Worry

Introduction

What is the one thing, you are afraid of which will hit you hard? A financial crisis? A job crisis? A relational crisis? A spiritual crisis? What is that one thing you are most afraid of happening to you, this week?

I believe that one of the most difficult commandments found in the Bible is found in Philippians 4:6 ‘Do not be anxious’. Are you like me? You could break that commandment several times before you even get out of bed in the morning. ‘Do not be anxious about anything’ it says.

But how many times have you heard someone say that they are worried sick? Do you know that doctors are prescribing more and more drugs for anxiety than any other illness? And do you know that the single most common sin that will steal our joy is the sin of worry?

Look at the first few words in Matthew 6:25 ‘Do not worry about your life’. Have you ever considered this? Worry is the fine we pay when we look for life in all the wrong places. When we look for life in things that weren’t intended to give life, worry will be the tragic, yet the inevitable result.

Notice in the passage that Jesus admits that we are all going to be seekers. We will all pursue something with a great deal of zeal. We’re all created by God to need something to live for; something to give meaning to our existence and something to set our hearts upon.

Notice, that Jesus didn’t say in Matthew 6:33 ‘Stop seeking’. That’s not the issue, the issue is, what are you going to seek this week?

The Pagan

Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, ‘Let me tell you about pagans’. What makes a pagan is neither their language nor how many verses they have never memorised or read. What makes a pagan is that they look for life in the external, instead of the eternal, remember that.

The pagan might be the politest-mannered, kind, decent person you have ever met but, he’s a pagan and he’s looking for life in all the wrong places.

If we do that, we will be a worrier, if we are trying to find life in the external, we will worry and here’s why. It’s because we are unable to control tomorrow and in tomorrow, there exists the possibility of a threat, to that which we are trying to find life in.

Are we trying to find life in our health? Are we trying to find life in our careers? Are we trying to find life in our investments? Are we trying to find life in a special event we are planning for later this year?

Tomorrow could take away any of those things because we can’t control tomorrow. If we are trying to find life in the wrong places you will be a worrier, because we can’t control that which threatens that which we are trying to find life in.

Worry Is Self-Inflicted

There’s something unique about worry because worry is a pain. It can steal our joy and it can make us miserable. Some things will come this week that we can’t predict, but we will just have to handle. But there’s a difference between what we can’t predict and worry because worry is a self-inflicted pain.

Worry is a pain we inflict upon ourselves, that does not have to be there. It can’t make us one inch taller; it can’t make us live one day longer, Matthew 6:27, although it can shorten our lives considerably.

What good is it going to do us to worry? We are inflicting ourselves with a pain that is absolutely useless and does not help us one iota. The fact is that all of our worrying will not give us control of tomorrow, it will only make us miserable today.

Worry Is A Sign That Our Goals Are Too Small

Jesus has an even sharper rebuke against the sin of worry. Yes, it’s useless, yes it shortens our lives but there is something more condemning about the self-inflicted pain of worry. Here’s what it is, ‘worry is a sign’, and it’s a sign ‘that our goals are too small’.

Life is so much more than what we worry about, and worry indicates that we are allowing the external to dominate the eternal on our priority list.

Here’s what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, ‘You are more than just a body; you were created for more than just eating and dressing.’ Worry betrays a false view of human beings as if we were only machines that need to be fuelled and lubricated.

We are bombarded daily with adverts that intentionally create anxiety, with the message that we are nothing more than complex machines.

It tries to convince us that it took us millions of years to evolve out of some lava pond in central Africa and all that we really are machines that require maintenance. We need a new coat of paint, we need a new brand of Cornflakes, we need new clothes, we need a new car, we need a different shaped tea bag.

And if we buy these things and take care of our machine, we might get a few more miles out of it before it claps out. And we are allowing ourselves to buy into a very reductionist view of what a human being is.

Jesus in Matthew 6:25-33 tells us that we are more than that, we are more than just a machine to be maintained. If we were only here today and gone tomorrow, then I would suggest that we all go out and eat, drink and be merry, go for it, Luke 12:19-20.

Because we only go around once and if that’s true, just go all out for all the materialism we can handle and worry ourselves to death, about whether or not we will have any tomorrow.

Is that true? Pagans say, ‘Yes it’s true, you only go around once in life’, but Jesus says, ‘That’s not true’. He says that kind of orientation is absurdly unworthy of what a human being really is, and He is calling us to a higher ambition. Jesus says, ‘We are much more than something to be fed and dressed’.

Seek First His Kingdom

In Matthew 6:33, He tells us the thing we should want most and that is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. We will worry tomorrow, not because our problems are too big, but because our goals are too small.

We were meant for more than just preserving the body beautiful; we were created to enjoy and to promote the Rulership of God in the world.

If that is our priority, we can see that goal, this by the way is the only goal, which is truly worthy of what a human being really is. We can seek that goal no matter what happens, illness can come, and we can still seek the goal of enjoying and promoting the kingdom of God.

We can lose our job; an investment can go wrong, but nothing can happen to us tomorrow that can keep us from the goal that is worthy of who we really are. God is bigger than whatever we might try to find life in.

Worry Is A Sign That Our God Is Too Small

We worry because our ‘goals are too small’ and also, it’s a sign that our ‘God is too small’, it says we don’t understand who God is or what He’s like. We’re counting on God not to change His mind on Judgement Day, to keep His promise.

If we count on Him not to change His mind on Judgement Day, why do we live like He’s going to change His mind tomorrow about what we need?

We act like we believe in a God that can provide salvation, but nothing else. In spite of the fact, that He gives testimony through nature, that He can provide.

In the months ahead we will see the grass grow, Matthew 6:30, and the birds fly, Matthew 6:26, and the flowers bloom and the trees bud, Mathew 6:28.

God has given us a magnificent testimony to every one of us, He can take care of anything He creates, Psalm 145:16. The Bible says we are in the hands of God, He opens up His hands and provides every living thing with what it needs, and we are in good hands with God.

Worry Makes Us Forget God’s Promises

The problem with worry is it ‘makes us forget the promises of God’. This doesn’t mean we still don’t work; working is one way God gives us the ability to provide, He gives us the ability to work, Romans 8:32. It doesn’t mean we ignore other’s needs.

When we see a need we shouldn’t say, ‘Trust in God, He’ll meet your needs’, God could be meeting that need through our generosity. When Jesus says don’t worry about food or drink, Matthew 6:25, He’s not saying don’t work and don’t share. He’s not even saying we won’t have problems; He did say every day has its own troubles in Matthew 6:34.

What He did mean is this? God knows what we need, and God is faithful, God will see to it that we have everything we need to put His kingdom first. We will not have any excuses tomorrow to put His Kingdom first because we needed something we didn’t have.

God’s going to make sure everything we need to be what He’s designed us to be and to pursue what He wants us to pursue, we will have. He will keep His promise on that.

Next week we will worry about those parts of our lives where God is not in charge and the first step to stop worrying is, to ‘make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life’.

We might say, we made Jesus Lord of our life years ago. Could it be there is a part of our life where He isn’t Lord? We are not born worriers; worry is a learned habit and since it is learned that means it can also be unlearned. When worry knocks on our doors tomorrow, we don’t have to let it in, just because we let it in, in the past.

Worry Is Sinful

Trust God and enjoy today in His Kingdom, Psalm 118:24. How many times have we missed today’s blessings by worrying about tomorrow’s possibilities?

Worrying is a sin because it makes us miss today’s grace. God gave us food today, He gave us clothes today, He gave us friends today and a place to worship today.

Are we missing our reason to rejoice today because of something that might happen tomorrow? Don’t let tomorrow keep you from living today fully.

We’ve got today to hug our kids or kiss our wife or husband. We’ve got today to smile at someone. We’ve got today to make a new friend or do something for an elderly person. We’ve got today to read our Bibles and get down on our knees to worship God. We’ve got today, don’t let tomorrow waste it.

Jesus says listen, don’t let food, drink, clothes or even tomorrow distract you from serving God today because He’ll take care of those things for you.

We don’t know what will come to every one of us tomorrow and we don’t know what distractions will come our way, but we do know that when worry knocks, we don’t have to let it in, we can let faith in instead.

Pray About Your Worries

Talk to God about our worry, if there is one resolution we should make for tomorrow, not just at the New Year, let it be, to improve our prayer lives.

I’m not suggesting for one minute, that we don’t pray just now, I’m simply asking us to look at how we can improve on it. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.

Can you imagine what would happen if we spent time praying instead of worrying? We would have much less to worry about. God will always listen to any of our problems and by improving our prayer lives we are recognizing that it’s God that controls tomorrow, not us.

Something else will happen, when we pray, we receive the greatest cure for worry because we experience the touch of the eternal, Philippians 4:6. God is going to respond to our prayer when we talk to Him about our concerns.

He will respond in two ways. He will do something about that concern if it’s in accordance with His will and He is going to send us a peace that cannot be explained away.

God will touch us with the eternal. When we pray, God sends us a peace that we simply cannot understand because it’s beyond our understanding, Philippians 4:7. God protects us from unnecessary worry, and then we have to turn the worry over to God.

Give it to Him in prayer, but remember when we are finished praying, don’t take our worry back because that defeats the purpose of finding peace, leave the worry with God.

Perhaps Psalm 55:22 is what Peter had in mind when he wrote ‘Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.’ 1 Peter 5:7.

The word ‘worry’ or ‘anxiety’ is the Greek word ‘merimna’ and it means ‘distraction’. And what Peter and Jesus are both saying is, don’t let our basic everyday needs distract us from seeking God’s kingdom today.

To turn it over to God means to let go of it, and let God take care of our distractions because He’s not going to get distracted from meeting our needs.

Oh, we will still have those things on our minds, but when we give them to God, we won’t be controlled by our anxieties because we trust God to take care of them for us.

Let’s get in the habit of turning our worries over to God. When Satan tries to creep up on us to remind us of our distractions, just tell him, ‘Satan, I gave that to God, that’s His worry now’.

We might as well give our worries over to someone who can do something about tomorrow because we can’t. Talk to God about it and turn it over to Him and trust Him with today.

How often does he share His compassion with us? Every day, every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23. When the Israelites were in the desert how often did God supply the manna for them? The Lord supplied their food needs every day, Exodus 16:4. Jesus said earlier in Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Conclusion

If you’re not a Christian, you’ve got to ask yourself an honest question. What are you worrying about? What’s happening in your life which is stopping you from making Jesus Lord of your life? Wouldn’t it make more sense to give your worries and your life over to Someone who can control tomorrow?

You can’t control tomorrow, politicians can’t control tomorrow, and your friends and family can’t control tomorrow but God can. Let me encourage you to speak to someone about how Jesus can remove all your anxieties and help you live your life for Him one day at a time.

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