|Worry: The Christian and Worry|
|Written by David Lawrence|
|Wednesday, September 03 2008 14:24|
Most people would like to be happy, but often circumstances rob us of our happiness. We become sick, or those we love become sick and perhaps die. We have financial and marital stresses. Matters aren't going right at work. And what is even worse, even when things are not going particularly badly, we worry that they might.
Parents worry about their children. Men worry about their wives, and wives about their husbands. We worry if we can find a job, or if we have found one, if we can keep it. We worry about crime and if it will happen to us, or about fire or tornado. We worry about getting sick or old, and on the list goes. It never ends.
Most of the things people worry about never happen, but that doesn't keep worry from taking a heavy toll. It can make us sick physically; it can certainly affect our mental health. It keeps us from enjoying life and the good things that are really happening to us. All kinds of books, remedies, seminars, products and gimmicks of all sorts are offered to help us with the worry problem.
We may complicate the scene further by saying that the Bible lists worry as a sin. Jesus told his disciples not to worry about tomorrow, about what they would eat, drink, or wear (Matt. 6:28-34). Jesus said that such worry was indicative of a lack of faith and a failure to focus on and seek God's kingdom and righteousness. Paul commanded us not to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6).
But to command people not to worry is one thing; to enable them to be free from worry is another. Jesus reasoned with his disciples that God is able to provide our daily needs for us, and Paul in the Philippian letter gave the personal example of how he had learned to be content with his lot in life by realizing that God through Christ gives him strength to do anything and will meet all our needs (Phil 4:10-20). The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ, Paul wrote (Phil. 4:7), The word guard in the text meant to set a military guard over something. God's peace will guard our hearts and keep us from anxiety.
But why then are some Christians still gripped with worry and anxiety? Are we missing something here? What did these Philippians understand that would enable them to feel this peace that passes understanding guarding their hearts and minds? Note Paul's statement in 3:20: "Our citizenship is in heaven," and his reference in 4:3 to our names written in the book of life. Over and over in this book Paul commands us to rejoice. We are enabled to rejoice if we understand that this universe is under the control of a sovereign God, that nothing in it happens apart from Him, that we are secured in our salvation by the atoning work of Jesus, and that His promise to us is that everything that happens to us in this life and eternity is firmly in His hand, and that nothing will happen unless it is for His glory (Rom. 11:36) and for our good (Rom. 8:28). Only then can we be enabled to free ourselves from worry and anxiety. Try it and see! (2 Pet. 1:10).