God’s Antidote to Worry
How many people here this morning would
like to learn how to worry more? How many of you feel that your life would be improved if only you could spend more time worrying?
· Whether you know worry as an occasional visitor or a constant companion,
· whether you find it to be mildly
uncomfortable or intensely painful,
· or whether you experience worry as a slight distraction or as a force that completely
· we all would like to worry less (except for those only seem happy when they’re miserable).
good news is that you can worry less. God has given us an antidote. It may surprise you to learn that God has something to
say about worry. In His book, filled with cosmic events like the creation of the universe, heaven and hell, the rise and fall
of kingdoms, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He also considers it important to give us some help with this
very ordinary human emotion. Why is that? Because He’s not just a God out there somewhere. He’s a God here, with
Why do we worry?
1. Life is hard. Bad things happen to good people, to bad people, and everyone in between.
Even the wealthy and powerful aren’t exempt. All you have to do is glance at the National Enquirer to see that
they have their share of tragedy. [Example: Cleveland Browns linebacker Chris Spielman retiring due to a neck injury]
so far this seems pretty depressing. But before we get to the really good news, we have to face the bad news. I live in a
real world, and I want a religion that deals with reality. Don’t you? I don’t want a religion that plays, "let’s
pretend." I want a faith that can stand up to whatever the world has to give, and still come out on top.
You may be
saying, "Of course, life is hard. I already know that." But isn’t it amazing how often people try to avoid worry by
pretending, by putting on blinders, by avoiding the issue, by refusing to acknowledge the possibility of anything going wrong.
It’s like the song, "Don’t worry, be happy."
· We men are especially good at this. Our wives try to talk
with us about something that’s obviously bothering us, and we say, "I don’t want to talk about it." Somehow, we
think that if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen. Men don’t go to doctors. What we don’t know
can’t hurt us.
· How many of you, when you are dealing with some serious problem, have had someone say, "don’t
worry, I’m sure everything will work out."
· Or we become fatalistic. "What will happen, will happen. Why worry
Of course, it doesn’t work, does it? All this does is transfer the worry from your mind to your gut.
And if the worst does come to pass, then you’re completely unprepared. What we need is something that will allow us
to face reality, but without becoming consumed by anxiety and worry.
2. Second, the future is uncertain. Another obvious
statement, but we worry because we don’t know what the future holds. Not only are there dangers we know about and can
make some preparation for, but there are dangers which are completely unexpected. [Example: The most common sign of heart
disease is sudden death.]
We can prepare as best we know how. We can watch our diets and exercise to prevent heart
attack. We can stockpile food and water to prepare for Y2K. But the bottom line is that the future is unknowable. Oh we try.
But as your doctor will tell you, and in spite of what the Psychic hotlines tell you, no one can predict the future. People
try to avoid worry by gaining so much knowledge that they can predict the future, but ultimately the future is unknowable.
that’s very unsettling. How often have you heard someone say, "It’s the waiting that’s the worst part. If
I only knew, I could deal with it." What we need is something that will allow us to have peace in the midst of uncertainty.
Third, We’re not in control. What I mean by that is that the amount of control we have is not sufficient to absolutely
protect us from harm. At best, we have only the illusion of control. If we were in control, then no one would every suffer.
We can improve our odds, but even experts can’t guarantee the outcome. Doctors get sick. Financial experts lose money
in the stock market. Policemen get robbed. Lawyers get sued. Good, loving, responsible parents are rejected by their teenage
and adult children.
We work and work to gain money and knowledge, so that we can ward off danger. We eat right, we
exercise, we move to a good suburb, we send our kids to a good school, we do everything we can --- but it’s still not
enough. If president Reagan could be shot by some deluded kid with a gun, then no one is powerful to make themselves absolutely
safe. We need something that will allow us to have peace even in the midst of events and forces we can’t control.
[Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)]
25. "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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26. Look 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?
27. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28. "And why
do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29. Yet I tell you that not
even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30. If 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, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33. But seek first his kingdom
and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for
tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
1. Recognize that worry accomplishes nothing.
[v. 27, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"].
Not only does worry not help, it often has the
· Worried about losing your hair?. Worry will only accelerate the process. It won’t add a single
hair to your head.
· Worried about getting sick? Again, worry probably suppresses your immune system and makes it more
likely that you will get sick. It won’t make you healthier.
· Worried about losing your job? Worry may actually cause
behavior that lowers your performance.
· Worried about gaining weight? You’ll probably eat more.
12:25 - "An anxious heart weighs a man down."
That’s all worry accomplishes. It’s like sitting in a rocking
chair. Lot’s of energy expended and no forward progress.
2. Understand that God cares about you. [vv. 26, 28-30]
You matter to God.
· God is with us and for us. God is did not just create the world and then sit back to watch the
show; we are not actors or toys. He is intimately concerned with his creations and actively involved in providing for their
· God values us even more than the rest of his creation. Birds, who don’t labor at all to provide for
themselves, have adequate food to eat. Even flowers, which only live for a short time, have beautiful "clothing." If God provides
for them, doesn’t it stand to reason that He will care for us, since we are "much more" valuable?
3. Put first
things first. We worry too much because we care too much about the wrong things.
Example: I remember when I was a
teenager being worried about a zit, using Oxy-5. My parents knew that there were more important things to be concerned about.
They had the perspective to see that in the grand scheme of things, a zit is not a big deal.
We have our priorities
· We worry about what we eat, but don’t care enough about what we are going to do with the life that the
food makes possible.
· We worry about what we wear, but aren’t concerned enough about what we are doing with the
bodies we put those clothes on. We concern ourselves with how to preserve our lives as long as possible, but we give very
little thought to what comes afterwards.
No one would claim that having enough food to eat, and clothing to wear, are
trivial matters. For the people to whom Jesus was speaking, these were life and death issues. But they aren’t the most
The things we should be most concerned about are the things which matter most. Putting first things
first gives us a right perspective and give us strength to face life without worry. What are they?
" . . . his kingdom
and his righteousness . . . " Our primary concern in this life should not be pleasing and serving ourselves. It should be
knowing and serving God. His "kingdom" is His rule over the earth, His authority over us as His creation. We shouldn’t
live as if we were independent entities, having no responsibility to God, having no concern about what He may desire of us.
Our first concern should be understanding who God is and how we can be right with him.
How can we do this? By seeking
first His righteousness. What is that? It’s not the righteousness that comes from our own works, because those are insufficient.
None of us is holy enough to meet God’s standard of absolute perfection. The righteousness that God desires, the righteousness
He will accept, is a perfect righteousness; one that is credited to us on account of faith. It is the righteousness of Jesus
Christ which God accepts on our behalf and credits to us in spite of our inability to earn or merit it.
4. Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
5. However, to the
man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
6. David says the
same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
8. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never
count against him."
4. Transfer Trust
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Rather than trusting in our own power, wisdom, and
strength, we need to place our trust in God for everything. As a result, he will give us a peace which defies logical explanation.
It’s not a trick of the mind; it’s a spiritual reality.
· We exercise this trust by actively committing our
concerns to God in prayer.
· We aren’t in control, but we can place our trust in Someone who is. We don’t know
the future. But we can place our trust in Someone who does.
· Worry represents a failure to trust in God as our Father.
It is "practical atheism."
· Children don’t worry about where their food or clothing or shelter is going to come
from. They just trust us. We need to trust God in the same way.