weapons against worry
sleepless nights, threatens our serenity during daylight hours,
chisels lines on our faces and nurtures numerous maladies. What
is this culprit that seeks to harm our minds, souls and bodies?
Many have identified it as anxiety, fear or panic attacks. Jesus
Christ called it worry.
Sermon on the Mount, the lessons from our Lord illustrate that,
when it comes to worry, people have changed little through the
centuries. In Matthew 6, Christ challenges His audience in five
areas related to worry:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where
moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”
(v. 19, NIV).
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what
you will eat or drink” (v. 25a).
“… your body”
“And why do you worry about clothes?” (v. 28).
“Therefore do not worry
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (v.
challenges us to identify worry over any of these areas in our
lives. We might hesitate for fear of finding something unpleasing
to God and nonproductive to our Christian walk. But the objective
is not to bring condemnation, but freedom.
wisely said, “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter
up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.”
Charles Swindoll said, “Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud
over today’s sunshine.” One might respond, “You
don’t understand my life. It’s plagued with mistakes,
obstacles and uncertainties. Doesn’t that make it natural
for me to worry and fear?” Jesus’ counsel to us, regardless
of our past or present circumstances, is to replace worry with
three by-products of worry and three strategies that will assist
in combating worry.
It is impossible to trust God and worry at the same
time. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus states three different times,
“Do not worry.” Christ understood and endeavored to
convey to His followers that when we choose to worry we are in
essence saying, “God, we don’t trust You enough to
rely on You.” Worry is calculating life and its challenges
without placing God in the equation. It demonstrates our lack
of faith in Him to work on our behalf. The writer of Hebrews states,
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrew
11:6). For followers of Jesus Christ, faith and worry are mutually
Jesus said, “Who of
you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew
6:27). Worry will contribute nothing positive to your life. The
medical community links worry to attacks on our emotional and
physical well-being. Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic,
wrote: “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the digestive
system, and the entire nervous system. I’ve never known
a person to die of overwork, but many who died from worry.”
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stated, “I have worried about a great many things in life,
most of which have never happened.” A recent study conducted
by the University of Michigan concluded that 60 percent of our
worries are unwarranted; 20 percent have already become past activities
and are completely beyond our control; 10 percent are so petty
that they don’t make any difference at all in regards to
our lives. Of the remaining 10 percent only 4 percent to 5 percent
are real and/or justifiable, and half of those we can do absolutely
nothing about. So, according to this study, only about 2 percent
of our worries are valid.
Bureau of Standards states that a dense fog extensive enough to
cover seven city blocks, 100 feet deep, is composed of one 8-ounce
glass of water divided into 60,000 million droplets. One 8-ounce
glass of water, spread out, can shut down an airport. Worry is
just like the fog; it can render your life fruitless and ineffective.
leaves us fatherless
Twice within this passage
(Matthew 6:26,32) Christ states that we have a Heavenly Father
who cares for us. When our focus is on circumstances, events and
people rather than on our Heavenly Father, worry will consume
us. The great preacher George W. Truett said, “Worry is
a mild form of atheism.” When we worry, we act as if we
have no Heavenly Father.
was sailing from Liverpool, England, to New York. The captain
of the ship had his family with him when the ship found itself
in a terrible storm. In the midst of the storm the captain’s
was awakened and inquired of her mother, “What’s the
replied that they were in a terrible storm. The captain’s
daughter quickly asked, “Is Father on deck?”
Father is on deck,” the mother replied. Without hesitation
the little girl lay her head on her pillow and went back to sleep.
Likewise, we must remind ourselves that in each storm of life
our Heavenly Father is on deck.
to combat worry are straightforward. There is no cure-all for
worry, but these steps can effectively reduce the worry in your
When facing a crisis or challenge in our lives we must resist
the temptation to focus solely on the situation. Instead, we should
train ourselves to concentrate on our Heavenly Father. Jesus said,
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or
store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
If we continually dwell on difficult situations, our perspective
easily becomes distorted. Conversely, if we will place our focus
on Jesus Christ during difficulties, proper perspective will be
Each of us can only live today. As much as we may desire to revisit
the past and plan for the future, both continually elude us and
even distract us from maximizing “today.” Jesus said,
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew
6:34). Jesus himself modeled this concept as He lived His life
on earth. Christ knew that the cross awaited Him; however, a preoccupation
with the cross did not interfere with His day-to-day activities
and relationships. Nor was He hindered by the negative response
to His ministry, which plagued Him for approximately three and
a half years. Instead, He exhibited the importance of living today.
He understood that each day presented unique opportunities, and
to embrace worry concerning the past or future events was a deterrent
to accomplishing the tasks that “today” represented.
us faces difficulties regarding our pasts and challenges that
await us. We are all tempted to worry rather than trust God. However,
if we desire to emulate Christ, we must follow His example and
live today while trusting God for the strength that will be needed
to overcome the past and face the future.
your worry with Him
Jesus said, “Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33).
When Jesus Christ is not first in someone’s life, he or
she will naturally be fearful and worry. There are individuals
who have accepted Christ, but failed to recognize the importance
of leaving worry at the feet of Jesus. Conversely, the believer
who leaves fears and worry at the feet of Jesus discovers that
Jesus wants to be the burden bearer of our lives. Understanding
this concept will enhance an individual’s life and liberate
him or her to live a life that is worry-free.
worry after a near-fatal van accident. In February 1981, I was
traveling through rural South Dakota with my basketball team from
North Central University. We hit an ice patch, which caused the
van to roll several times and sent me out a side window and through
a barbed wire fence. Then the van landed on top of me. God miraculously
spared my life; however, after the accident I could not ride in
a van without literally feeling physically ill.
of 1981, I joined my family on a cross-country trip to visit my
sister for the holidays. While en route (in a van) we encountered
a snowstorm. My stomach churned and my mind raced as the van slid
and careened over the icy roads. Fear overwhelmed me. Then God
spoke to my heart and asked me, “Brad, don’t you trust
Me?” I reflected on the severity of the accident earlier
that year, and how God had spared my life. In spite of His provision,
this fear had a stranglehold on me. This realization caused me
personal pain, because I recognized that my relationship with
God was flawed.
icy, snow-covered roads I applied the three-step strategy against
worry and God instantaneously removed this fear from my life.
I slept peacefully for the remainder of the trip. To this day,
I have not experienced the physical or mental anguish concerning
areas of worry within your life that need to be eradicated? If
so, be honest with yourself and transparent with God. Regardless
of the type or size of the worry you face, your Heavenly Father
is able to calm your fears and give you His peace.
T. Trask is dean of ministries at North Central University (Assemblies
of God) in Minneapolis, Minn.
with permission from Trusting God: Strength and Encouragement
For Troubled Times, compiled and edited by George O. Wood,
Hal Donaldson and Ken Horn (Springfield, Mo.: Onward Books, 2002).
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