Jesus stunned His followers one day when He said, “Stop worrying about your life.” Right… The guys who were following Him — they were married men with families they had left behind in Nazareth. Some of them had abandoned their businesses and put their lives on hold — for the sake of a dream. They were living from hand to mouth, so worrying was their natural state, just like it is ours. How could Jesus, then, say, “Stop worrying?” There must be some compelling reasons why He would state that.

Jesus didn’t spell out the reasons why worrying is a bad idea, but we get some hints from the text. Here they are:

Worry is Irreverent

Being consumed by anxiety is a mark of faithlessness. Obsessing about food and clothing was something that people without God were in the habit of doing, so when you are beset by worries, you are essentially living like an atheist. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things.” This, of course, was not an invitation to idleness. The birds of the air still had to go after their food, but the point is that like the flowers and the grass, they fulfill their nature and God provides for them. In the same way, people who fulfill their nature, namely trusting God for their needs and pursuing work instead of idleness, will realize that God will not fail them.

Worry is Irrelevant

Worrying does not change things. Fixation with problems will never help solve them. In fact, it may make the problems worse. That was Jesus’ point when He asked rhetorically, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” In posing the question, Jesus was anticipating what modern scientists are telling us today. According to a recent study, even mild levels of psychological distress can increase the risk of death in a lot people. Most of us do not sign up for something that is patently irrelevant, but somehow we make an exception when it comes to worrying. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Worry is Irresponsible

Instead of putting our energy into things that are constructive and lead to solutions, we end up getting paralyzed by our worries. We worry because we are not in control and when we think we are in control, we worry that we will lose control. Is there hope for us?

Yes, there is! The antidote to worrying is to concentrate on doing God’s will in all aspects of life. This decision to seek God first and occupy our minds with His priorities will free us up to lead a life that is characterized by positive action moving forward.

Worrying is irresponsible because it sucks the positive energy we need to put into the Kingdom work God desires to accomplish in and through us. A worrier can never be a warrior for God. He who is mastered by the cares of the world will never be free to share in the cares of the world’s Master. He will always be in the minor league when God always intended for Him to play with the “big boys.”

Controlling our worries is a hard thing for the disciple to apply to his/her life, but we have no other choice. If we want to please God, we must choose to joyfully trust God first for everything in our lives. To fail to do so would be an anomaly for the true disciple. As the old theology professor, Henry Drummond, used to tell his students, “Do not trust Christianity unless you are willing to seek the kingdom of heaven first. I promise you a miserable existence if you seek it second.”

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).

Time to get our worries under control!

 

Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

 

 

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