The great French Philospher, Montaigne, said: "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes - most of which never happened". How much of our lives do we waste worrying about bad things that might happen? Worry is one of the greatest afflictions of mankind. I want to share with you from the Word of God how to overcome worry.
KEY I: Get a revelation of God's love for you.
Worry is fear of the future. The reason we worry is that we do not believe the love and care God has for us PERSONALLY.
For this reason when Jesus was teaching us not to worry but rather to trust God, he emphasised God's love and provision for us:
Matthew 6:25-30 "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious and worried about your life (your relationships, reputation-what people think of you, job, finances, home etc), what you shall eat or drink, about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth more than they? And who by worrying can add one inch to your height or one day to the length of your life. (There are no positive results of worrying. We are taught from childhood that it is irresponsible not to worry, but it does no good, it is a waste of time, life and energy-draining you and spoiling your life) And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and see how they grow, they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field will He not much more surely clothe you, O you men with little faith?."
Worry is unbelief - we are denying God's love for us. We are not to worry like unbelievers, but realise our loving heavenly Father knows all our needs and will provide for us (v31,32).
Once you believe in the Father's love the answer to worry is simple: "Casting the whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns once and for all on Him because He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully" (1Peter 5:7) "Cast your burden on the LORD [releasing the weight, the worry - of it] and He will sustain you." (Psalm 55:22)
While we carry it, He cannot sustain or help us. But if we release it to the LORD His anointing will come on us and we will have the wisdom and strength to handle the situation. Pride: says "I'll handle this myself'. Then the Lord steps back. But when you release the worry and weight of it, then and only then the Lord starts working to help you, for 'He gives grace to the humble'. Either He has it or you have it -you must decide. If you are carrying worries about your family, job or finances pray the prayer now of casting it upon the Lord. Only God can change people. We waste our lives trying to change our spouse, boss, employees, friends, associates and neighbours but they need to be changed from the inside and only God can do that.
KEY II: Live one day at a time.
God has designed us to live one day at a time.
When He created the world He divided time into days, separating them by night. Live in day-tight compartments. Leave tomorrow in God's hands. Close off yesterday by the Blood of Jesus. Close off tomorrow - by casting your care upon the Lord.
Put all your energy into living TODAY well.
"This is the day which the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm118:24)
He only gives us the GRACE for today. When we worry about the problems of tomorrow it wears us out because God has not given us the grace for tomorrow. God made this clear with the
Manna in the Wilderness (Exodus 16:15) This bread from Heaven represents God's grace that comes down from above. They were told to gather the manna each according to his need and no one had any lack. They were also told "Let none of it be left until the morning" but some were disobedient and found that the manna stored overnight had "bred worms, become foul and STANK!". There is enough manna for today but today's manna is not for tomorrow. They had to trust God each new day for the supply of daily manna. Likewise we are to pray each day: "Give us this day our daily bread (supply of grace)" (Matthew 6:11). We are meant to receive the grace for today - God will not give it for tomorrow.
Corrie Ten Boom would worry about the future, especially persecution, and her father said "Corrie when we travel by train when do I give you the train ticket? Just before we get on the train. The Lord will give you the grace and strength and courage just when you need it." The devil tries to get your thoughts at the beginning of the day. The battle is often won or lost at the start of the day. Receive His grace for the day first thing. "Great is Your faithfulness. Your mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23) So make up your mind to obey God's Word and not worry but pray, casting the burden upon Him. You were never built to carry burdens.
The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to live today pleasing God. "Seek ye first [today] the kingdom of God and His righteousness [His way of doing things] and all these things [the needs you're worried about] will be added to you [tomorrow]. (Matthew 6:33). As you live for God today, He will work out your tomorrow. "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble" (v34). You have the grace of God for today's problems but if you add tomorrow's problems to day's problems you will have overload! God wants us to live today to its fullest. When you fret about yesterday and worry about tomorrow you lose today. Your whole life can pass you by this way. But 'today is the day of salvation (blessing).' You can stop right now and cast your burdens upon the Lord. Live today to its fullest - after all that is the best preparation for all your tomorrows.
KEY III: 'Don't Worry - Worship' When bad circumstances come we can quickly descend into worry and have unanswered questions like: 'Why did this happen?' 'What should we do?' [walking in faith will involve some unanswered questions].
Turn to God in WORSHIP. "Have no anxiety about anything BUT in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING make your requests known to God" (Philippians 4:6). Instead of worry-pray, but you can walk away from prayer still holding onto the worry. Prayer must move into worship where you release the problem and questions to God with thanksgiving. Say: "Lord - I don't understand this but You're bigger. You are Good, You are Holy, You are Love. Wonderful, All Knowing, All Powerful Lord, I give this situation to you, I submit myself to Your will. I thank you for sorting this situation out and working it for good."
Job, in all his problems, didn't understand what was going on in his life, but he continued to worship God and God turned it round for him.
Only if you do verse 6 will you experience verse 7: "And (then) the peace of God which passes understanding (it is supernatural) shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (protecting your heart against the anxiety)" (v7).
Some days, you may face difficult situations that cause you anxiety. You need the peace of God which is a spiritual force to protect your heart. Get up early to worship the Lord and give the problem to Him. Yes the day might be hard but if you do this there will be a strength inside that protects you from panic and confusion so that you will be able to do well through the day. Worship God right now, right where you are, no matter what the circumstances you face, whatever unanswered questions you have. Thank Him that He's working in your life and His peace will protect your heart and mind this week. By worship you strengthen your spiritual immune system. People who are constantly anxious have no spiritual immunity (peace) and so are immediately infected by whatever trouble comes along. Build up your immunity by becoming a WORSHIPPER- that means even when you don't feel like it. It means worhipping at home, making time, not waiting until you get to church. Then His peace which passes all understanding protects your heart against the anxiety of the troubles in your circumstances. Cast all your problems, unanswered questions and worries upon the Lord right now and worship Him [not your problems].