As our world faces the pandemic of COVID-19, it’s easy to feel anxious and fearful in the midst of uncertainty. The chaos has made it clear that many of us have imperfect peace instead of a peace that surpasses all understanding. In this message, we look at how the Bible says we should respond to anxiety and how we can find peace - even if it’s imperfect.
JD Rodgers: All right, here we go. What's up, all my friends, all the Porchies tuned in live right now at home, cuddled up in quarantine. Thanks for taking precaution and not coming here to Watermark tonight. Just want to say welcome and welcome to the Porch.Live experience. We want you to know that just here shortly, I'll be interviewing Mr. David Marvin.
So what I'd like for you to do is you can kind of zoom out in this moment, hit share, and tell all your friends to tune in. We want everyone watching what's going to be discussed tonight. I think it's going to be really helpful, really powerful. So we'll get started here shortly. Everyone, grab your hand sanitizer, sanitize up, and we'll see you soon. Let's go, Porch!
David Marvin: All right, what's up, guys? Hey, this is David. I'm joined by my friend JD Rodgers.
JD: Hey, everyone.
David: If you haven't gotten to meet JD, he's a part of a leadership here and we are doing what is probably going to be the first of several different things where we stream messages on Tuesday nights for at least the next few weeks or the time being. Who knows how long that'll take place?
But we're going to do what we always do, which is look at God's Word and say, "What does it look like in this season of young adulthood and practically apply Scripture and principles in the midst of any season of life, and particularly in this season of life." What a crazy time, dude.
JD: Yeah, I mean, it really is just crazy all that's happening, just with the virus and the way that the world is responding to it. So I'm glad that we get to come to a place like this and talk about it. Hopefully, it'll be helpful just to talk about all that's going on. I'm just excited. I know for me, David, I'm 26, single, and I'm sitting in my apartment watching all that's happening.
The media is giving so many mixed messages. I am at home going, "I don't even know where to begin." I wish I was way more media savvy, news savvy before this. I don't know which voices to trust. I don't know. It seems like Trump is on there every day telling us things. It seems like, for our city of Dallas, things are changing every single day.
I'm going, "What do I do? How do I actually respond? Should I be more afraid than I am? Should I be more cautious than I am? Are we even six feet right now?" I think you have a lot of wisdom on this topic and just even getting to talk with you for just a little bit, I think you have a lot to provide for the people watching right now and the people tuning in. By the way, shout out to our friends on YouTube streaming with us.
David: YouTube! Streaming with us live!
JD: We're trying to push more and more for our YouTube page, so I'm glad you all are here. I just want to hear from you. I'm about to take the posture of just a student in this moment and just let you let me have it, all I should know about how we should respond as Christians, as people, to the coronavirus. I'm just excited to hear from you. So thanks for letting me sit in this chair and listen to you.
David: Dude, I think both of us are going to get a chance to hear just from God's Word and what it says. The principles in the midst of all the craziness in the world around us, of anxiety and how to find peace, have never been more relevant. Tragically, too many Christians in the midst of a virus or just life…
Even before the virus, their life was marked by anxiety and yet God calls us and has invited us to a life that's marked by peace. I'll start by sharing this. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to go speak at another ministry organization that was a few hours away. I had a chance to take some friends with me on a plane that a mutual friend of ours had allowed us… Basically, it was the most random scenario. There have not been many times in my life… In fact, this would be probably the only ever time…
JD: Same. Same.
David: …where somebody's like, "Yeah dude, we're not using the plane. If you want to take it down there for ministry purposes and speak and then fly back…" Because I had back-to-back speaking engagements two days in a row. And they let us!
JD: It was so sketchy, though.
David: It was so sketchy. Well, it's a great plane, if you're listening. A friend of mine, who used to work for me actually, was the pilot. He was like, "Yeah, we'll take you down there. We'll take you on the plane. We'll fly you down." I was like, "Dude, that's amazing." It was a small two-prop, which is two propeller, plane.
All this excitement was filled with, "That's going to be incredible," two weeks out. A few days before, I was like, "Oh my gosh. I know this guy. I know the pilot." The pilot is somebody…It's almost like a brain surgeon. You don't want to be buddy-buddy with the brain surgeon.
David: You don't want to have any relationship with him. You don't want him to be the guy like, "Oh, remember that one time that was so funny…" So anyway, as we were preparing for it, my Community Group, JD, and another friend of ours were going down. They were going to join me to fly in, speak, and then fly back.
JD: Didn't know what to expect, honestly. Getting on the plane.
David: No, totally. The weather…
David: That we began to realize it was stormy. So like 24 hours before… I have a friend who is the pilot. I honestly don't even know if he flies planes. It could be a whole joke. It's stormy weather. I remember telling my wife like, "Hey, if we don't make it back, here's where the will is and here's what to do."
JD: Oh my gosh.
David: Do you know that scene in Armageddon where all the astronauts are hugging their wives? Maybe this is like the last… It felt like that. Honestly, all of my Community Group ironically, or not ironically at all, felt that same way.
JD: I actually called my mom.
David: I bet you did!
JD: I did. I called her.
David: I bet you did. Here was the biggest irony. I was flying down there to teach on anxiety and how you can experience peace from it. We're on the plane, and it's bumpy, and I'm feeling every single bump. I just remember feeling a mixture of hypocrisy, irony, and God teaching me something because I'm flying in to teach on anxiety and the topic of experiencing freedom from it, and yet what is filling me right now is anxiety.
JD: And it's hilarious because you'll have to know… It's a pretty small plane, and there were how many guys?
JD: There were six grown adult men on this plane. I'll never forget. We're all like trying to low-key act tough, but at the end of the day, it starts to storm. I remember looking at my friend and he was looking at me and I was like, "You scared?" He was like, "Yeah, I'm scared." We grab hands. We're just praying.
David: This part I did not know, okay?
JD: We're just up in the front just praying, sharing a one-seater.
David: Oh my gosh! Dude, but how hilarious that you have six Christian people, one of which is flying in to teach thousands of people on anxiety, and his life is marked by anxiety? I start there because I think a lot of us experience this, despite the fact that the Bible promises or calls Christians to a life that is guarded by a peace that surpasses understanding.
Philippians, chapter 4, says that God wants you to experience a life that is marked by a peace that surpasses understanding. So many of us, as Christians, experience anxiety that surpasses understanding or an imperfect peace, despite the fact that God says in Isaiah, chapter 26, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
Yet that's often not the case or the experience of a lot of people in our lives. So I think as a Christian, the constant question is, "How do I continue to apply, rightly, the principles that God has given us on fighting anxiety?" Whether it's in the midst of a corona epidemic where I know a lot of us are… What's at stake is not just, "Maybe I get some symptoms of a cold that in my generation the effects are not really that big." But, "I may lose my job," is probably a more fearful thing.
JD: Yeah, I would say. I went out with a friend yesterday…six feet apart, obviously. They were just expressing to me like, "Hey, I actually don't know what to do." They just moved to Dallas to start a new job and they get a call from their job and they're like, "Hey, no one can come in until like a month."
That means that they moved here expecting to get a paycheck to start paying their rent in their new apartment, which they're not cheap in Dallas, and they're not going to get that paycheck because they're not getting to start work. No HR, no nothing. They haven't gotten to do any of the process. Now they are literally stuck in Dallas in an apartment, jobless. They're just like expressing, "I couldn't have predicted this. What do I do?"
David: Yeah, and, "What do I do with those feelings of anxiety?" There are thousands of people infected in our country. By the time you listen to this, if it's a week late, there may be 10 times that. Which means there are hundreds of thousands of people who have someone they know who is being impacted.
So we just wanted to open up and talk a little bit about the subject of anxiety and what God's Word says. It's a timeless conversation. The truths from God's Word are timeless regardless of what's going on around us, but we know that's a real scenario. There are thousands of people who listen in to The Porch who are in Seattle, Phoenix, at the 15 different Porch.Live locations and in Dallas and all over.
So we know everyone is experiencing some degree of being impacted by this and likely is being impacted by the future of uncertainty that faces all of us. So what I wanted to do is just open up a few things that we know from Scripture from God's Word and just talk a little bit about some of the stuff that it says. The Bible says…Here's the way that I'll put it. If there was a slogan for the Bible, it would be, "Do not fear." Slogan. What I mean by that is, what's your favorite company slogan? Like Nike, "Just do it." Arby's…what's the Arby's? It's, "We have the meats."
JD: That one's weird.
David: Yeah that one is kind of weird.
JD: I think mine is…
David: Or "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline."
JD: " Every kiss begins with Kay."
David: " Every kiss begins with Kay." That's right.
JD: Mine is… I go to the Donut Palace down the road, and their slogan is, "You deserve a donut." It just makes me feel good about myself.
David: That is one of the… No one… I've never heard of the Donut Palace.
JD: I promise you, David, everyone… There's the classic… It says "Donut" in red letters.
JD: Everyone knows those places. They're all over. Yeah, that's like the Donut Palace.
David: So like your version of that and on the bag they have…
JD: Every bag has the pink sprinkled donut, and it says, "You deserve a donut." And I'm like, "You know what? I do deserve donut. It's Monday."
David: I love it. Dude, I love it. Whatever slogan is your favorite, here's what… If the Bible had a slogan, whether this would be it or it would be in the top three would be, "Do not fear." It would be the slogan or it would at least be in the top three of things. The reason I say that is the most repeated command in all of Scripture is, "Do not fear."
More than believe, pray, anything you would pick up; more than, "Don't have sex outside of marriage," the most repeated command in the Bible is, "Do not fear." So God wants us to experience a life, no matter what is going on, that knows and is marked by peace or not by fear. It says it 366 times. We joked in The Porch before, that is one for every day of the year if you took all of them out, including leap year, like one that we're in right now. God is clearly hammering home this message.
So first, the high level that God doesn't want his people to live in fear so he has given principles and a path towards us really experiencing that. I think one of the things that I think is redeeming of corona at least in the little bit amount of time that we've all had seeing it, is it has kind of put things into perspective.
It's begun to remind us that as Christians, biblically, we're not home. A virus popping up reminds us that, "Oh man, we live in a broken world that is full of sickness and death." Sometimes because we live in America, it's so protected. Viruses that pop up in most of history or have popped up that wipe out huge amounts of the population, we kind of have medical staff and we're like, "Oh, you get a shot for that."
Now we're being reminded, "No, life and mortality or your death is a real, inevitable thing." There are some redeeming aspects that have come with it that can remind us, "I'm not home." When I was in…I spent like five weeks in Africa when I was in college. It was a summer. It was a long time. It was a really long time.
JD: What part of Africa?
David: East Uganda.
JD: Oh. I love Africa.
David: Dude, we were like two hours outside of Kampala.
David: We were in the bush. When people talk about, "Go out with the bush?" We were there. We were by the bush. It was so far off the grid. We stayed in this village. I mean, the experiences… We could talk for endless amounts of time.
JD: That's amazing.
David: I remember at some points when we were kind of nearing the end of it, there would be certain niceties that we got every once in a while. We get like, "Oh, we get Coca-Cola, cold." We get a cold beverage this time or we get to go experience eating at a restaurant and not just eating rice and beans and plantains out in this village.
There were some different things that were kind of niceties in our experience. There would be times that we were looking forward to that and then it wouldn't happen. It was like, "Oh man, that's a letdown." Or times when our experience had a change of plans or somebody got sick. Like I got ringworm at one point, which is not a fun experience to go through.
JD: You still…? Does that stay?
David: No, I actually still have ringworm. No. Went through… What if I did and I still have ringworm?
JD: I wouldn't work for you.
David: Just these like different… Man, that's really unfortunate. But every time because of the perspective of, "Oh, I'm going home soon. This is not my permanent and new reality forever. I'm not home. I can face this." It put those frustrations or disappointments or even sicknesses all into perspective.
That, "Hey, I don't have access to Advil right now, but I will soon. I'm going home. I'm not home." It just was a constant reminder. In some ways, one of the reminders for Christians I think that corona has put in the forefront of us, is the reminder, "You are not home." It can be so tempting to make my life and try to make it so comfortable.
One of the things, I don't know if it's done this for you. It's put it into perspective, "Man, I'm not home." This life, the psalms say, is a vapor. Some of you guys are in cold environments right now. You're streaming in. When you go outside and you breathe and you see the air. You know when you breathe and it's cold outside, you can see your breath and then it disappears.
That's what the Scriptures say our lives are like. So to hide behind this, "We're going to be here forever. Life is going to go on forever." I'm not trying to invalidate some of the pain and some of the tragic scenarios that people are walking in. Who knows, man? You and I could be sick in any amount of time.
JD: Yeah, at least we're both going to…together.
David: Yeah, exactly. Sick as a result of this. And with ringworm again! But no matter what, as Christians, we've been told this is not our home. Philippians, chapter 3, verse 20 says, "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." To make all things new and put all viruses aside. God has commanded us, in the midst of this, to not fear. "I'm in control."
JD: Yeah. What I'm recognizing with this is it's causing a lot of people, at least my age, to really think. They're forced to think. I was talking… All the colleges have basically shut down, so a lot of college students from Virginia, Austin…different people…are back in Dallas. I was talking with a few of them this morning, and one of them was telling me that a group of her friends are essentially talking about, "Why is God allowing this to happen?"
They're just pondering that, of, "Why is God not stopping this crisis? Why is he letting this spread?" It was just interesting hearing the different takes on different people's thoughts and perspectives on why God was allowing this or what God was doing with this and trying to pinpoint, "Okay, what's his reason? What's he doing?"
You know, of course there were things like, "Maybe he's trying to point people back to him. Maybe he is explaining his sovereignty, how he is in control." All these different things. So we get down on that, but I think what's just so unique about what is happening with this spread and the virus is so many people are like, "Wow! It's crazy how much life can change."
I mean, if you think about what's happening, I've never in my 26 years of life experienced anything like this. The closest thing was like post-9/11 when I was like in second grade, but I mean the world is…It feels like it's shutting down. Social media, just the different things that you're seeing take place around the world is just crazy. So you're right. It's just bringing this whole, these thoughts that I've never thought about before regarding life and, "What's the point? What's the deeper meaning? What have I been distracting myself with?"
David: Yeah, it's broken through that mold. There's a passage I want us to read from Matthew, chapter 6, where Jesus talks about… We're so, I don't know if it's blessed, but we are so blessed in America that we forget how most people in the world today live and how most people throughout history live.
I've heard it said that the average person in the 1500s thought about their death every single day. The average Christian never thinks about their death, the average young adult, at least. They think they're immortal. They're going to live for forever, but when the life expectancy not many centuries ago was 45, you were confronted with the reality that, "I'm not going to live forever."
So to your point, it is causing people to be confronted with the fact that there's brokenness in our world, my death or mortality is a real thing, and what am I living for? Jesus spoke in a context in Matthew, chapter 6, where he spoke to an audience who did live in a time where there weren't antibiotics and there weren't some of the niceties that we have. Refrigeration wasn't around, different things.
He spoke about the topic of anxiety. I just think it's so relevant. So I'm going to start in Matthew, chapter 6, verses 25 through 34. Jesus says, starting in verse 25, "…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap [as in plant or harvest and get food] or store away in barns…" Or go raid their local Target of toilet paper.
"…and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." Or provides for them. "Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe [provide for] you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans [people who do not have a relationship with their heavenly Father] …"
They don't know they have a heavenly Father. They "…run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first…" This is what I think is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied verses as it relates to anxiety. "…seek [prioritize] first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Jesus said so many different things that are relevant about anxiety. Like, "Hey, what benefit is worry? Which you can't add anything to your life." Basically getting his whole audience to go, "Worry is not really helpful, so spending time worrying about something…" He is not saying, "Don't be thoughtful. Don't be practical or wash your hands or care about things."
He is not just like Bob Marley sitting on a beach with an actual Corona beer or something. He is saying, "Actually, be thoughtful, but at the end of the day, you don't have to have a life that worries and that is marked by worry because you have a heavenly Father who has promised to provide and to care for your needs." Ultimately, on the cross through Jesus dying he provided in the most ultimate way. But he has promised, "You have a heavenly Father who cares about you."
Then as it relates to the seek first, I think it's so relevant to where we are because it's one of the most misunderstood principles on anxiety. The reason I say that is Jesus essentially says, "Hey, I want you to prioritize first, as first in your life, God's kingdom or God's reign or God's agenda for your life.
Whatever God's will for your life is? Prioritize that. Prioritize what God wants for your life above yours. Let there be no competition for whose will and whose kingdom comes first." His kingdom, his desires, what he wants, what he wishes would happen or what God wants to happen…he says to prioritize those things first.
I think most people read this verse and they think Jesus is just saying, "Hey, don't worry. Just go on a mission trip. Don't worry. Just have a quiet time." In doing so, neither of those are bad things. Those are great things, things you should do, but that misses the broader application of what Jesus is saying, where he is saying, "Hey, I want you to embrace as first on the throne of your life, God's kingdom."
Focus on that, prioritize that, embrace that, and his will for your life, above your will for your life. Even when they contradict is where I think they become really practical. The two ways that we think about God's will, and so help me flesh this out if this doesn't make sense.
JD: Yeah, can I just really fast? When I read that verse, I think for me just right now personally where I get convicted is I'm so prone to take part two of that verse, "…and all these things will be given to you as well." I think I want all of these things to be added to me without seeking first the kingdom of God or what he wants.
Because I think I know that when I seek God and what he wants, the things I want to be added to me will probably change. So right now what I want to be added to me is, "Will you get rid of this thing so that way I can get back to my normal life?" But what if I sought the kingdom of God first and what actually changed in me was, "Hey, if this means that our world will come back to you, then so be it"?
JD: That's scary. That's a scary thing to ask essentially for suffering, to ask for persecution, to ask to go through a trial, because that's just not how I'm prone to think. I'm prone to go, "I want my things to be added to me."
So what that can create is this cause and effect with God where it's like, "Okay, I'll go do my quiet time. I'll seek first, and then you'll answer my prayers. These things will be added to me." It's just if you're truly seeking God's kingdom, that means that you are actually setting aside your agenda, like you said. Then your agenda is kind of nonexistent anymore. I don't want to do that.
David: Yeah, I mean if you're like, "Hey, I'll do these things so that I will get God to give me what I want." God is not your God. The things you want are your God.
JD: Yeah, you're not actually doing those things.
David: Or you are your own God.
JD: Yeah, you're playing a mind game on yourself.
David: Yeah, and so I think as it relates to prioritizing God's will for my life, what does that look like? The two ways that we know the will of God for your life is what's revealed in Scripture. It's actually like theological people or if you go to school or seminary or Bible college to study this stuff, they'll talk about how there are two wills of God.
There is the unrevealed will, which is kind of like how he allows sovereignly, which is just a word like he is in control, but he allows things to happen that are a part of our broken world, but he is still controlling things. He is still working things for good. Then there is the revealed will, which is the Bible, everything in here.
We can know, "Hey, what does God want for certain arenas of life?" We know it and we can read it. So as it relates to prioritizing first, I think it looks like, "Hey, I'm going to prioritize. I'm going to live according to what God calls me to live by as his revealed will is here. So I'm going to do what he calls me to."
Then his unrevealed will, I prioritize that by embracing as it unfolds in my life. As things go and my day unfolds before me and it's not going how I wish it would've gone or even my life is not going the way I wish it would've gone. I wish I would've been married by this age. I wish I would've not moved to Dallas and lost my job. I wish there wasn't a coronavirus that was putting everything on hold.
As that goes, I'm going to choose to embrace, "God, if that is your will, I trust you in the midst of it. I trust you're bringing things together for good. You've promised that in Romans, chapter 8. I trust that you have a plan that you are bringing according to your wisdom to pass." He is using this clearly for good.
Even where an outbreak took place in China, the church has been strengthened and people are seeing the way that Christians over there are responding. It's just showcasing, "Man, Jesus is better." He is using even the worst things. He is bringing about… So I think as a Christian, I am confronted with…
Because candidly, what I get anxious over is not God's kingdom. It's over mine. I mean, I don't know about you. You probably never do, but when I get anxious, it's like the things I don't want to happen may happen. Not like God's will happening. So whenever I'm confronted with things not going as I wish that they would, I can either be anxious or I can trust, "Man, God as your sovereign will is unfolding in front of me, I trust you. I trust you."
My worries about how I'm not ultimately going to get what I want are kind of crazy because the truth of the matter, as we've talked before, is you're not going to get everything that you want. Life and everything that you want to go as or however you want your life to go, it's not going to always going to go the way that you wish it would.
So you're not going to get everything that you want always. You can have not everything you want in life and peace or not everything that you want in life and anxiety. But having everything you want in life? That's not an option, but peace is for the believer. What I think is so hard…My son is into superheroes right now, like Avengers.
JD: Favorite one?
David: He changes every day. He wore Black Panther for Halloween. Candidly, he is wearing Black Panther right now. Wakanda.
JD: Favorite movie.
David: And I'm not kidding. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that is every day. He is fighting the coronavirus with the mask of Black Panther. He is 4, by the way.
JD: Black Panther is not getting the coronavirus.
David: No, dude. Definitely not.
JD: Honestly, he might be onto something.
David: He has that purple thing that makes him so…Anyway so he is all about it. His favorite one changes every day, so he has a new superpower every day of, "Man, I can fly!" Or do this. It's like this made-up superpower that he'll act like he has. Because you know, that's what you do when you're 4.
JD: Or 26.
David: Or 26. The stuff that… JD was actually wearing his Black Panther costume right before we started here. We thought about wearing it, but… No, it's a made-up superpower. He doesn't actually have that thing. When I think I hear people talk about, "Times like this are hard because I just struggle with control."
Even our language around that is a funny way of putting it. Because it's like my 4-year-old son saying, "Dad, I just struggle with super-Hulk strength." It's like, "No, you don't, son. That's not a good excuse for why you pushed over your sister. Because you have super-Hulk strength." That happens.
JD: I see where you're going with this.
David: In the same way, somebody who is like, "Man, I just struggle with control." You're like the 4-year-old saying, "No, I just have super-Hulk strength that I struggle with." "No, you don't. That's nuts. You struggle with not having control. You're delusional. You don't have control. You never struggle with control. You struggle with not having control."
God has invited us to a life where we surrender. Where we say, "God, I trust you. I can bring all my anxieties to you because you care for me. You're a Father in heaven who loves me. When things don't go as I wish they would, I can pray and ask those things to change, but I've been invited to trust you because I know you're good and you love me and you're at work around me. So I'm going to embrace your kingdom and your agenda for my life first." Does that make sense?
JD: Yeah, that's so relevant to this because it's moments like this where you have no control. It just shows how much… We can do nothing. We're literally just waiting around for Trump or whoever to tell us what to do next. It just does something to us because we're so used to thinking we have control.
I mean, something else that people are… This is kind of bringing up people who are talking about all that's happened in 2020. I think about when Kobe died. Kobe, you know? I think that's what people were most shocked by. He was this figure of strength. He was just a rock.
David: It's still crazy.
JD: Exactly. Then you see, boom! It's just gone. Life is a vapor. It's like, "Wait, no! Not Kobe! That can happen to random over here, but not Kobe and his daughter! What? How?" Not even Kobe had control of his life, and he had everything. God is just doing something in 2020 where he is showing the whole world, but really American people… What I'm seeing is like, I think there are parts of the world right now that are like, "Our lives are…" I mean, this isn't the biggest deal to them like it is to America. Do you know what I mean?
David: Totally. Oh yeah.
JD: We are like, "What do we do?" I mean, we're freaking out because we just don't know how to respond to these kinds of things. It's really revealing, like you're saying.
David: Totally, man. So the final thing I think is so relevant for Christians as it relates to anxiety. So if you're going, "Hey, if you put them into buckets…" Firstly, it's that knowing God has called us. We don't have to live a life of fear. He has commanded us and invited us to pursue a life that perfects that peace, increasingly more perfect peace, no matter how imperfect the peace we experience now is.
Secondly, he has invited us to trust him that he is at work. If you're a Christian, you can trust him. He is at work in the midst of your circumstances and you don't have to worry. Worrying is not helpful. It's not productive. As things unfold in front of you that are not how you want them to go, God is saying, "Trust me. I love you so much I gave my Son for you. You can trust me." Ultimately, you can see the provision of a heavenly Father through what he did through Jesus.
The final most practical thing that I think is the most overlooked is prayer. The number of people and number of times probably in my own life that I felt anxiety and it didn't move me quickly toward prayer but just toward further anxiousness and dwelling on whatever I'm worried about rather than going, "Man now, I'm going to take this moment and pray…"
I don't know what it is. It's like that fog you get in when you get anxious where you can't even snap out of it. You need somebody else to be like, "Hey, have you prayed about it? Have you prayed yet?" And you're like, "Oh, yeah. That's exactly what I should do." Philippians, chapter 4. I think we have this verse in there.
Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6 and 7 talk about, _ "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation…" _ In everything that you face. _ "…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." _
What is so nuts to me about this verse is it says the same thing three times. People will try to distinguish. We may agree to disagree here. If you go back and look at the Greek, the differences between prayer, which is bringing your requests to God; petition, which is bringing your requests to God…if you petition something, you're asking for something; and then presenting your requests to God, they all mean the same thing. So close.
In other words, sometimes I've heard people be like, "No, this is this type of prayer and this is this type of prayer." There's not really a great case for that. The usage is in the original. Let's not even go into that. Paul's point is just, "Hey, go to God. Bring your requests to God. You should bring those things, whatever you're anxious about."
First Peter, chapter 5 says, _ "Cast all your anxiety _ [everything you care about] _ on _ [God] _ because he cares for you." _ Bring all of those things. So I think as Christians, we're reminded that we are to be in constant communication, to bring every moment of anxiety that we have and bring those to our heavenly Father. We recently on my team… I'll illustrate it like this. Our staff team here, we switched to something called Microsoft Teams, which I know you've been using or have been forced to use recently.
JD: I have.
David: For people who don't know, Microsoft Teams is like if Evernote and FaceTime, and Zoom had a baby. Maybe like another one.
JD: A Slack.
David: Yes, exactly, like Slack or any work communication. It's like all those together. We switched over to it, I think, sometime last year. Nobody ever used it. Like, I'd never used it…ever.
JD: I did.
David: Production team may have, but our team never did.
JD: We used it strong and we're ready now.
David: And you are ready. Our team never used it until this week. Because it allows you to FaceTime and communicate…
JD: Now you're all waking up.
David: Now we're all waking up, so we are all over that thing because people are working remotely. The reason that's relevant is it's like, "Hey, we never used that communication until a catastrophic event hit, and now we're all over that form of communication."
JD: Yep. I'm just seeing… Everyone is posting about it on Instagram. I just keep seeing all these leaders and stuff post their teams, all their faces on the conference calls.
David: Dude, totally.
JD: It's hilarious.
David: My guess is most of them never used that until this week, until this catastrophic event.
JD: And not even know… They've asked us. It's like a thing that's like, "Hey, we need to use this. We got this to use it." And we're like, "Yeah, at some point." It's hilarious. I know where you're going with this. Obviously, God has asked us to pray.
David: Constant communication.
David: And most Christians it takes… Just like in Microsoft Teams, nobody used it until a catastrophic event or catastrophe happened.
JD: Oh, I better come to God now.
David: Yes, that's when most Christians pray. God has said, "No, this is not the Batphone where it's like, 'Man, every time there's an emergency, go to that one red phone and call it.'" It should be a constant walkie-talkie or constant texting with God, if you will, through prayer of what I'm feeling, what I'm experiencing.
So I want to give three questions really quickly and then four things that should mark Christians. Three questions if you're experiencing anxiety. First…"What am I anxious about really?" In that fog of anxiety, I just want you to ask the question, "What am I really anxious about?" Like your friend. Let's use her or him or whoever moved here, their job.
David: Her. "I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to make rent. I just signed a lease, and I'm worried I won't be able to make rent."
JD: Yeah, here's what I want to first say to her is, "That is so valid."
David: Totally valid.
JD: I want people to hear that your concern is valid.
David: You should. You should be thoughtful.
JD: As a Christian…
David: Yes, if there's an irrational level of panic, like, "I'm freaking out. I'm worried." I think then you have to go…
David: What's behind? Further behind?
JD: Yeah, pump the brakes.
David:"I'm worried I'm going to have to move back home with my parents."
"Okay, what happens if you move back home with your parents?"
"I feel like I'm going to be a failure or that this is not what I wanted to happen."
"Okay, you're ultimately worried about you not getting what you want to happen."
That's okay. It's an understandable thing, but as Christians, we've been invited to say, "God, as things don't go how I want them to, I trust you." I just want to ask the question of, "What are you really worried about? What is behind the worry?" Most people just stop and they say, "I'm worried about not making rent."
"Okay well, what happens if you don't make rent?"
"I'd have to move back home."
"What happens if you have to move back home?"
JD: My mom is divorced and can't stand…
David: …to be so toxic. "Okay, hey you're worried that God may want you to be on mission to your mom for a season. Let's just be honest. You just don't want to do that. You're worried about not getting what you want." So I just want to encourage everyone to evaluate, "Hey really, what am I worried about?"
Then the second question behind that is…"What would Scripture say to inform my worry?" Whether it's, "I don't want to live with my mom." Philippians, chapter 2 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition…" Selfish desire, like what you want. Do nothing that way. So maybe the most loving thing is that God moves you back in because he wants you to be on mission to your mom who doesn't know Jesus and has that.
So…"What is the lie behind there?" Then I would, no matter where you are, as you're trying to navigate, "What am I feeling? What am I really anxious about? What's the lie? What's the Scriptural truth? What would God say about this?" Like whatever is behind actually my worry. Then I would continue to pray and just bring those things to God, confess those things. "God, I'm anxious I have to move back in with my mom. I don't even want to admit that, but I don't want to do that right now." Just say those. Bring those honest prayers to God in the midst of this time.
JD: Yeah, I think that verse you referenced, I think a lot of people are familiar with that verse. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition…" All that. The ending of that verse, it says, "…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…" Again, control.
There's something about even in peace, we want to understand. We want to know, "How do I get it? How do I obtain it? And how do I know when I have it?" There's just something about… It's this peace that surpasses all understanding. So it's like people are… I think they don't trust prayer because they don't really trust that they're going to…
It's like, "How do I get peace from this? There's no way. If there's no way I can get peace from this situation. You don't know it, dude. You don't know what I'm going through. You don't know how much I have to pay or how much debt I'm in. Blah, blah, blah." It's like, "There's no way I'm getting peace from this." They don't trust it. I would just say to that, I've had to take that step of, "I don't understand it."
David: You know why I think Paul says that? This is kind of my opinion, but I think it's in the text. I think he implies that as you know God, and especially the more you know him, the more you bring those things. You're like, "I don't want to move in with my mom, but I know that you're good, you love me, you're for me. You have this! You're in control. You're a great Dad."
The more you know God, the more you go, "Here's what I want to do, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I trust you. You're awesome." I think the more you know God, the more you're like, "God is awesome. He is for me. He is good. I can trust him." People whose faith amazes me, like, "Man, I have cancer and I'm praying God will take it away, but if he doesn't, that's okay," are people who know God deeply and intimately.
So that's where I think the idea of imperfect peace? There's a perfecting to peace that comes through knowing God more. The more that you know him, the more that you experience increasing levels of that ever-increasing peace or ever-perfecting peace.
JD: I always say with prayer, for people who haven't actually practiced it the way that we're called to, I always say that, "People who don't pray are people who have never prayed." I know that sounds, "Duh," but what I mean is once you have prayed biblically how you're called to and communicated with God, it creates such change in your life that you're like, "I don't ever want this to stop."
I would just encourage people that we need to pray now more than ever before. Like you said, don't just pray, "Lord, take away the coronavirus." I think a lot of people right now need to pray about those things that they're actually worried about and to spend time actually talking to God and not just like… You know, communicating with him. So it's good.
David: Here, I'll close with this. I'll give you guys four things that I think God wants to mark us right now. In my front and back yards, I'm trying to get grass to grow. It's a pretty frustrating thing. For whatever reason, God has sovereignly given me a yard that will not… Every year, I put down sod and then it dies or gets patchy. It's like, "Good grief. This is so annoying."
JD: Your neighbors have good grass?
David: Oh, they have great grass! Dude, they have the best grass! I'll take a picture and send it to you because it's like…
David: Oh my gosh, this is unbelievable, and I'm embarrassed. I look like the neighbor who is not trying. It's like, "People I am trying. I am giving it 100 out here."
JD: You're like, "Hey, Marty!" He's like, "Hey, David…"
David: Dude, he is fertilizing. It looks so incredible. Yeah, exactly. But one of the problems is weeds will come in, and I don't like to pick weeds because you have to go down. You can't just weed-eat. You have to get the roots and pull them out because those will choke out the grass. The reason I share all that is because what's interesting is weeds and grass (this is profound) require the same things to grow: soil and water and sunlight. Those are the same things. I know this is not a botany class.
David: Facts. They require the same things to grow and without those, they're not going to grow. What's interesting is faith and fear require the same thing to grow: the soil of uncertainty. In the same way that grass and weeds both grow in the same soil, so fear and faith both grow in the same soil, which is uncertainty. In this time… Yeah, you should write that down.
JD: Yeah, can you tweet that?
David: In this time, I think God wants to grow the faith of Christians. As we face uncertainty, he wants us to begin to prune, just like I'm pulling out the weeds so the grass can grow. Anytime those fears pop up, I'm taking those. I'm confessing them. I'm addressing them with God's Word. I'm doing everything I can to bring others in and just say, "Man, I'm afraid of this right now. I don't think it's what God wants for me, the Scripture says. I want to confess those things."
Because he wants us now, and I think there's such a huge chance for people and society to go, "There's something different about Christians. They're marked in uncertainty. What's growing in their lives is faith. What's growing in my life is fear."
JD: Yeah, that's good.
David: So how do I make sure that I'm disciplined? Proactively, I want to prune my life through confessing when I have a weed of fear there and addressing it with God's Word.
JD: That's what pumps me up the most about this. We've talked about this. I think this is a time like never before where the gospel and Christianity are just screaming. It's just proclaimed to the world.
David: Totally, man.
JD: I mean, that is such a good… I'm going to use that. You mind if I?
David: Dude, you steal it away. There's nothing under the sun. Hey, last four things. I think it's worth flying through these really quick.
JD: Yeah, totally. What are they doing?
David: Yeah, they're hanging at home. Netflix.
JD: Knitting a sweater?
David: Hey, turn off the Netflix. Good grief.
JD: Stop knitting. You can knit while you watch.
David: Here are four characteristics.
David: I think scripturally that we shared earlier on Instagram Live that I think God would have at least these things mark us. As I pray through, "God, increase these in my life that we should be…" There are four Ps. In this season, we should be prayerful as Christians. We should be marked by productivity in that we're not just, "Hey, what do I do every day? I'm home. I can't go to work. I just Netflix binge." We should be marked by productivity.
By proclaiming the gospel with people who are around us. And practical. Scripture says we should be practical. So what do I mean? Very quickly. Prayerful. Colossians, chapter 4, verse 2 says, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." You and I should be praying for Trump, for the administration, for leaders.
First Timothy, chapter 2 says to pray for all those who are in high places. Prayer should mark your life. You should be praying for those who are sick. Pray for a vaccine. Pray for a chance for the church to be strengthened wherever you live. You should be practical, as in it's not heroic or extra-Christian to be like, "I'm not washing my hands ever." No, that's just selfish.
JD:"I trust God."
David: One of my favorite verses in James 4, we were laughing about this before. Where James 4 says, "Wash your hands, you sinners…" Which I know someone is like, "That's not what they're talking about." I know. It's just a funny verse, at least. It's a funny context. Hey, be practical. Be thoughtful. Don't be selfish. Be considerate of things to not spread the continuation of the virus.
Be productive. Ephesians, chapter 5 says make the best use of time. So be productive. That's the third P, if you will. How do I grow in my relationship with God in this unique season where I'm slowing down? How do I connect with God? Then proclaim. How can I use this through my interactions with my neighbors, through my interactions on social media?
How can I showcase the gospel to people and that I care for people and the needs of people? Maybe there are elderly folks around you and you go out of your way to not bring virus to them, but to say, "Can I care for you? Is there anything you need in the midst of this time?" To prevent them from having to go out in public. Also, I want to proclaim faith over fear. That God is in control. I have a heavenly Father and I know that and I believe that. Yeah, I think that would be all that I have.
JD: Hey, that's good stuff.
David: Come on, dude.
JD: I know I'm encouraged. I'm walking away… Like, seriously, I'm not just saying this because you're my boss.
David: And he has to.
JD: I'm walking away way more empowered.
David: Thank you.
JD: And just way more… I feel like I just have more purpose in this pandemic. I think I have a lot more now just to be equipped in to help people. Because I do think that this isn't over soon.
David: No, I think you're right.
JD: So I think grabbing onto resources like this is really helpful. So thanks for just taking time. I know you have a family. I know you have things that… You have a lot going on. You're trying to run a ministry now in all digital. So thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and those tuning in live right now and just sharing your wisdom. It's super-helpful.
David: I would not miss it. We love Porch Nation and love my own family and love the Porch family I get to be a part of. So let me pray. Hey, if you are on YouTube watching this, we'd love to hear from you. What are you going through? How can we be praying for you? You can go to theporch.live/prayer. We'd love as a team to pray for you.
You can also send us and hit us up on Instagram and just let us know what prayer requests. We may even put out an official one of those, like he said, on YouTube earlier. If you're hitting this, make sure to hit subscribe so that you're notified. Because we're going to go live regularly and at least every Tuesday.
JD: We're going to try to funnel more onto our YouTube channel. So that's why we want try to subscribe. It's not like, "Girl! A following!" It's like, "No, we actually want you to be notified because more than ever before, we're going to be utilizing YouTube."
David: That's right, man.
JD: That's kind of the intent behind that.
David: I love it. Hey, let me pray.
God, thank you for just the chance through digital communication and through technology and just all the different people who are a part of helping to put this on, you are allowing us to still communicate your Word all over different cities and states and people's homes.
So I pray that whatever we shared today was in line with your Word and it would be remembered and applied. Would you apply those deeper and help JD and myself to more deeply apply just those principles to experience increasing peace in our own lives from the God who has invited us to experience it?
So we pray that you would stop the virus, you would provide a vaccine and a cure, but we pray that you would help your church to be strong and full of faith, not fear, in this time. Help us to be marked by that and to live that out. We love you. Thank you, Jesus. Would you come quickly? If you don't, would you make much of yourself in the midst of this? We love you. Amen.
JD: Amen. All right.
David: All right. We'll see you next week.
JD: Hey, well. Elbows?
JD: You guys stay safe out there.
David: [Using hand sanitizer] This is worth like $1,000. Like, that's incredible. All right, hey, we'll see you next week!
JD: Until next time.