Fear, worry, stress, distress, and anxiety, are common words in our culture...and unfortunately all too common in our experience. We're living in an age that is filled with so much tension and so much pressure.
Have you ever noticed how every day we are force-fed a steady diet of anxiety-producing information? We can't escape it - whether it is on a global, national, or a personal scale.
All of us have lives filled with things which can cause distress...and it is something we must learn to deal with.
The good news is this: We can win over worry! As a matter of fact it is absolutely essential that we not become victims of worry, but victors over worry through Jesus Christ.
As believers in Jesus Christ, you and I have resources... we have strength that no one else has outside of Christ. In fact, our Lord knew how worry can dominate our lives, so He spoke specifically to those things that can produce panic instead of peace for us.
His challenge is found in Matthew 6 beginning in verse 25:
"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."
Do you see it? Jesus said it over and over again. "Do not worry... do not worry." And yet perhaps among the people of God this is the most common sin of all.
Most Christians would say, "Well, I don't participate in the sins of dissipation. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't chew. I don't go with girls who do." And yet you are a worrier and you are troubled and tense and nervous and anxious and wringing your hands and worrying about yesterday, today and tomorrow.
And yes, worry is one of the most devastating sins of all.
It's time to take this sin in our lives seriously. It's time to attack it in the authority that we have in God's Word and in the power of His Spirit. It is time to defeat this enemy of our souls. Let me help you by giving you a principle I believe can help you win this battle:
Worry is totally useless.
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus tells us, "Do not worry about your life; what you're going to eat, what you're going to drink, or about your body, what you're going to put on."
Why? Because worry is totally useless. It accomplishes nothing.
Now, the worry Jesus is talking about is the needless, useless kind of anxiety that just chokes the life out of you. Have you ever analyzed the things that you worry about...that we all worry about?
Well, for one we worry about those things that have happened... things that happened in the past. We worry about past failures and past decisions that we have made. Some people live every day chastised by what happened yesterday - and often many yesterdays ago.
What is done is done. Thank God for His forgiveness. Thank God for His grace. We don't have to live in guilt and fear and failure of the past. You and I need to stop worrying about yesterday.
Then we worry about those things that might happen... but never do happen. Our lives are lived by "What if...." We think catastrophically of all the things that might terrorize us and bring us to our knees.
I heard about a husband and his wife who were awakened in the middle of the night by something stirring downstairs in the kitchen. So the husband got up to find a man with a mask stealing things out of the kitchen. The husband asked, "Sir, are you a burglar?" He said, "Yes, I am." He said, "Well, just a minute. Will you come upstairs and meet my wife? She's been expecting you for 30 years!"
Obviously we can't control the future! Jesus said in verse 34, "Don't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about it's own things."
Then there are those things that we worry about that do happen. Some people worry about death. Well, death is going to happen unless Jesus comes in our lifetime! But some people are so worried about dying that they never get on with living.
My friend, I want you to know you can count on the fact that Jesus makes all things beautiful in His time. And when you pass through the deep waters, He said, "I will be with you." But worrying about it only adds to the weight and only disrupts God's healing presence in our lives.
Worry is useless. I challenge you today to defeat the worry in your life and grasp hold of the truth Jesus promises:
"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." Matthew 6:31-33
Dr. Jack Graham is pastor of the 24,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church. He is committed to helping Christians experience the Kingdom of God and it’s power in every area of their lives. He is also a noted author of numerous books, including A Hope and a Future, Diamonds in the Dark, Lessons from the Heart, and Life According to Jesus, which can be found at www.jackgraham.org