Reasons to worry abound. The price of gas is unstable and the price of food keeps going up. Even though the unemployment rate is down, many are still without a job. The mid-term election process has just ended and many are concerned and worried about the direction of our nation. The wars continue, and many of our military, as well as law enforcement personnel are losing their lives. The suicide rate seems to be escalating especially among young people, and depression is becoming common. More homes are cracking and falling apart. Almost daily the news media is reporting another senseless shooting of innocent people. It appears that respect for God and country and those in authority is at an all-time low. There is enough going on to keep us all worrying.
God is in Control
One senior deaf friend talked to me recently about his fear that Social Security might be cut off. He was worried about what he would do should he lose his income. I gently asked him if he was trusting God or the government. I shared some scripture verses with him and he was comforted. We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. God is still in control and He will never be overthrown. He will keep His promises. With that said, it seems there is still a tendency for all of us to worry. Worry, at its worst, can cause many health issues including ulcers, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, depression and more. Worry can damage your relationship with friends and family and can rob you of joy and the zest for living.
Worry is a feeling of uneasiness, anxiety, or dread. Often it comes from negative thoughts of something that may happen. The worrier often says to himself and others, “What if?” The terms used in the Bible for worry are “take thought” and “be careful” (Matt. 6:25; Phil. 4:6). The word “worry” comes from a Greek word which means to “divide the mind” or “to tear or rip apart the mind.” Worry divides the mind. Worry causes one to become double-minded. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).
A worrier is unstable in his emotions. He is like a roller coaster. He is unstable in his thinking and in his decisions. The worrier is unstable in his perception. He sees things wrongly and is suspicious of others’ actions. He thinks people don’t care about him. And worst of all, the worrier shows by his actions that his trust in God is diminished.
Worry is Wrong
Worry is not pleasing to God. We are all guilty of worry and have probably said, “I know I shouldn’t worry, but I don’t know how to stop.” It can’t be excused by saying, “I can’t help it.” Worry is wrong for several reasons. When we worry, we say God is not truthful. He says, “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). God says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). God says, “I care for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He has promised to supply our needs (Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25-33). Worry is wrong because it keeps us from prayer. No one can worry and pray at the same time (Isaiah 26:3). Worry is wrong because it hurts our Christian witness. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). If we live in a state of worry and defeat, our lights will not shine. Our Father will not be glorified, our lives will be miserable, and we may even suffer physically.
Are you willing to face the fact that worry is wrong? Will you apply God’s cure? The cure for worry is in Philippians 4: 4-9.
Step One – Rejoice in the Lord (vs 4). Rejoicing comes by daily going to the Scriptures, seeing His goodness, sharing His blessings, and allowing the Holy Spirit to control your emotions and thought life. As you think, you will feel. As you think, you will do. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). One cannot think hate and act kindly; think bitterness and act sweetly; think resentment and act cordially; fret and worry and have faith. We should think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report (vs 8). When we do this, it will be easy to rejoice.
Step Two – Recognize that the Lord is at hand (vs 5). He is at your side. He is at hand in the hospital, at the funeral home, as you care for a sick child or loved one, on your job, when your husband has walked away, when your wayward child has broken your heart, when your best friend fails you, when your plans and dreams are shattered. The Lord understands and He cares. (Hebrews 4:15,16; Psalm 46:1). He is at hand.
Step Three – Prayer and Thanksgiving (vs 6). When you are tempted to worry, pray and give thanks. You can pray about everything. You can share your innermost thoughts and feelings with your Heavenly Father. You can ask for your needs. Then when your praying is finished, count your blessings. This will kill worry.
Step Four – Claim Your Peace (vs. 7 & 9). If you do these things, you are promised peace. Peace means ease of mind, security, safety, harmony. Worry divides but peace unites. Peace comes when we believe God. Peace comes when we surrender our helplessness to Him. Peace comes when your mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3,4).
During a crisis in my life, I was plagued with worry, paralyzed with fear, and completely unstable. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I wept continually and thought I would lose my mind. Finally, after the long struggle, I looked up to God and said, “I give up. I give it to you.” At that moment, His peace came over me like a warm blanket. That experience changed my life forever. Now when I begin to worry, usually in the middle of the night, I remember the peace that He is always willing to give when we surrender. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). The Lord is at hand. Claim your peace. This is written because I care…