Dealing with Worry

     Over thirty years of ministry I have watched so many people struggle with worry.  One author calls worry “a toxic web of what if” (Worry Free Living, Dr. Arnie Cole and Michael Ross, 16).  Our minds can start to run down this road: what if I don’t have enough money for retirement? Or what if the lump is cancerous?   As we wrestle with the what ifs I have been encouraged by the wisdom of Jesus found in Matthew 6:25-34.  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life [e]? 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
      Jesus gives us multiple strategies on how to deal with worry.  First, he gives us a prohibition.  In this text he tells us specifically “do not worry” (Matthew 6:25, 31).  Jesus would not tell us this if we could not do this through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In a culture where many would say “I’m a worrier;” it is good to be reminded that worry is a decision.  Sometimes just reminding ourselves that worrying is a choice is enough to get us to step back from this poor decision. 
      Second, another strategy Jesus gives us in this text is to point us to the beautiful picture of God as our heavenly father (Matthew 6:26, 32).  When our five children were small, they never worried about our mortgage or food or other essentials.  They simply trusted their father.  In the same way when we view God as the loving parent it is easier to let go of worry and grab hold of peace. 
      Third, Jesus gives us a promise.  He says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).  As we focus on God’s glory and advancing His kingdom God will provide for us.  Some of you are soldiers; when fighting a war America does not expect you to bring all your own food, weapons, and ammo.  No, the country provides what is needed for you to do your job in the larger mission.  The same is true spiritually.  God will give us what is needed. 
     Fourth, the final strategy Jesus gives is a process.  We must look at life in daily increments.  He tells us to focus on today not the troubles of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).  Many in the recovery movement have found real power in this wisdom.  A person who is alcoholic may not be able to visualize a lifetime of sobriety, but they can see getting through today without alcohol.  One day at a time can make all the difference when trying to walk free of worry.  In a world infected with worry let’s grab the wisdom of Jesus and offer a contagious- calm.  Let us be people of peace. 
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church