Don’t Worry

Have you ever sat down and contemplated or evaluated the effects of worry in your life? In a recent study last year, Harvard Health said: Chronic worrying can affect our daily life, appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, job performance. Stating that many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette, drugs, and alcohol. This has created a rise in those suffering from anxiety illnesses to over 40 million people, in the US. Almost two-thirds of those, are women. So what does the Bible say? It shares at least three detrimental effects of worry in a believer’s life. 

Today, let’s consider the first of three effects of worry in our spiritual lives. Effect #1-Worry Causes Loss of Perspective. When we worry we lose our perspective of who we are in Jesus Christ, and who God our Father is. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 6:25~Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious (μεριμνάω merimnaō) 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? (ESV). (μεριμνάω merimnaō) Don’t be anxious, the KJV says take no thought. Why would we do this, because it is in the imperative mood, thus it is a command. Worry not. To worry is to create sin in our lives because we disobey a command that Jesus spoke over our lives. Also, worry is a sin because it means we distrust God’s promises and providence. 

In rhetorical fashion, Jesus, are you just a body, or are you more? If we are just bodies, then the principle things in life would be what our bodies eat, drink, wear, and our barns. But if we’re more than just bags of flesh then there are more important things in life. Remember, worry causes us to lose perspective, of who God is, and that Jesus Christ came to save us, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) In one of his recorded prayers, David gives us the right perspective about God when he says in 1 Chronicles 29:12~Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule overall. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all. (ESV). Do you have the strength? If not you need to seek and wait on the Lord. As Isaiah 40:31~but they who wait (קָוָה qavah) for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (ESV) (קָוָה qavah) means to hope, to trust, to wait. That is not worrying. 

Today, I want you to take a bold step and give God all of your worries. And when you feel one eyeing you or weighing in on you, do what we do during Lent. When we give up sweets or coffee and we get a hankering or a full-blown craving, we are reminded to pray. So at that moment pray about what has you worried, and let God carry the burden.

How to win over worry

How many of you have had a worry or three head your way this week? Yeah, that is common for all of humanity to have worry attempt to push us into an inactive faith. What is worry? Take a moment and begin to formulate your interpretation of worry. Because before we can win over worry, we need a good working definition for what worry is. Someone has said, ~William Ralph Inge~ Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due. Our English word worry: fret, agonize, brood or panic comes from a root meaning to choke or strangle. Applying this to our thoughts on worry reveals how it chokes out the joy and happiness in our lives. 

Moving forward, we need to process that there is a difference between worry and concern. If we are not concerned about our children and grandchildren playing near traffic, then we are terrible parents. Here is the difference: Concern focuses on the present; Worry focuses on the future. Concern means we can do something about a situation because it is at hand, in the present. Worry relates to the future, which is out of our hands. David speaks to his people from his own treasury of how God helped him offering us a good prayer in Psalm 94:18-19~When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (NIV) Joy and worry can’t coexist, regardless of what the fools bumper sticker says, we must let go of one, to have the other.

Not worrying doesn’t mean that we don’t plan for or build our future. God plans for the future. In eternity past, He planned the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ (Revelation 13:8) who was slain from the foundation. Planning is important; that is why God gives us the life principle found in Proverbs 21:5~The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (NIV) This means we should plan for the future, but we should not worry about it. This week, we are going to look at a couple of different ways on How to Win Over Worry.

Today, take some time to make a list of your worries. No, we don’t want to count them one by one, but rather, we want to know what we need to talk to God about and where we need to work on learning to trust Him more. Then simply ask God for His help and guidance.

Treasure your time

Mind Your Giving, my dad used to say. He was reminding me to watch where I spent my time and how my money flowed out of my life, not to mention what I was up to. Which was often no good in those days. As Jesus moves His sermon forward He reminds us to keep a check on our giving saying We must be sure our giving is producing the best return. Therefore, Christ Jesus says in Matthew 6:19~Do not lay up for yourselves treasures (θησαυρός thēsauros) on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, (ESV) The word (θησαυρός thēsauros) translated treasures is the word from which we get thesaurus, meaning treasury of words. That is why the Bible is so precious, it is a treasury of God’s words, offering believers words of life and hope, issuing us peace from the Prince, and holding His promises that are our eternal reward.

So what does it mean to lay up treasures in heaven? Well, this includes our tithing or giving but is not limited to it! It is about us being good stewards with all that God has given to us, knowing that our deeds will follow us. Have you ever squandered some money? My dad offered us a treasure of words in the form of idioms, like Don’t throw good money after bad, or Somebody else always has what you want, the trick is learning to want what you have. We all have talents and abilities given to us by God, who desires that we utilize and leverage them for His kingdom. Malachi 3:8~Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. (ESV) 

What are you contributing to God? A tithe is giving a tenth back to God through the local community of faith. Many believers give off their AGI, adjusted gross income. Throughout our marriage, April and I give back on everything we get. Knowing that we cannot out-give God. In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul assures the Corinthians that their generosity does not come at the risk of future poverty. On the contrary, he says, generosity is the route to prevent future deprivation. Writing in v8~And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (NIV) Jesus in sharing about forgiveness tells us of God’s giving principle in Luke 6:38~Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measured, it shall be measured to you again. (ESV)

Sitting on Mt Beatitude, Christ Jesus says if you don’t tithe, you’ve robbed God. Do you know the difference between stealing and robbing? Stealing is theft or the wrongful taking and carrying away of the goods or property of another. We steal when the owner is not looking or is absent. While robbing is totally different. It is the felonious act of taking the property of another in his or her immediate presence. When we don’t tithe, we are not stealing from God; we are robbing God, while in His presence.

Jesus says to us, be good stewards with all that Father has entrusted us with. Others may ask, What is the difference between tithes and offerings? Offerings are what we give in addition to, or over and above our tithe. For example, gifts to missions like the orange envelope in this mornings bulletin. Offerings and gifts should never be deducted from our tithes, which goes to the local church. Listen to Jesus in Matthew 6:21~For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV) God doesn’t want our money, because He doesn’t need it. He wants what our hearts Giving is about our heart condition, and God says to give freely, generously, open-handed.

Then Jesus shares that the Pharisees had a spiritual eye disease and it’s called greed. Speaking metaphorically, Christ Jesus talks about spiritual vision in Matthew 6:22-23~The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (ESV) The body metaphorically represents the whole person. With their eyes, they were coveting wealth. That means our eyes provide light for our bodies, so we can walk around safely. Jesus continues, So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (6:22) Good spiritual vision means we clearly see what God wants us to see. So, look at the decision that is in front of you, as Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve two masters. (6:24) Saints we need to put into practice 1 Corinthians 10:31~So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV) Let everything within you live for God.

Our Takeaway for the week is: Treasure your time with the Lord. Do you treasure your time with the Lord?  As we continue to grow, and even begin to make new changes for God, we need the power of prayer at work in our lives through the Holy Spirit, sometimes He will lead us to fast and deny ourselves as He challenges us to give ourselves away, and be used of God. In these times here’s a helpful prayer from Psalm 119:18~Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. (NLT) In life, we have only two choices, God and anything else. As you pray today, as God to help you choose to respond in the moment of His in-breaking. To be an encourager and help, that your fruit stand would be full and ready for those who cross your path.