A hand catching a rotten apple
A hand catching a rotten apple

 Fret Not – Avoiding Bad Fruit

In Psalm 37, the phrase, "fret not yourself," appears three times. While encouraging God's people not to fret, this passage of Scripture also provides reasons why we are prone to do so:

  1. "Because of evildoers" (v. 1).
  2. Because of "the one who prospers in his way," in reference to the one "who carries out evil" (v. 7).

Therefore, we should not give in to fret for "it tends only to evil"(v. 8).

The Lord impressed these words, "fret not yourself," upon my heart as I sought ministry direction for 2021. I always associated "fret" with worry, anxiety or angst, but I have since learned that it contains a fuller meaning.

In this Psalm, the Hebrew translation for "fret not yourself" is "do not get heated." In other words, we are to refrain from agitation, anger or irritation when we see the plans of the wicked advance and succeed. Reading Psalm 37:1-8 with this understanding illuminates the tension between recognizing the endeavours of unrighteousness, while refusing to exercise an ungodly response.

In the Christian life, heeding the instruction to "fret not yourself" is imperative, as there can be ample opportunities to do just the opposite. The news I receive daily in my email inbox can cause me to get heated, perturbed and unhinged. For example, here is a sampling of the headlines I received during the week of writing this message:

  • "Nigeria's Military Executes Six Christian Soldiers Framed for Crime, Human Rights Leaders Say" (Christian Post).
  • "Christians in Kenya Fearful after Five Church Buildings Burned – Arsonists Throw Feces on the Ruined Structures" (Morning Star News).
  • "Algeria: Violations of the Religious Freedom of Christians" (Middle East Concern).
  • "Pakistani Christians Enslaved in Labour Camps to Pay Debts" (Mission Network News).

As I read these reports and felt my temperature rise, I heard the Biblical admonition, "Fret not yourself." Why? Because I realize that when I respond to persecution with unrighteous anger, I produce bad fruit. Righteous actions, however, yield good fruit that nourish the soul and those I seek to serve.

In my next blog, I will tackle how we can respond in a manner that tends not toward evil. Until then, be encouraged by these words from the Apostle Peter: 

"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. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV).

For His glory,
Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.