The Cure for a Fretting Spirit

July 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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Insight from A. W. Tozer

The Holy Spirit in Psalm 37 admonishes us to beware of irritation in our religious lives: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”

The word “fret” comes to us from the Anglo-Saxon and carries with it such a variety of meanings as bring a rather pained smile to our faces. Notice how they expose us and locate us behind our disguises. The primary meaning of the word is to eat, and from there it has been extended with rare honesty to cover most of the manifestations of an irritable disposition. “To eat away; to gnaw; to chafe; to gall; to vex; to worry; to agitate; to wear away;” so says Webster, and all who have felt the exhausting, corrosive effects of fretfulness know how accurately the description fits the facts.

Now, the grace of God in the human heart works to calm the agitation that normally accompanies life in such a world as ours. The Holy Spirit acts as a lubricant to reduce the friction to a minimum and to stop the fretting and chafing in their grosser phases. But for most of us the problem is not as simple as that……….

Of one thing we may be sure, we can never escape the external stimuli that cause vexation. The world is full of them and though we were to retreat to a cave and live the remainder of our days alone we still could not lose them. The rough floor of our cave would chafe us, the weather would irritate us and the very silence would cause us to fret…………

The prayerless Christian will surely misread the signs and fret against the circumstances. That is what the Spirit warns us against.

Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him. Though the wicked spread himself like “a green bay tree” it is only for a moment. Soon he passes away is not. “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: He is their strength in the time of trouble.” This knowledge should cure the fretting spirit. – Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 67-69.

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