I am weary of people who cling to worry, acting like it is a badge of compassion and ‘caring’, rather than repenting and acknowledging it is sin! Until disciples admit that worry is a sin, repent of it, and believe that Jesus freed them from this sin, too, there will be no true victory and power in the Church. If this sounds harsh, consider that it is written by a recovered worrier who has been set free from this sin by Jesus!
Trade Worry for Trust in God
Jesus’ ‘Do Not Worry’ teaching is recorded twice (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-30). He went on at great length and great detail on this subject. Jesus said we are not to worry about what we eat, what we drink, or what we wear. Jesus said God will take care of these things for us, just like He takes care of all things on earth.
Not only are we to refrain from worrying about our physical needs, we are to refrain from worrying about anything in life, even seemingly little things. Jesus powerfully taught this in Luke 10:41-42. In that scripture, Martha is distracted by all the preparations that have to be made for dinner. She even asked Jesus to make her sister, Mary, help her. Jesus’ response was to lovingly scold Martha, saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Notice that Jesus did not say, “Oh, I know you are worrying because you are trying to do a good thing, so that is ok”. No, Jesus said stop worrying, get your priorities straight, and cut it out (Mark 9:43-48). He then pointed out to Martha that she should be following Mary’s example: “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus taught this lesson to his disciples in a powerful way when He sent them out to preach and heal, instructing them to take no bag for the journey, no extra food, money, or clothes (Matthew 10:9-10, Mark 6:8-9, Luke 9:3, Luke 10:4, Luke 10:8). I included these scriptures here because who takes a trip without packing a bag? If someone told me to do that, I would be tempted to begin to worry and say, “But what about…..?”. However, Jesus was teaching the disciples to learn to stand, not on their own two feet, but on their knees, totally dependent on God, trusting God to take care of them in all their simple physical needs.
In addition, they were to trust God to lead them to worthy people, heal the sick, and preach the gospel with power. From the start of their day (with its physical needs) to the work of the day (healing and preaching), ALL depended on God; one day at a time, one meal at a time, one person at a time. What a life changing teaching, direct from Jesus to His disciples through the power of the Father; a life lesson LIVED moment by moment, each day that the disciples were out on their own!
The Root of Worry = Pride
Most people do not think worrying is all that bad, however, that mindset fails to acknowledge a fundamental truth: When we worry, we do not trust. By worrying, we are choosing (consciously or subconsciously) to not trust God. By not trusting God, we are implying one of two things: either God is not all powerful, all good, and in control, or we know better than God. The underlying principle is demonstrated by the following “If, Then” statements:
If I believe that God is sovereign and all powerful,
Then everything in my life is allowed or brought about by Him.
If I believe God is all loving and good,
Then everything He allows or brings into my life is for my good (Romans 8:28)
Worry Cancels Out Trust:
If I worry,
Then I am not trusting God’s all powerful, all loving care of me
It is sinful to worry because it is distrust of God. How can we disrespect our Father that way? Instead of clinging to our habit to worry, we must change focus, yield to God’s sovereign control over us, over our lives, and trust that He has it all under control. We must let go of our way and yield to God’s way.
Even if we don’t like where we are at in a particular situation, even when we are tempted to worry, we do not have to slip into that sin and choose to worry. Worry shows a lack of faith (Luke 12:28). Worry is indicative of pride, thinking more highly of yourself and your abilities than you should (Luke 12:25-26). Worry indicates that instead of trusting God, you trust your own plan for how things should be, your own ability to ‘figure it out’, and your own efforts to resolve something by your mental machinations. Instead of spending all that time and energy worrying, spend it on filling yourself with God’s word, prayer, and God’s presence. His presence will cast out all that worry, lack of faith, and pride (self).
Besides all that, Jesus said worry doesn’t do any good anyway (Luke 12:25). It is a silly part of our sinful human nature. However, we are called to live in our spiritual nature, to set our minds on what God’s Spirit desires, living and walking in the Spirit (Romans 8:5-8). The mind controlled by the Spirit has no room for worry, but only calm, child-like trust in the Father’s care of us.
“Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God…. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.”
~ Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, July 4th entry
I repented of this sin and now yield myself to God’s sovereign will in all areas of my life. In choosing to trust God 100%, I no longer worry. Of course, I am still tempted to worry, but the temptation is not the sin (read Jesus Said Hold to His Teaching & Be Set Free!). This way of living is true freedom, the freedom that Jesus died to give us: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. (John 10:10b) We must yield to God’s sovereignty in order to walk in the freedom of the full life Jesus gives. There is no other way.