Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

16 Worry Warts – Part 1

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Matthew 6:25-34

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Here in Matthew 6:25-34 we see the word “worry” being used six times and it comes from an Old English word meaning to strangle and choke by seizing the throat. . It was used to refer to the practice of predators like wolves killing sheep by lunging for the throat and strangling their prey to death. Worry not only grabs us and chocks our lives but it ends up seizing control of our lives. Worry is like a wolf that wants to pull us apart. In the Greek the definition refers to being drawn in different directions so that we become distracted. Jesus doesn’t just tell us not to worry once but three times, in verses 25, 31, and 34. These are not subtle suggestions they are direct commands from Christ to help correct what is surely the number one sin among Christians today, anxious worry. While we the church tend to focus on addictions like alcohol and drugs I wonder if we are missing the greatest addiction in the church today, the addicted to anxiety. You see the wolf of worry doesn’t just wear us out it wants to wipe us out, its desire is to devour and destroy. When it comes to worry it’s here in Matthew 6 that we see several key truths, first:

  • Worry is a waste

Listen to verse 25: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?” It’s not that the necessities of life, like food and clothing don’t matter it’s that who we are is more important than what we wear or what we eat. Our tendency is to measure success based on what we have instead of who we have. It’s here that we are reminded that the real treasure is our relationship with God the Father not our earthy resources. So in order to get our eyes off of self, Jesus calls us to look to God and His control over His creation: “25 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Are you going to focus on God the Father or on your fears? If God feeds the birds of the air then He will certainly take care of you. The problem is that deep down inside many of us still question our worth to God. We are not living in His love because we don’t really believe that we are loved. It’s here that Jesus reminds us that our Creator cares for us on a deeper level than just our sustenance and what it takes for us to survive, He wants us to thrive. He cares about more than just meeting our basic needs and filling our belly, He wants to fill our lives. Many of us ran to Him because we saw our sin and how much we needed a Savior but He is also our sustainer and satisfaction. It’s not just about running to Him it’s about remaining in Him. Today many of us have a more intimate relationship with worry than we do with Him. We devote more of our time to worry than we do to worship. Actually if you didn’t know any better you might think we worshiped worry based on how much our lives revolve around it. Today we are wasting our lives on worry, letting it consume out time, our treasure and even our talents. We live limited lives because we are worried about what other people will think and say if we really live out loud.  To worry is to waste our lives, where to worship is to invest our lives. Do you want to live a wasted life or a worthwhile one? Not only is worrying a waste but second:

  • Worry never works

Verse 27 says: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” We live in a culture that is obsessed with trying to lengthen life; the truth is that you can worry yourself to death, but not to life. Worry will give you an ulcer or a migraine but it will not give you a longer life. Proverbs 12:25 says: “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up” Charlie Brown once said to Linus: “I worry about school a lot.” He thought a little longer and then said, “I worry about worrying so much about school.” He reflected some more and then concluded, “Even my anxieties have anxieties!” Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles. When it comes to worry it has been suggested that:

40% never happens

30% concerns the past

12% are needless worries about health

10% are about petty issues

8% are legitimate concerns

That means that 92% of our worry time is wasted time. How many of us are exerting mental and emotional energy on things that are outside our control? When we worry what we are really saying is that God can’t take care of us. What about you are you living life as if your problems are bigger than His promises? Remember worry is a waste because worry doesn’t work.

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