaman was angry because he wanted a quick-fix. He wasn’t concerned with knowing God, he just wanted to be healed at the wave of a hand so that he could get back to his own concerns. 

But God had other plans. He wanted Naaman to humble himself so that he could not only be healed but know the God who heals. God wanted more for NaamanThe God of Israel wanted Naaman to know him personally 

The Way to Healing

Notice that God, through the prophet Elisha, offered Naaman healing without cost. He did not discriminate against Naaman for not being an Israelite, didn’t conjure up a list of his past sins, didn’t ask for anything in return. He just said, “Go, wash.”  

What did Naaman have to do to be healed?  

First, he had to believe the prophet. Elsewhere in the Bible it says, “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26 NIV). This means that if you really believe something, you’ll act upon it. Naaman had to trust the prophet’s words in order to go wash.  

Second, Naaman had to humble himself. He had to submit to the one way of healing God offered. He had other thoughts about how this healing should happen. God’s way was a muddy river, dunking himself not once, nor going for a normal swim, but dunking himself seven times, which might have seemed strange 

And Naaman almost forfeited his healing because of his pride

The Barrier to Healing

Thank God for one of Naaman’s servants who asked his angry master, “It is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13 ESV).  

God has spoken a great Word to us too about our disease. He sent his Son Jesus to the world not to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17 ESV). Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to God. He died unjustly on a Roman cross under false accusation, and rose from the dead three days later. He did this to bear the punishment of God that we deserve, so that if we trust in his work as the only for the forgiveness of our sins, we can be freed from the punishment of sin, the power of sin, and one day rid of its presence—he died to heal us from our spiritual leprosy (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:5). The Bible’s ultimate good news from a prophet is that God is willing to wash us clean from the inside outfrom our inner leprosy called sin. But the only way to be clean is to believe in the Lord Jesus for forgiveness, plunging ourselves beneath his healing, cleansing flood (See Tis So Sweet).  

But many of us are prone to think like Naaman

I thought God would just say “I forgive you” and let me off the hook. I thought I could just go to church and then live how I want. Jesus is just one god among others, why does he have to be the only way? What’s all this about a bloody cross?  

Yet all of us are like Naaman. According to the Bible, we’ve got one option.  

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 ESV) 

Just like Naaman’s healing, God’s offer of salvation is free. We just have to believe, and humble ourselves.  

Wash in the river! He said to Naaman. Wash your sins in Christ’s blood! He says to us.  

And yet, we hang back, because of our pride. Because the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV). James tells us “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6 ESV).  

Question is, will we humble ourselves?   

4

Naaman’s Healing

So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord.” (2 Kings 5:14; 15; 17 ESV) 

Naaman humbled himself. He did exactly what God told him and received exactly what God promised. But did he just get healed? No, he got to know God. This one Syrian general, through a servant girl and a lonely prophet, was introduced to the one true God, and God returned with him to his land.  

The New Testament helps us understand what happened to Naaman in this story: 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV)  

When Naaman came out of that river, having believed God’s Word, he was a new man. When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, God recreates us into new people.  

5

Why Did God Heal Naaman?

Let’s consider, why did God take away Naaman’s leprosy? What was the purpose of healing him? Why does he want to take away our sins—what’s his purpose in healing us

To reconcile us to himself. To give us a new relationship with him. For, “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). True life is knowing the true God. Life comes from being reunited to our life-giver. And that life can’t even be taken away from us in death (Romans 8:38-39) 

Just like the little girl and the prophet, God gives those who know him the opportunity to tell others about his saving work. That’s why I’m telling you this here! He’s given me new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the true God of Israel, and I want you to know Jesus too.  

He has entrusted us with this “great word” that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 ESV)—saved from the punishment due your sins, from the displeasure of God, and the destructive power of sin. 

I don’t know if you’re considered a “great man, a man of valor” or a great woman, or if you identify as an ordinary person. All of us are Naaman—leprous at heart, and in need of cleansing. Question is, do you know you need it, and will you call upon the only prophet that can cure you, Jesus the Christ?  

If you do, he will, even today.  

Verse
Philippians 2:6-11 NLT
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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