Worry implies doubt, in our situation and ultimately in God. Our worrying and disbelief betray a lack of spiritual integrity in our own human personality. How do we address that, particularly when the going gets tough? ♦
Worry. So much to worry about – so little time. Food, shelter, clothing. A steady job to pay the bills. Family and friends to love. Physical safety and good health. A future that’s prosperous and happy. And world peace. The list could go on and on, and it does. It starts typically with the small world of ourselves and our loved ones and moves out from there. So what’s wrong with that? Are we not to care/worry about what we want or have been given and are trying hard to manage as a good steward? That even sounds Biblical. What’s the problem with being concerned about one’s needs, wants and desires, expanding current holdings, and caring for loved ones? How can one not worry about any or all of that?
There’s nothing wrong with it – in fact it’s quite natural and human. The challenge is when worry becomes distraction or even focus. Remember what Jesus said would choke us from the message of God in his Parable of the Sower (see Matthew 13)? It is not the devil, but the cares of the world. This is after telling us in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 6) not to sweat the basics, but “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil or spin.”
It is the human struggle as we do greatly toil and spin. The good news is that there are answers to solving this burden and winning the war over worry.
Worry in Context?
In fairness, worry comes in degrees. There’s lighter worry about getting a good grade or job review, what to wear, how we look, and heavier worry about matters of life, sickness or death. But while we may naturally rank our worrying in brackets from the mundane to the serious, the Bible actually doesn’t make such distinctions. Here are some verses on the topic:
– Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. – Philippians 4:6-7
– “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” – John 14:27
– The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:6
– When I am afraid, I will trust in you. – Psalm 56: 3
Worry is a function of our thoughts and circumstances created or replayed in our minds. The clear mandate is to not worry and put our trust in God. That sounds good but how do we really manage this?
3 Keys to Winning the Worry War
As simple as it may appear, there is a scriptural prescription for winning the war over worry. Jesus references flowers (lilies) and their beautiful existence without angst or toil and our significantly higher stature as humans in God’s creation. He then follows with the dictate: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33. Between his caution about low and high things plus a proactive call to live a greater vision, there is an answer here to our worry. It lies in our own spiritual integrity which involves our body, our mind, and our heart.
Here are the 3 keys:
- Body Rest – The Scriptures speak of God resting on the 7th day after creation (Genesis 2:2-3). This lays the foundation for the Jewish Sabbath as a set aside day of rest made holy by God. Regardless of your belief in the practice of the Sabbath as a perpetual covenant, there is something spiritually powerful in the physical rejuvenation of our bodies. As with the effects of a reinvigorating nap, a well-rested body is better poised to be presented as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1)
- Mind Fuel – The mind is our personality command center. It’s where our intellect, will and emotions come together to form our essence and soul. Our mind is to be fed with the living Word of God (Psalm 119:11,16, Proverbs 30:5, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 12:2, James 1:21-22). A well-fed mind is sound and quick, sharp and alive with a healthy and balanced flow of emotions.
- Heart Alignment – The heart is our connection to God. It’s a spiritual thing, where our spirit is united and connected to the Holy Spirit. This is what is reborn at the point of faith and belief in the free gift of forgiveness and Lordship of God. A fully surrendered heart is rightly aligned with God. Anything less than 100% surrender is out of alignment.
From Worry to Peace
If God is all that we know of Him, then what is worry but doubt and even disbelief that He will care for us in the short and long-term. It is us, the foolish ones who teeter and waffle while God is always steadfast. He doesn’t change or falter. Oh, we of little faith! In practical terms check our own daily personal spiritual integrity: Are you rested and caring for the body/temple? Are you feeding and shaping your mind with the Word of God? Are you surrendering your heart/spirit to His Lordship? Do so and let not your heart be troubled with worries, large or small.
Are you moving from worry, doubt and disbelief to rest, trust and full peace?
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing…Consider the lilies of the field…” – Matthew 6:25, 28