FADING INFLUENCE - Psalm 37:2
Updated: Jan 20
“Do not fret because of those who do evil, or be envious of those who do wrong, for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.”
Fame and influence can be a lot like those crazes that captures every kid’s imagination. You know the kind of thing, where a new product is released and all of your mates just can’t get enough of it and the shops run out of stock. In the 1970s, hoola hoops and roller skates were the big thing. During my school days, special edition Coca-Cola Yo-Yos were massively popular. I remember going in to school one day and everyone was doing trick shots, like rock the baby and walk the dog. The people at Coca-Cola also produced a rare gold one that was probably worth its weight in real gold!
Tamagotchis, loom bands and fidget spinners; they came into our lives suddenly and everybody wanted them. Each one was the next big thing. Yet within a short period of time their novelty had worn off and they had disappeared from popularity. Before long these things ended up in the back of a wardrobe somewhere, forgotten and disregarded.
The words “Don't fret” talk to our concerns about an evil that rises to a place of popularity. It can be worrying when people who do evil seem to get their own way. Our fears tempt us to believe they will always hold that place of influence or that we are powerless in comparison. Out of nowhere, they establish a platform, a power base, recognised by others as the school bully or the new person in charge, that everyone is in awe of. Yet much like the crazes we've talked about, the popularity and influence for those who do evil is only temporary. Their deeds do not go unnoticed by God. They will fade like a fragile flower, since their roots are not in the Almighty.
Therefore fretting about evil is a waste of time, its moment in the limelight will be fleeting. Stressing uses up a lot of mental and emotional energy. So is the only way not to stress about this stuff, to just ignore it? Not quite. Being encouraged to “not fret” doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to the injustices that take place or do nothing to stand against them. God wants you and me to not get stressed into thinking that evil has more power over our lives than it actually does. It’s a short-term success, a fake power, a fading influence that has no deep roots to make it last.
A step in the right direction is to begin seeing things as God sees them. In the verses of Psalm 37 we’re given God’s wisdom of one who has seen life, looking back over the span of their years. Being mindful of God’s working over this time, he reflects that God is both loving and full of justice. God may well give a bully the opportunity of a second chance, to turn from their ways. God doesn’t want evil to prosper and although these people appear to have the freedom to do evil, it is not a freedom that will last. Criminals will get caught and celebrities will soon be forgotten like yesterday’s news when they reject the loving kindness of God.
What can we do to stand strong in such situations? As you read on you’ll discover a way that gains wisdom, courage and faith when we put our roots down in God.... but more about that on Thursday!
I want to share God’s heart for your heart today. He wants you to lay aside any rage and stress you are currently carrying by releasing it all to God. In return God wants to give you His peace. It’s a peace that will give you the confidence to see that good things are waiting for you tomorrow.
Father God, as I spend a while with You now, I release to You all the pressures and distractions that might draw me away from this moment with You. I want to know Your peace deep in my heart regarding the challenges from people that I face. In Jesus' name.
As a Youth Pastor, most of Paul's books are written with young people in mind. Paul has also written "Devotions for busy people," which is geared towards those of an age who no longer find themselves in the category of young person! This 40 day devotional takes the reader deeply into the 34th chapter of the book of Psalms, unearthing its meaning and helping us to discover a renewed dependence on God.