Do you ever find yourself consumed with worry about your hours being cut back at work? Or maybe being laid off or out of a job completely? What about being stressed about school and your exams. Afraid you’re not going to do well? Are you stressed and worried about finances? What about being worried about family members? Both family members close to you, or those that live around the world in another country? Maybe your worried about a relationship you’re in? It is a fact of life that we each will struggle with physical, emotional, financial and spiritual challenges at points in our lives. As a Christian what do you do when you are worried about something? Do you worry and stew and fret and make yourself sick? Or do you take your problems to God in prayer?
In Matthew 6: 25-34 Jesus teaches about worry. In the first two verses He says something profound, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than cloths? 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 6:25-26)
Scripture is overflowing with stories of people that face struggles and challenges. Moses, David, Elijah, Job, Paul and even Jesus to name but a few. Each turned to God who gave them hope and helped them to achieve God’s own will for what was part of his bigger plan.
The question comes. Ok so that’s great for these people who had a connection with God in the bible, but that doesn’t work for me here in the present, in the middle of all the trials and tribulations of this world. If that’s your thinking refer back to Matthew 6:25-34.
When you take a closer look at worrying and the effects that it can have on you, it’s something that needs to be dealt with. Excessive worrying can cause damage to our health and cause the object or thing of our worry to consume our thoughts, which will disrupt our productivity in life. Worrying can also negatively effect how we treat others around us because we become so focused on what we are worrying about and are consumed with our problems that we lose focus of the world and the people around us. This also means we have reduced our ability to look to God in trust. We lose sight of the bigger picture and what God may be trying to achieve through us.
Now this does not mean that you can’t be concerned about what the future holds and the problems you face. Let me be clear there is a difference between worrying and genuine concern. Worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.
In the verse in chapter six of Matthew, it says in line 33 for us to “Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness” which means to turn to God first for help, to fill your thoughts with his desires, to take his character for your pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything. If God becomes the centre focus then the things such as people, objects, goals and other desires that we worry about will become not so consuming, which will decrease our level of worry.
Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference. Careful planning is thinking ahead about goals, steps, and schedules, and trusting in God’s guidance. When done well, planning can help alleviate worry. Worriers, by contrast, are consumed by fear and find it difficult to trust God.
Worriers let their plans interfere with their relationship with God. Because of the ill effects of worry, Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs that God promises to supply. God brings us help and hope, no matter how heavy the burdens we bear, or how trying the troubles we face are.
Matthew R. Marshall