By PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:25-34 NLT).
The scripture above shows clearly that God is against worrying. Another word for worry is anxiety. Worry or anxiety is not the same as showing or having concern about something or someone.
God is against worrying; He is not against planning. Planning is different from worrying. Many people worry a lot. If they would spend the hours they spend to worry to pray and plan, their lives would be better.
Collins Dictionary defines worry (noun) as: (1) The state or feeling of anxiety and unhappiness caused by the problems that you have or by thinking about unpleasant things that might happen. (2) A problem that you keep thinking about and that makes you unhappy
The verb form of worry is defined as: To keep thinking about problems that you have or about unpleasant things that might happen.
It is not the Bible alone that addresses this phenomenon called worry. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and the like have done much work on the subject. In psychology, worry is defined as “a state of mental distress or agitation due to concern about an impending or anticipated event, threat, or danger” (APA Dictionary of Psychology).
It is natural for human beings to show concern. However, allowing it to degenerate into worry achieves nothing good. It is a sheer waste of time, and worse still, a waste of life.
Planning is investing time to create a good outcome. While worrying wears one out, planning is stimulating. In fact, someone has aptly described worrying as negative planning. If you are facing a negative situation or you are likely to face it, the right response is not worrying – that is destructive. The right response is planning – that is constructive. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (NLT).
God does not want His children to worry over any issue whether it has to do with meeting daily needs, employment, career progression, health, ministry, or fulfillment of destiny. Matthew 6:25-34, our opening text, shows the futility of worrying. Psalm 55:22 says, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall” (NLT). Another word for burdens is cares or problems. That scripture presupposes that there will be burdens, cares or problems. It is part of human existence. But when they come, do not dwell on them to the extent that they paralyze you. Hand them over to God and leave them with Him – do not ever collect them back from Him! That is something pretty difficult for many people to do. They feel they are not showing a sense of responsibility if they do not worry. But the question is: what did they achieve by worrying? What positive change took place after worrying?
The New Testament repeats Psalm 55:22 thus: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (1Peter 5:7 NLT).
6 Reasons You Should Not Worry
Here are six reasons you should not worry:
1.Worrying is a waste of time; it achieves nothing. By worrying, you cannot change anything. Worry cannot stop what will happen and cannot change what has happened. Jesus’ question captures it well: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not” (Matthew 6:27 NLT). The New King James Version puts it this way: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
Worrying does not pay your bills! Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you moving but doesn’t get you anywhere.” That is motion without movement. You are busy but you are not achieving anything. That is not a productive life.
2. Most of the fears that give rise to worrying do not ever become a reality. I am sure you can attest to that. How many of the things you have worried about, nearly dying, happened eventually? Most never did. Therefore, why did you have to punish yourself? Why do you allow yourself to be tormented by negative thoughts?
That is the kind of agony many take themselves through, as the devil uses their negative thoughts to oppress them. That is why you must take Philippians 4:8 very seriously. It says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT).
3. Worrying distracts you from finding and focusing on the right solution to the particular challenge confronting you. For instance, if someone does not have a job or does not have money, how does worrying change that condition? No, it does not, and it will not. Continuing to worry will distract such a person from finding and focusing on the answer to the challenge he is facing. May be that is why Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty today of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” Nobody can succeed in life doing that.
4. Worrying reveals lack of faith in God. Jesus tells us that little faith is at the centre of worrying. Hear Him: “And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 6:30 NLT). Many people today do not have any faith in God!
George Muller said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). That means anxiety (worry) will kill your faith, and true faith will kill your anxiety!
If you are worrying, it means you believe what your circumstances are saying more than what the Word of God is saying; you believe what the devil is saying more than what God is saying. If you are a child of God, you should know that God is in control of your life, not the devil. You should approach life by faith not by worrying. Henry Ward Beecher, protestant clergyman and abolitionist, is quoted as saying, “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith.”
5. Because God cares for you. This is another important reason you should not worry. God is a dependable CARE TAKER! That is why He has asked you not to worry. He can handle your cares – your challenges or troubles. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him for He cares about [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully] (Amplified Bible).
You do not need to worry because God cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. He will sustain you; He will not let you fall (Psalm 55:22). He will provide a way of escape for you in any situation. Romans 8:28 assures that all things shall work together for your good. Therefore, why worry? He cares for you. He will answer you if you call upon Him. “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved” (Joel 2:32a; Acts 2:21 NKJV). Romans 10:13 also reiterates this Scripture. God cares for you, and you are free to call on him whenever you have any challenge. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV).
6. Worrying is not good for your mental and physical health. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (NKJV). Worry robs you of your of peace. Worry has been linked to depression, tiredness, stomach ulcer, speeding up of the aging process, stress, and heart attack. It can open the door of your life to other sicknesses. You do not have to allow it – it is within your power to do.
How to overcome worry
I will like to share with you what you need to do to overcome worry.
1. If your worry is caused by sin, repent, ask God for forgiveness and believe that He has forgiven you. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12 NKJV). Jesus told that woman caught in adultery: “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10b NKJV). Do not hide your sin; it is a futile effort.
2. Commit your life to God and trust Him. If you are not born again, first commit your heart to Jesus accepting him as you Lord and Savior. You cannot overcome worry without committing your life to God and trusting him that He cares for you, no matter what, and has the best plan for you in all situations. ““Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5 NKJV). Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD all that you do, and your plans will be fulfilled” (NEB).
3. Seek God’s will in all you do. Make God’s will number one in your life and you will not have to worry. Everything will turn out for your good. Proverbs 3:6 says, “Seek his [God’s] will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (NLT). God’s servant, Billy Graham said, “Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” I cannot agree more.
4. Live a day at a time. Live in the present. Do not be too concerned about negative things that could happen in future, that you do not enjoy the present. The anticipated negative things may never happen. Everyday has its own challenges. Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
Do not deny yourself of the enjoyment of today because of the anticipation of negative things in future. God wants you to live a day at a time, though you can make plans for the future. The Lord’s Prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 NKJV). The prayer is not for weekly or monthly bread!
5. Be contented. Lack of contentment is the number one cause of worry in many people’s lives. What God is doing in your life now or what you have may not be the best you desire, but you must learn to be content, knowing that God is not finished with you yet. Know that your life is work-in-progress. Worry will not make your life better than it is now.
Hear what Paul said: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV). Did you see that? Paul learnt how to live in lack (be abased) and in abundance. He was not worrying; he had learnt contentment. Still talking about contentment, Paul says, “So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content” (1 Timothy 6:8 NLT).
Everybody is not at the same level in life. There are those ahead of you and those you are ahead. Do not fret because of where you. Your life is work-in-progress. God will take care of you. If there is anything good that is not enough today, you will soon have abundance of it. Cease from worrying. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never forsake you’” (NLT).
6. If you are worried about any need, give the worry to God in prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJV).
I love the way the New Living Translation puts verse 6 of that scripture. It says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (NLT). Did you see that? Worry about nothing; pray about everything. What do most people do? They do the opposite. They worry about everything and pray about nothing! If you are guilty of this, repent now. Cast all your care upon the LORD, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Do not stay awake in the night worrying. Hand over to God. He is awake day and night. The two of you should not be awake! Prayerful people do not worry. You must have heard this statement before: “Why worry when you can pray.” Max Lucado said, “No one can pray and worry at the same time. When we worry, we aren’t praying. When we pray, we aren’t worrying.” The two are mutually exclusive.
7. Give thanks to God for the answer to your requests and worship Him. Worship God; do not worry yourself! Worry opens the door to the devil; worship opens the windows of heaven upon you for God’s provision. The more you worship, the less you worry.
Give thanks to God in anticipation of the manifestation of answer to prayer. As we have already seen in Philippians 4:6, you should not be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
8. Receive God’s peace. Philippians. 4:7 says that if you pray to God about your needs, rather than worrying, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand; His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
If you come to Jesus with your burdens, your cares, he will give you rest; you will have peace (Matthew 11:28). Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27 NKJV). God’s peace sends worry away. If you receive God’s peace, you will be able to sleep well, which is good for you; cares should not keep you awake. God “gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep” (Psalm 127:2 Amplified Bible). If you have cast your cares upon God in prayer, go to sleep; God will bless you while you are sleeping!
9. Keep confessing your trust in God to break any negative thought of worry. Your confession is crucial to your victory over worry. In line with the Word of God, you can confess like this: I refuse to worry. I am not trusting in chariots or horses. In you, O Lord, I trust (Psalm 20:7). O my God, I trust in you. I know I shall not be ashamed; my enemies shall not triumph over me (Psalm 25:2).
10. Cheer up. If after you have taken all the previous steps I have discussed and the devil still wants you to start worrying again, cheer up. Remember that worrying can never add one cubit to your stature (Matthew 6:27).
Your peace is in Jesus. He said in the world, you shall have tribulation – you are under pressure, you will find suffering, you will find trouble – but be of good cheer – take courage, be confident, never loss heart, keep up your courage, cheer up! (John 16:33).
Conclusion: Worry is sin. Why? It shows your lack of faith in God. And the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Put your faith in God. Make God number one in your life. Do not worry about food, clothing or the things of this life. “Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6:32-33 Contemporary English Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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