Do you know what one the most commonly ignored commands in all of Scripture is? “Don’t worry.”
Do you know what the most common command in Scripture is? “Do not be afraid.”
The Bible tells us not to worry or be afraid, but you take one look at our culture, and you see how closely we hold onto those commandments.
It’s understandable, actually. Not worrying is easier said than done. We are all anxious about something: Relationships, finances, health, the future. We get stressed with work, with responsibilities, with decisions.
We might use different words for it, but it all boils down to one thing: fear.
We have lots of fears. We are afraid to make the wrong decision. We fear what we don’t know. We fear what we can’t change. When we run out of reasonable things to worry about, we start fabricating unreasonable ones. It’s like our minds are little worry factories manned by little worker elves that never sleep. We mass-produce anxiety 24/7.
Worrying Without Reason
So over and over, God tells us not to be afraid. He commands us not to worry. Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t worry without good reason or don’t worry unless it makes you feel better.” He just says don’t.
To help us obey the command, God tells us how to stop worrying. In Luke, He says “Trust in me. For if I take care crass of birds, how much more will I take care you my children?” In 1 Peter He says to cast our worry onto Him. To give it over to Him.
For many of us, giving our anxiety over to God feels like an almost insurmountable task. Our issues with worry and anxiety are beyond our own ability to handle. We need to address these issues with friends, and perhaps seek professional counseling. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need others to help you with your worry. That is not battle you were ever meant to fight on your own, and the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can be free of it.
When you live a life free from worry, you’re living in the full truth of who God is. You’re living under the assumption that He is in control, He cares and He can do something about your circumstances.
The Response to Worry
In the church we talk about faith a lot.
Faith and doubt, it’s always those two together. But doubt isn’t the opposite of faith. Not really. The opposite of faith is fear. That’s why God commands us not to do it.
We don’t need to be afraid because God loves us. He promised to take care of us. He never promises there will be no pain but He does promise to come back and to take that pain away.
How do we overcome worry? We need to equip ourselves with a proper understanding of God.
1. Equip yourself with the knowledge of who God is.
Is God good? Is God all-powerful? Does God love you? Will God take care of you? If you believe the answer to these are yes then our reasons to worry drop significantly It’s a trust issue.
We fear because we want to know, we want to be in control. God knows. God is in control. When we place our faith in Him. We can overcome our fears because we know He is good and He will take care of us. Lay your fears at His feet and leave them there. How do you bring your fears to God? Pray. When you were little and scared of monsters what did you do? You called out for daddy. It’s effective. When you are worried or concerned pray.
3. Consider your witness.
Our relationship with God fundamentally changes our perception. Our worries about food, clothes, appearances and money become superfluous. We as Christians can meet the worries of the world with the confidence that God reigns over it all.
4. Think about Jesus.
Consider what He endured for you. He was not guilty of sin but He paid the price for all sin. He suffered. He died on a cross. He carried the burden of our transgressions. If Jesus endured all that for you, do you really believe He would forsake you?
5. Know who you are.
You belong to God. You are His. When you have confidence and security in your identity as a child of God you will find that worry has hard time getting its hooks into you. Worry breeds in insecurity. Find your security in Jesus.
So give up on living of a life of “what if’s?” You can spend your whole life wondering about maybes and possibilities. All it will do is cripple you from dealing with things you can actually control.
Seek out friends and professionals who can help you deal with your inner turmoil. With their help, you are fighting a winnable battle.
Worry doesn’t prevent the sorrows of tomorrow. It destroys the joys of today. Look at the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sits at Jesus’s feet. Martha worries about many things. Jesus tells us not to worry because He wants us to be free from worry. He wants us to live life to the full. Worry and fear steal that away. We worry because we are focused on other things. We overcome our worry by focusing on Jesus. When we focus on Him the worries and troubles of this life fade into the background.
Tyler Edwards is a pastor, author, and husband. He currently works as the Discipleship Pastor of Carolina Forest Community Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is passionate about introducing people to and helping them grow in the Gospel. He is the author of Zombie Church: breathing life back into the body of Christ. You can find more of his work on Facebook or you can follow him on Twitter @tedwardsccc.