Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Mathew 6:27
A rhetorical question that we all know the answer to, and yet we can so easily succumb to worrying.
This week my city went into a 5-day lockdown, and as soon as it was announced, people flocked to the store to hoard up on supplies. Seeing this on the news made me think, has anyone not learnt from last time that toilet paper is not an antidote to the virus. It is hard not to feel anxious when you see and feel it in everyone around and you find yourself thinking; should I be going and stacking up too?
We also have some bushfires on the east side of our city and although where we stay (on the west side) is not in any immediate danger, seeing footage of the fires is heartbreaking.
Jesus tells in Mathew 6:25-34 to not worry. It is a passage that is spoken admonishing us not to worry about what we need to eat, drink or wear. Jesus reassures us that God loves and cares for us and we are to trust in Him with all the details of our lives. I held onto this passage of scripture this week, it helped me stay focused on who God is rather than how out of control everything can feel at times like this.
Worry is not uncommon to us; we tend to lean towards worrying what we cannot control and unless we intentionally lay it at the Lord’s feet it can overwhelm us.
This kind of worrying is not just having concern over something but an undue worry which consumes and that can stress us beyond reason.
When worry threatens to overwhelm
- Remind yourself of who you are in God – We belong to God. Although we do not have the power to change or control our circumstances, we belong to the one who holds everything in His hands and our heavenly Father cares for us. Let that be our identity and our strength.
- Remind yourself of His care and provision – not only in your life, but let’s look around and see His care and provision in different ways.
Jesus gives two beautiful illustrations of God’s care in this passage. He reminds us of how God looks out for the birds of the air and grass of the fields. Examples that are right in front of us all the time and hopefully they serve as powerful reminders of Jesus words every time we look around.
Mathew 6:26 “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 no much more valuable that they?”
Mathew 6:31 “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?”
We are beautifully and wonderfully made and God sustains all that He created. Jesus reminds us that we are so much more valuable to Him than birds and grass and therefore His care for us would be so much greater.
And look back with intention of how the Lord carried us through previous trials and difficult times. Of His faithful presence, His grace and mercy in various situations and that will serve to strengthen our faith and keep us strong while we wait on Him.
- Remind yourself of the futility of allowing yourself to worry
Worrying – we know is a futile practice that does not necessarily reflect our trust in God.
What does worrying do to us?
- It can incapacitate us from seeing reason.
- It makes us focus on the problem rather than God.
- It robs us of time that could be spent in prayer and petition with God and
- It sure is a gateway for Satan to play havoc with our faith.
Worrying adds nothing.
- Remind yourself to focus more on the things of God – on that which is eternal in nature than on temporary things. Focus more on the establishment of God’s rule in the hearts and minds of his people. Living a godly life, of sharing his message of salvation and faith. Of caring for those in need. Of growing in our own spiritual journey and of living a life pleasing to Him.
- Remind yourself that worry erodes our faith – Jesus calls those who keep on worrying in verse 30, “O you of little faith”
Faith and anxiety do not blend together.
Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
This verse by apostle Paul reminds us:
By prayer and petition – That which is worrying us, actively voice it to God in prayer.
Thanksgiving – Thank God for His care, love and provision. For who He is and what He has done and keeps doing for us. A heart full of gratitude reflects trust in who He is and reflects assurance of His presence and provision in the future as well.
In Philippians 4:8-9 we read “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Turn your thoughts away from that which can stir anxiety and shift them towards God.
Seek His presence, focus on the Lord, place your thoughts and worries at His feet and say, Lord, I remind myself that you are Sovereign and in complete control of everything.
You don’t have to solve everything on your own, lean on God. Your heavenly father knows what you need, take it to Him in prayer. Soak in His presence and let His peace fill your heart.