Overcoming Worry

Grace For The Journey

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29Apr   The title is God’s words, not mine.  And Jesus says this more than once!  In Matthew 6:25-43, He says it three times, “Therefore I say to you, Do Not Worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?’   Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore Do Not Worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore Do Not Worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Why do you suppose Jesus says this so much?  Well, we know, don’t we – it’s because we are inclined to worry?  It’s hard to overstate the reality of worry.  Worry is an emotion every person on the planet experiences in some way or another.

Mark Twain famously said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”  That was Mark Twain’s way of saying, “I’ve caused myself a lot of grief simply by worrying about things that never came to pass.”

We expend so much energy worrying over things that it affects our physical appearance and our physical health.  We show that we worry by getting up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep; we show others we worry by the worn wrinkles on our faces or by the number of trips we take to the doctor.

I recall a church marquis where a well-meaning person placed the words:

“Don’t allow worry to kill you. 

Let the church help!”

I am sure they did not intend to say, “Let the church help kill you,” but that’s how it reads!   Worry can kill us, but it need not.  Jesus tells us how to avoid that happening in the passage we will look at today.

Learn To Trust In Him.

Jesus says that when we worry we are revealing the fact that we have little to no trust.  Note the last few words of verse 30: “O you (of what?) little faith,” little trust.  If we’re going to stop worrying and start living we’re going to have to learn to trust in God.  We must trust Him to provide what we need, to protect us, and take care of us.

When we worry, we are not trusting God to take care of our situation.  In fact, the word “worry” means to be “pulled or divided into different directions.”  That’s a great word picture . . .

Rather than trusting God,

We are pulled in this

Direction and that direction,

Running from here to there,

Never settled, always scurrying

From one thing to the next.

Everyone is tempted to worry.  Everyone.  Little boys and girls worry about thunderstorms, tornados, or things that go bump in the night.  Young people worry about school, passing an exam, or worry about some boy or girl.  And it seems everybody has been worried in some way or other about COVID 19.

Worry is practical atheism.

It’s like saying,

“I believe in God,”

But then living like you don’t.

The psalmist wrote in Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid I will trust in You.” 

It’s not a question of whether

It is wrong to worry or be afraid.

It is a question of what we do

When we are worried or afraid.

Jesus gives practical examples of the kinds of things people in His day worried about – food, drink, and clothing.  And He says, “You shouldn’t worry about these things.”

There’s a little humor here when He starts comparing the people to birds.  When was the last time you saw a little bird with its head down, a sad countenance, furrowed eyebrows, pacing back and forth, wringing its hands – or toes, talons  – grasping a rake, tilling the soil, wiping sweat off his little bird brow, planting seed; or a little bird riding a John Deere tractor, gathering the harvest – you never see that, right?!  Why?  Because . . .

God takes care of those birds.

 Jesus declares that you and I

Are more valuable than birds.

We are the crowning achievement of God’s creation, created on the sixth day as the pinnacle of His masterful work.  We are made in the image of God Himself.

This truth is driven home even more specifically a little later in Luke 10:29-31 where Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? (less than pennies) And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

You are worth more than a couple sparrows sold for a copper coin – Sold for next to nothing to eat.  Yet, Jesus says God cares for those birds until their last flying moment.  So He adds: “Do not fear therefore”  – (why? because) – “you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Jesus says it’s the same with the beautiful lilies of the field.  They don’t work for their own clothing.  You don’t see a flower sitting in a chair pulled up to a sewing machine, working the pedal, sewing its own shirt and pants.  God takes care of that lily.  In fact, God can dress up a flower of the field with more regal clothing than what King Solomon wore.

So Jesus concludes: “If God so takes care of the grass of the field – grass which today exists and tomorrow is thrown into the oven” – burned as fuel to bake bread – how much more do you think he’s going to take care of the crowning achievement of His creation?”  

We must learn to trust Him.  Trust God to meet your needs.  Believe that God “will supply all of your need according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you.”

Next time you wake up in the middle of the night worried about something just close your eyes and say, “Dear God, You have taught me in your Word not to worry.  And I’m learning to trust in You.  I trust to Your care right now this problem.  I give it to You.  Take it.”  That’s faith.

Live Today For Him.

When Christians worry, they are living like unbelievers – like people who don’t know God.  Jesus declares in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  The “kingdom of God” is the “rule” or “reign” or even “rest” of God.  Christians enjoy a sense of God’s rest in this life, but will experience a fuller, more complete rest in Heaven.

We enter into God’s kingdom when we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  “His righteousness” in this context refers to living the Christian faith, righteous living.

Jesus’ counsel is to, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”  

What is Jesus saying to us?

  • Make sure Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of your marriage.
  • Make sure you live for Him first.
  • Make sure Jesus Christ comes before your boyfriend or your girlfriend, before your job, before your stuff, before your worries.
  • Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness “and He will give you everything you need.”

Simply put, Jesus is saying, “Live today for Him.  Put Him first in all things.”  Don’t allow the worry and noise of today’s events get in the way of your love for, trust in, reliance upon, and devotion to Jesus Christ.

Leave Tomorrow To Him.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

That is a great message that we need to hear – Do not worry about the future . . . Leave it with God . . .  Live one day at a time . . .  Live today.  Jesus teaches elsewhere that we are to live this way.  In the Lord’s Prayer, for example, Jesus says pray like this, “Give us” – (what?) – “this day our daily bread.” 

The concept of living one day

At a time comes

From the Bible.

Do not worry about tomorrow.

Sufficient for the day

Is its own trouble.

Someone has said that  . . .

“The average person

Is crucifying himself

Between two thieves:

The regrets of yesterday

And

The worries of tomorrow.”

You can’t change the past and you can’t control the future so don’t worry about it.  It’s a waste of energy.  As another saying goes . . .

“Worry does not empty

Tomorrow of its sorrow;

Iit empties today

Of its strength.”

Learn to Trust in Him.  Live Today for Him.  Leave Tomorrow to Him.

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming Worry

  1. Your post was a great reminder to me. I just learned I will be laid off because of the loss of revenue. I know not to worry and that my life is not my own but Christ’s. Knowing the truth and living according to the truth are two entirely different things. God has done amazing miracles in my life and I know He has everyday written down. It is so easy to get your eyes focused on your worldly situation and off our heavenly position. My husband works for the same University and he does not have a lot of work either, so he is concerned for his job as well. Pray for us during this time.

    Like

  2. Praise the Lord for Him using His Word to encourage you.

    So sorry to hear about you being laid off and the concern for your husbands situation. Know many people are suffering from the ramification of COVID-19.

    Definitely praying with you during this time. I have found these promises from God’s Word to be especially helpful and comforting during times of need: Isaiah 41:10-14; 43:2; Jeremiah 39:18

    May you continue to find encouragement strength, and hope as your look to and lean upon the Lord during these days.

    Like

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