If you have ever read an old Mad Magazine, ( young folks, sorry, you probably have no clue) you recognize this phrase immediately. I don't even remember why it was supposed to be funny. The fact is, though, we do joke about worrying all the time. For some of you, it is your full time job! There certainly are a lot of things that we can worry about. As a grandparent we could possibly have four generations to worry about. We may have one or both parents still living, but often times in need of full time care. We have our own lives, jobs, spouses and friends that might be in difficult circumstances. Then we have our children, who generally are starting their families, careers and maybe buying a home. To top it off, we have our grandchildren, who have to grow up in a society that is growing increasingly hostile to our Christian values. We wonder how they will make it. I'm sorry, are you getting worried and depressed? There definitely are a lot of things that we can worry about, but should we worry?
Last time, we talked about trusting in God. Did you know that worrying is the exact opposite of trusting? In fact, worrying is in reality, a sin. Now don't get all upset, just look at the Bible with me and see if I'm right. The Lord knows that worrying is an issue for us, so He speaks to us about it in His word. Let's look at some of these verses.
1. Matt 6:25-26 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
2. Matt 6:34 therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
3. Matt 10:19-20 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
4. Luke 12:11-12 "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
In these verses, the phrase "do not worry" is called a present imperative with a negative. Translation, it is a command! That is why I can say to you that when we worry, we directly disobey our Lord. Why would God give us such a command? Well, He knows that worrying never accomplishes anything positive. I love what He says in verse 27 of Matthew 6. "Who of you, by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" The fact is that all medical research shows just the opposite. Worrying leads to negative stress, which is a leading factor in many medical problems, especially concerning the heart. You see, when we worry, we are actually telling the Lord that we don't trust Him to provide for all of our needs. If you look at these verses, you will see that He has promised us that He will provide for us, so we needn't worry. In fact, the more you read the Bible, the more you will see that God has a long record of providing for His children.
It is a simple formula. Worry = stress, Trust=peace. Why do we find this such a hard command to follow even though we know this to be true? I think it boils down to one thing. We lack faith. On five different occasions in the book of Matthew, Jesus chided the disciples for their lack of faith. They worried about food, clothing, and safety, just like we do. When we worry, would He not say the same to us? I know that this may be difficult to accept, but when we worry it displeases the Lord. We need to repent and receive His forgiveness.
Now, I would love to tell you that I have this issue conquered and that in one easy lesson, you can too. I can't. Actually, I am not naturally a person who is a big worrier, but I have my moments. When I was coaching, on game day I always worried that we were not fully prepared or that the players were not mentally ready to play. I usually spent Saturday mornings repenting for all my needless worry and thanking God for His blessings! Now you might be thinking if that's the biggest thing He's ever had to worry about, no wonder He's not a worrier. Well, try this one on. Less than a week after the 9 /11 attacks on America, my son, an Air Force pilot, was sent to Saudi Arabia. For the next three years, he was deployed several times, flying refueling missions over the skies of Iraq, Afghanistan and other places in the Middle East. What, me worry? It was difficult time to not be in constant worry. Interestingly enough, it was a time that the Lord poured His grace out in a special way and gave our family great peace.
I believe that the key to overcoming worry is taking God at His word and receiving His grace. In 2nd Co 12, the apostle Paul shares how he had asked the Lord three times for a physical healing, but the Lord answered him with these words, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." We receive God's grace by faith. Remember, even if our faith is small, any amount is sufficient for the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives. Php 4:6-:7 is the best instruction there is to keep from worrying. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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."
If there is an issue that you are worried about right now, take it immediately to the Lord in prayer. Lay out all of your concern and ask him to give you the faith to take Him at His word and give you peace, that He is taking care of the situation. You might even want to actually get on your knees, just to show the Lord that you are bowing yourself to His will. I think you might find this a special blessing.
Re read the scriptures that are in this post. Ask the Lord to help you be more aware of when you are crossing the line between concern and real worry. When you sense that you have crossed that line, repent and ask forgiveness. Then turn it over to Him.
May God bless you and fill your life with His peace, as you continue to lay your burdens upon Him.