Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Today’s Topic: Worry Weakens
Today’s Text: Matthew 6:25 (ESV) “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
In response to the news, people rushed to the stores to buy what they could. Within hours the shelves were empty. Warmth was the goal, and for those who trusted their natural gas furnaces and fireplaces, warmth was threatened. Electric space heaters became a priority.
As my wife and I sat layered in sweatshirts and blankies in our living room with our electric space heater near us, I began to wonder what would happen if the gas supply was completely shut down. I would have no way to heat my house except an old fieldstone fireplace that seems to suck more heat out of the room than it emits. I wondered if I should spend some money and begin to prepare for the possibilities of tragedy. I began to feel like a doomsday prepper.
Now I’m not opposed to planning wisely and having contingency plans in place. What I am opposed to is the worry that typically accompanies such plans. So is God. I want to be prepared, but I don’t want my preparations to diminish or replace my trust in Jesus Christ’s promises. I do not want to live life weakly by looking at life weekly. I want to live life fully by trusting God faithfully.
Jesus knew that worry weakens us. He spent a substantial portion of the Sermon on the Mount addressing it. Here are some sound bites from what He said in Matthew 6:
- 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
- 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
- 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
- 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Worry weakens us because it replaces trust in God’s plans and promises with trust in our own plans and provisions. The Prophet Jeremiah heard the Lord address that issue as well. 5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8 (ESV)
When Jesus visited His friends Mary and Martha, Mary came and sat at His feet, while Martha stressed over how the house looked and what to serve her Guest to eat. She even came to Jesus to complain. Jesus simply said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
The good portion of life is the time spent in fellowship with the Savior, putting all the worries and cares of life aside. When we switch those priorities, we are weakened. Everything that typically causes us concern is to be brought to Jesus. The Apostle Paul said, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) Seems pretty clear to me – anything and everything is to be turned over to God. That means anything and everything that makes us anxious makes us weak unless we turn in trust to God.
John Newton wrote a short verse that declares the truth by which we should all live when it comes to daily worries.
What Thou shalt to-day provide,
Let me as a child receive;
What to-morrow may betide,
Calmly to Thy wisdom leave.
’Tis enough that Thou wilt care;
Why should I the burden bear?
Anxiety annihilates ability.
Trust tranquilizes turbulence.
Let Jesus calm the storms of your life and give you peace.