Don’t worry, be happy," was the mantra of the 80’s. I used to love that song by Bobby McFerrin, so light and happy, but it's easier sung than done. Leaving worry behind is a difficult task, even for Christians. Sometimes our worries are founded, but many times they are not. We worry about things that we can’t or shouldn’t control. We let it consume us until we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually stalled. Dale Carnegie said, “Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.” I believe this applies to our spiritual fatigue as well. Why do we feel so dry and faithless? It's often because we let worry consume our life.
I’m pretty sure we all agree that worry is bad. When we realize this, many times we take off on a journey of freedom from worry on our own. We think, “If I just try harder” or “If I just refocus my thoughts”. The truth is you can’t do it on your own, because worry is not just a productivity problem. It is a faith problem. Worry is an act of faithlessness. Worry says to God that I am not willing to trust God, instead I am going to mull this thought over and over again. Deep down we know we can’t change anything, but the act of worry is an attempt to control an uncontrollable situation.
The reality is that worry is not a biblical idea. We are challenged to be free of worry many times in scripture. The greatest refutation of worry is by Jesus in the sermon on the mount. Maybe you have heard this before, but try to look at it with fresh eyes. Open your Bible and read Matthew 6:25-34.
One of the major worries of those in Jesus’ time was simple day-to-day necessities like food and clothing. Jesus tells them to not worry about these things. In fact God knows they need them and He will help them. He points to how God cares for the flora and fauna of the world and if God takes such good care of them how much more will He care for us, His most precious creation. Jesus is saying to trust God and have faith that God will provide. While we may not worry about food or clothing, the same idea is true. We need to trust God in all things. Jesus says that worry will not add one hour to our life span, so why worry. Basically worry won’t change anything, so why do it. Instead, trust the Lord, who is in control of all things.
He also says, at the end of this passage, to seek God’s kingdom first. Jesus is telling us that worry is the equivalent of seeking our own kingdom; however, when we put God’s kingdom first we are exhibiting true faith. This means that the next time you are tempted to worry you need to turn to the Lord. The apostles help us with some really practical advice. Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, that instead of worrying we should pray. We need to change our habit of worry. When we feel ourselves begin to worry, start to pray. The Bible promises that when we give those things over to God He will fill us with a great peace. While we can change very little by worrying we can go to the God of all things and ask Him to help us. What an amazing truth!
Peter also tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on the Lord because He cares for us. This echoes what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount. God loves and cares about every detail of your life. So don't worry, instead look to Him, cast your burdens on Jesus. He can take it!
What fills your life with worry? For me it’s mistakes of the past, present things that are out of my control, and future things that haven't even happened yet. I can control none of these things and worry only compounds my problems. Recently, I have challenged myself to let these things go and turn them over to the Lord. By His grace, He is helping me to do that. I am much more at peace and can focus on what God wants me to do. This can happen for you as well, instead of being worry ridden, be faith filled by trusting the Lord and giving Him all your worries.