WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 09, 2023
TOPIC: DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’” (Mark 16:1-3 New King James Version).
Many people, including Christians, are guilty of anxiety – a feeling of nervousness or worry. They are anxious about different things and this has all kinds of effects on them such as depression, a lack of concentration, poor performance, low productivity, withdrawal, and health problems, including headaches, body pains, sleeplessness, digestive problem, and fatigue.
Anxiety has made some people take the wrong steps as they focused on their obstacles or barriers. They allowed anxiety over their challenges to paralyze them. Therefore, they didn’t progress in life as they should have.
But the women who went to the tomb of Jesus on the third day after His death and burial didn’t deny the challenge they faced but they also didn’t allow it to stop them from doing what they could. They left home to achieve their goal but didn’t deny the fact that there was an obstacle before them. They didn’t become so worried on the way about it that they returned home or sat under a tree worried, lamenting about the obstacle.
Mark 16:1-3 says, “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’” (New King James Version). Note the question: “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” That was an appropriate question because unless the stone was rolled away, they wouldn’t be able to enter and anoint the body of Jesus.
But who put the stone there – an enemy or a friend? Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was waiting for the kingdom of God, did this after going to Pilate to ask for permission to take away the body of Jesus, a request he granted, and he buried Jesus (Mark 15:43-45). Verse 46 says, “Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb” (New King James Version). The stone was rolled against the door of the tomb, as the custom was, to secure it.
The book of Matthew also talks about this stone: “When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed” (Matthew 27:59-60 New King James Version).
These two scriptures show that Joseph of Arimathea rolled the stone at the door of the tomb. Note that the stone was large. Thus, the women had a legitimate concern about who would help them roll the stone away. In addition, the chief priests and Pharisees, with the permission of Pilate, the Governor of Judea, had made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard (Matthew 27:66). So the women would also have to contend with the guards posted to the tomb and the seal, probably the seal of Pilate.
The seal implied that nobody could tamper with the stone without being detected. Whoever would open the tomb would have to break the seal. So the women going to the tomb of Jesus had a serious hurdle to scale. But they didn’t allow this to result in anxiety that would make them stay back or stay away from the tomb.
Mark 16:4 says, “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away–for it was very large” (New King James Version). Somebody had solved their problem? Was it a friend or an enemy? But this raised another problem for them. Who rolled away the stone? Matthew 28:2 says, “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it” (New King James Version).
This angel had no respect for the seal! He turned to folly the wisdom of those who posted the guards to the tomb and sealed it. They couldn’t hinder Jesus from being raised from the dead. He rolled back the stone and sat on it as if saying he was waiting for whoever would challenge him for rolling back the stone and breaking the seal! The guards had fled to report to those who posted them what happened.
Meanwhile, the women were perplexed when they entered the tomb and saw that the body of Jesus was missing. John 20:1-2 says, “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him’” (New King James Version).
The lesson from the action of Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb of Jesus despite facing the problem of accessing the tomb is not to be anxious about anything. We don’t know the state of their mind as they went to the womb having realized the obstacle before them. Nevertheless, they didn’t allow themselves to be discouraged and stay at home or return on the way. If they had not gone to the womb not knowing what was lying ahead of them, they wouldn’t have known that the stone had been rolled and that Jesus had been resurrected.
No matter the nature of the stone – obstacle, barrier, challenge – before you, don’t be anxious. Anxiety cannot roll away or roll back the stone. It can only make you miserable and cause all the negative effects I spoke about earlier and even more. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus taught us not to worry. He said, among other things, that nobody could, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life.
Don’t let anxiety paralyze you and hinder you from going forward in life. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 New International Version). Note the phrase: “Do not be anxious about anything.” Instead of being anxious, pray, make your requests known to God, tell Him about the ‘stone’ that needs to be rolled away, and thank Him that He will roll it away. The more you pray, the less anxious you should be.
Anxiety shows somebody’s little or no faith in God. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30 New King James Version). If you have faith in God, you will believe that if He could take care of the birds of the skies, which are of less value than you, as Jesus said, He would take care of you also. Have faith in God. Feed on the Word of God, not on information from other sources that make you anxious. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
God knows the ‘stone’ that you need to be rolled away. Do not be anxious about anything. Peter said, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 New International Version). If you truly cast all your anxiety on God, you won’t have it anymore. If you still have it, it means you have not truly cast it, unloaded it, given it, or turned it over to Him. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22 New King James Version).
Cast all your anxiety on God in prayer. God, your Father, knows the things you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8b). Ask, seek, and knock; He will answer you (Matthew 7:7-8). He will roll away the ‘stone’. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Don’t be anxious about anything. He says in Jeremiah 33:3 to call to Him and He will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3 New International Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of all my anxiety. I cast all my anxiety on You. Father, I cast my burden on You; sustain me and let me not be moved. Father, let my ‘stone’ be rolled away in Jesus’ name. I commit my work to you; let my plans succeed.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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