Playlist - wk 5 - I Ain't Worried
I Ain’t Worried
I Ain’t Worried
We just have a couple more weeks of this series remaining. This has been a fun series and it’s hard to believe that we’ve already listened to four different songs. Today’s song is fairly new. After it’s debut, it reached number six on the charts in the US. If you have seen the new Top Gun movie you have heard this song. Not only was it written specifically for the movie, but for a specific scene in the movie.
If you have seen the movie, you may remember the scene when Maverick and his students took a break from their rigorous training to play football on the beach. They had a certain amount of time to learn, memorize, and perfect very specific and almost impossible maneuvers. Training wasn’t going well. The pressure and the stress was having a major impact on them and they weren’t working well together, so Maverick takes them to the beach to play football so they can learn to work together.
The song does a great job at conveying this feeling. There is a lot of pressure and stress, and there isn’t much time to get it done. People are watching you with expectations of success. You may even feel like you have to live up to standards set by someone who came before you, or did the same job first and left you with a high bar to cross.
If you are facing a stressful situation, I believe God has something for you today. We’ll see some high stress examples of people in scripture serving God and knocking it out of the park. How did they do it? Sticking with the baseball metaphor: when God calls me to hit a home run, how can I step up to the plate and handle the stress?
The “One Voice Children’s Choir” just released their version of this song, so we will watch them sing it. You will remember them from the song we did a few weeks ago called “Brave.” Our song today is “I Ain’t Worried” by OneRepublic. Let’s listen to One Voice perform it, then we will dive into scripture…
Play “I Ain’t Worried - One Voice”
The other day Mike and I played a round of golf here at the Cordell golf course. We were about to tee off at one of the tee boxes when someone pulled up on their golf cart next to us. Up to that point I was doing okay. By some miracle I hadn’t lost any golf balls yet or anything. Now that this guy was watching I suddenly felt some pressure. As I stepped up to my ball I started thinking…
“Okay. How’s my form? Am I holding the club right? Did I tee up to high? Was that practice swing okay? Did I look up? Am I aimed right? What if I miss the ball all together while he is watching?” The more I thought about it, the more nervous I got. The more nervous I got, the more I became concerned with every little detail about my golf swing. Then, sure enough, when I finally hit the ball it sliced straight out into a field. I would never find it. I had to hit again.
When I walked up to hit a second time, all of these same thoughts started making their way into my head again. So I stepped up to the ball, toe to toe if you will, and thought to myself a variation of this song. “Maybe I should be scared, but I ain’t worried about it right now.” “Sure, I could be nervous, but who cares. Just relax and have fun.” Then I crushed it. Straight toward the green.I know that is a silly example and life is usually more serious and complicated than hitting a golf ball. We all face more difficult things than that every day.
My friend called me the other day because he is trying to fix a leak on a roof and working on it made it worse. He said that it is discouraging and he doesn’t know why he can’t do it right and if I could look at it I would be able to just see it and fix it. He doesn’t understand why he can’t figure it out. If you’ve ever fixed a leak, it’s very rare that you can just walk up to it and know what’s wrong. His reasoning wasn’t even true, but the pressure was making him feel like a failure.
Maybe when you were growing up you felt like your parents hung the stars! They were so amazing, and trying to live up to that standard makes you feel like a failure. Or maybe your family was the opposite and so you created a standard for yourself to never be that way.
Maybe you feel bogged down by goals and deadlines at work, with debt, with your health, with your prayer life, your relationship with God, serving God, or sharing the Good News with someone. Whatever it is that causes you to get a little nervous, think you should be scared, or even get hit with anxiety and become completely unable to function…
I pray that as you climb up on that roof, walk up to that friend, open up your bible, step into your prayer closet, step up to the plate, or even walk up on that tee box, you would be able to take a deep breath and say, “I AIN’T WORRIED.” Time is running out, but I ain’t worried about it right now.
We can find many examples of people in scripture who were given serious tasks by God where time was running out and the pressure was high. In fact, one of the lines in this song say, “Swimming in the floods, dancing on the clouds below, I ain’t worried about it.” That line immediately made me think of Noah with the flood waters being higher than the clouds and he was essentially swimming in them. Floating, at least.
I wonder, how much pressure did Noah feel? Imagine God walking up to you and saying, “Listen. It’s bad. I have decided to end it. I am starting over, and you are my number two. Here are some blue prints for a boat and a list of everything that needs to go in it. Everyone else is out. It’s just you and your family.” Talk about pressure. We may not know exactly how Noah felt about this, but we know what he did…
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
He took a deep breath, pushed aside the worry, and got the job done. One of my favorite stories in scripture is Elijah’s story. I love the imagery of service that we see from his life. God called him to do some very high pressure tasks. He tells him to do something, then Elijah does it. This happens over and over again, until the pressure finally catches up to him and he breaks down.
He runs, hides, then lays down under a tree and waits to die. So God’s like, “Okay, get up and meet me on the mountain.” So Elijah stands there as God sends mighty winds, an earthquake, and fire before He shows up to Elijah in a gentle whisper. I like to think of God essentially giving him a deep breath, loosening him up, lighting a fire under him, and gently handling his needs.
God tells him to go back and do what he was called to do. “You’re not alone, Elijah. There are thousands of others with you.” So what does Elijah do?
1 Kings 19:19 (NLT)
19 So Elijah went...
*I was telling Amy and mom this morning that storms in Oklahoma should be called “Elijah Storms.” We are normally in a drought, but when the rain finally comes, we get hit with intense winds, then earthquakes, and fire. After the storm it’s always calm like a gentle whisper.*
Moses faced numerous high pressure situations. Pick any one moment in his life, and it was probably a situation where he had to step back and say, “I ain’t worried about it right now.” After Moses died, it became Joshua’s job to lead the Israelites into the promised land. A big task. A huge responsibility. A ton of pressure. The first thing God tells him, and he says it three different times, “Be strong and courageous.”
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Don’t be worried. Take a deep breath, be strong and courageous, and do the work you are called to. God is with you wherever you go. At the end of his life, Joshua famously tells the Israelites to throw away the false gods their ancestors worshiped and serve God. They had to decide if they were going to continue to serve the false gods or the one true God. That’s when he made the often quoted declaration, Joshua 24:15b “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Paul celebrated the Thessalonians for their faith. They were in the middle of severe suffering, yet with joy they welcomed the message of the Good News. Their faith became known everywhere as people told how they turned from idols to serving the living God.
When it comes to serving God, sometimes we can look at people in the bible and get a little overwhelmed. Like my friend was discouraged trying to fix a leak, sometimes we see what is possible with God but when I look at my life I think, “Wow, I could never do that. My faith is not at that level. God used Elijah to perform powerful miracles, Joshua to lead a nation and fight battles, and yesterday I put my shoe on the wrong foot!” How can I not be discouraged?
This song is saying the same thing to me about life that God is saying. “Relax, don’t worry about it, take it easy, and give it all you’ve got!” Relax but give it all you’ve got makes me think about something Peter said in chapter two of first Peter. He wrote…
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
Live as free people. Live as God’s slaves. Isn’t that interesting? Live as free people and as slaves. In the same sentence. Clearly, he is saying something here that we need to stop and think about. What does it mean to live as a free slave to God?
LIVE IN FREEDOM AS A SLAVE TO GOD.
LIVE IN FREEDOM AS A SLAVE TO GOD.
John Piper had some insightful thoughts about being a servant of God, so I want to share some of his thoughts today. Especially if we feel overwhelmed, anxious, or scared to serve God, the first thing we should ask ourselves is, “why do I serve God?” The better question to ask is, “What drives me to serve God?” What is your motivation, your inspiration, or your desire for serving God? If you are worried, anxious, scared, or overwhelmed, you may trying to serve from the wrong heart of service.
Let me clarify by going back to the golf analogy. When I suddenly gained an audience on the tee box, my motivation for hitting the ball changed. I went from having fun and enjoying myself —> to needing to impress. I had to succeed at multiple new tasks, such as, hitting the ball straight, having a good swing, getting good distance, and so on. I needed to earn something from that guy. Respect, admiration, acceptance. I had the wrong heart.
When I serve God, what is my motivation? Am I serving out of a heart of love or do I feel the need to earn something, impress God, or be “good enough” for Him? When explaining righteousness through faith, Paul said that being justified by faith removes your ability to boast. However, faith also doesn’t nullify the law, but upholds it. Instead of getting rid of it, faith changes the way you think…
4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
John Piper describes it this way...
“If we start serving God as though we could earn wages from him, or as though we could meet his needs, or as though we could put him in our debt and make him our beneficiary, red biblical lights start flashing very brightly… Yes, serve God, but not by presuming to meet His need. He owns everything. He doesn’t need your supply. We call on Him in need, not the other way around.” -John Piper
How do we have the “right heart” when it comes to serving God? The first thing we should understand is that our service to God is not a gift to God, but rather an acceptance of His service in us. In other words…
1. GOD PROVIDES THE STRENGTH TO SERVE
1. GOD PROVIDES THE STRENGTH TO SERVE
Serving God is a gift. It’s not a gift to God. It’s more than just a gift to the person who will benefit from it. It is a gift originally given to me by God. Peter said that when you serve, God gave you the power for that service, a gift, so that God would be glorified. If we see ourselves as serving God as a way to repay Him in gratitude, we are pointing people away from God’s all supplying grace to our own self-produced moral efforts.
If you are taking notes, I would encourage you to write this one down because it is worth pondering later…
11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Every step you take serving God is a gift of His grace to you. Paul echoes this thought in 1 Corinthians. He says that he worked harder than anyone, but it wasn’t because of his own efforts. It was God’s grace working in him…
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
To quote John Piper again, he really solidifies this thought by saying…
“We should never think of our service to God as a way to repay Him in gratitude for His goodness to us, because every step we take in that so-called payback is another gift from Him, and it takes us deeper into debt to grace, which is a glorious place to be forever and ever and ever. We will never not be debtors to God’s grace. For all eternity, with every act of glad obedience, we will go deeper and happier into debt to the praise of the glory of His grace.” -John Piper
To serve God with a “right heart” we must first realize that God provides the strength to serve. Second, we must find our treasure in God…
2. MY HEART CHASES WHAT I TREASURE
2. MY HEART CHASES WHAT I TREASURE
Toward the end of the song there are some lyrics that caught me a little off guard. It says, “I’m at my best when I got something I’m wanting to steal.” I’ve never wanted to steal anything. In order for me to get to a place where I would be willing to steal something, I would have to REALLY want it. It would have to be something I treasured above anything else. Jesus talked about treasure. He said that your heart will be where your treasure is. In that same passage, He also talked about serving…
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Jesus is comparing serving God to serving money. How do you serve money? How would serving money compare to serving God? Serving money doesn’t mean that you do something to meet the needs of money. You aren’t doing things that money told you to do. You serve money by planning your efforts around the benefits that money promises. You calculate your life around gaining more of it and it’s promises. Serving money means positioning yourself in a way to gain the greatest benefit from money.
By comparison, that is another way to serve God. You serve God by planning your efforts around all that God promises. I promise this is the last time I will quote John Piper, but I love the imagery he gives with this thought. He calls it “Life under the waterfall.”
“Your life revolves around trying to put yourself under the waterfall of God’s greatest blessing, positioning yourself for the greatest benefit God has to give — namely, Himself.” -John Piper
The “right heart” treasures God, and serves Him by chasing after Him as if you were trying to gain as much as possible. You are at your best when you want our loving God that much. That takes us into our final thought. We serve God with the right heart by realizing that He provides the strength to serve and that our hearts chase what we treasure. Third…
3. SERVE LIKE A BILLIONAIRE
3. SERVE LIKE A BILLIONAIRE
This is probably my favorite line in the song…
I don’t know what you’ve been told
but time is running out, so spend it like it’s gold
I’m living like I’m nine zeros
Got no regrets even when I’m broke.
In my own words, “your time is valuable, so spend it like you have WAY TOO MUCH, even if you have none!” Remember, God provides the strength to serve, so if you don’t have any strength you already have an advantage over everyone else because you can’t rely on your own strength! You are free to live like you are nine zeros, even when you are broke.
Serve as if your service has a value and you have more of it than you will ever be able to give away. Even if you somehow manage to give it all away and you go broke, you won’t have any regrets. I love the imagery Jesus gave about giving when He was teaching in Luke chapter 6…
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Whatever strength God has given you to serve, serve as if you were trying to spend all of it. Serve God as if He were the only treasure that mattered, and spend all you have chasing after Him. Serve with God’s grace as if you were rich beyond measure and your goal was to share all of it. Because, in truth, we are more than billionaires in the currency of grace. We have been given so much grace that we could never repay that debt if we ever even tried.
I ain’t worried about it. I just want to let God give me the strength to serve Him, I want Him to be my treasure, and I want to live in His grace like I’m nine zeros. I want to live as a free person. I want to live as a slave to God.