Are you winning over worry?
They say baseball is America’s national pasttime. Forget baseball. I think it’s worry. We worry so much and seem to enjoy it; surely there’s some good in the practice of worry.
However, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount prohibited worry (Matthew 6:25-34). Worry is a useless, unproductive activity that wastes time and energy, divides our focus, causes physical harm, and stunts our spiritual growth. Worry is a joy stealer.
The bottom line is, worry is a sin that demonstrates a low trust in God. If Jesus prohibits something and we do it, it’s disobedience.
These are days of great uncertainty in our nation, and even in our neighborhood. There is much concern about the future. Expressing concerns is valid, but worry is unproductive.
How do we meet worry head-on and overcome worry?
First, let’s put our priorities in proper order. In His sermon, Jesus warned against our placing the pursuit of worldly possessions ahead of pursuing a growing relationship with Him. If we’re not careful, we will become so materialistic that we will not possess our things; our things will possess us. If we put earthly gain ahead of investing in the Kingdom of God, then our heart is in the wrong place.
I was in a Bible study several years ago in which Truett Cathy was speaking. He shared that once a reporter asked him, “How would you like to be remembered when you’re gone?”
“I’d like to be remembered that I kept my priorities in the proper order.”
I asked him afterwards, “What would you say are your priorities?”
He answered, “God, family, then business.”
Second, learn from the flowers and birds. Don’t worry about what you will eat or wear, Jesus said. Instead of worrying, relax and watch the birds. They neither sow, nor reap nor store away, but they never go lacking.
Even flowers are examples of God’s care. They can’t grow on their own, but they don’t worry about it. They have to depend on external resources that God supplies.
Third, live for today and trust God with tomorrow. The message paraphrase of verse 34 reads, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t’ get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come along.”
How often do we allow worry to ruin our day? We stew, simmer and fret, and before you know it, the day is over and we’ve lost it. We only have this moment, so we need to make the most of it. Life is too short to waste.
Shirley Temple Black told a story about her husband Charles and his mother. As a boy, Charles once asked his mother what the happiest moment of her life was. His mother responded, “This moment right now.”
He asked, “But what about all the other happy moments in your life?”
She said, “My happiest moments then were then. My happiest moment now is now. You can only live the moment you’re in, so to me, that is always the happiest moment.”
Fourth, live with a spiritual perspective. Jesus in Matthew 6:30 uses the phrase “Oh ye of little faith ...” Our little faith causes us to worry, and hinders God from working in our lives. We take God out of the picture when we worry because we don’t trust Him enough to provide for our material needs.
A spiritual perspective trusts in God and takes God’s promises to provide at His word. It’s inconsistent to say we trust God and still continue the practice of chronic worry.
Fifth, redirect your energy to the ultimate concern. Matthew 6:33 reads, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (The New Living Translation).
When we put God first in our lives and give Him our worries, and strive to live for Him in all we do, then He takes care of the rest.
We have to make a big decision every day. Am I going to worry today, or am I going to put my focus on God and let Him handle my needs?
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.