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But we are Christians, so we shouldn't have worry, anxiety, or faith issues, right? Wrong! We worry we stress, we have anxiety, and we have faith crises at times. This does not make us unchristian; it makes us human. But our humanity does not trump our worship of a big God! He is all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, fair, just, and ever-present. The God we serve has created all things around us. He has intricately designed this world and everything in it; He has created you and me uniquely, and somehow, he ensures everything works correctly for all things to exist and survive. He is not just a God of the "big" details. He is also the God of the "little" things.
Have you ever thought about the excellence of God? Have you ever thought about his intricacies, his creations, his unfailing love for you, his sacrifice, his care, his mercy, and his concern with the small details of life? Have you ever thought about his promises; His promise to never leave or forsake you; his promise of eternal life to those who believe in Jesus Christ; his promise to be near to you if you draw near to him; his promises of justice; and his promise to take care of you and me?
I have thought about these things repeatedly, and when I think about how great our God is and the specific, extraordinary care and kindness He shows, I am encouraged beyond all things. But then, when difficulties arise or the future becomes uncertain, I start to wonder, do I really believe all this about God? I begin to question; do I believe God is capable of marvelous accomplishments? Do I really believe "God is good all the time and all the time God is good"? Or is this a response I have been programmed to repeat whenever prompted? Ultimately, I ask myself, do I really believe what I believe? Maybe you have asked yourself this same question? Perhaps you are asking this question right now amid this pandemic.
Can I speak to you on a personal level? I admit there are times when my thoughts and beliefs about God do not match what I preach regarding worrying, anxiety, and trust in God. Although intellectually, I know God is perfect in all ways, I know He will not leave nor forsake me, and I fully believe He will provide for all my basic needs in life; so, tell me, why do I continue to worry?
Matthew 6:25 – 34
In this passage, we pick up amid a sermon that Jesus gave on a mountain which Bible translators painstakingly titled "The Sermon on the Mount." We are unsure of the mountain's exact location, but it was probably somewhere in Galilee.
Vs. 25 – 26: Jesus says don't worry about trivial things like what you will eat or wear because life is more than that. Do you have difficulty believing God will take care of your needs? He says, look outside; see those cute and annoying birds flying around outside. They don't plant or harvest their food, yet they always seem to have something to eat. God provides for those birds. Do I believe that I am more valuable than a bird in God's eyes? If so, do I believe maybe, just maybe, God will provide for me? He cares enough about those winged creatures to provide; shouldn't I trust and believe that God cares enough about me?
Verse 27 – 32: Can you tell me; how much we accomplish by worrying? What purpose does worry have? Jesus asks the rhetorical question (my paraphrase), "Let's see by a show of hand how many of you can add a single hour to your life in your own power. Anyone?" He is met with silence because they know they have no control over time, life, or death. They are all in God's hands. Ultimately the question that Jesus didn't ask but implied is, "Do you trust that God will take care of you?"
Verse 33 – Instead of worrying and stressing, Jesus tells us to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.". So, we need to make seeking God and his kingdom our top priority. Let him have complete rule and reign over our lives. So, when we worry, we can't seek the kingdom of God first because we do not believe God will pull through for us.
Verse 34 –God will take care of us, so Jesus says to stop wasting our time worrying about anything because God controls everything.
So, what is Jesus telling us in this passage?
He is simply saying, do not worry because God has taken care of ALL our needs.
Should we neglect planning and preparing since God has already taken care of everything?
I do not believe that we should neglect personal preparation and planning. However, Jesus tells us not to spend all our time planning what we want to accomplish because God's plans may differ from those we make. Isn't this when we worry most? It seems that when things don't go as planned, this is when I start freaking out and worrying about things?
How Can We Live "Worry-Free" Lives?
I wish there were a pill or a formula I could give you that would eliminate worry from our lives forever. But, unfortunately, there is no such thing available. However, we can turn to the Word of God and let it speak to us today as a daily reminder that God controls all things, and I do not.
This passage has encouraged me time and again in my life. In it, I find three steps to help us live worry-free lives.
To paraphrase Proverbs 3:5 – 6 and help us live worry-free lives, we must "Trust in God and not our intellect or cunning plans. Dedicate our lives to Him and give Him complete control over our lives, and when you do this, God will eliminate the power of worry over your life."
For many, worries and stress are nasty habits to kick, and they can paralyze us if we let them. Today's message is as much for me as it is for you. We live in a time where it is easy to give in to worry, fear, and anxiety, but I want to encourage you (and me) to keep the words of Proverbs 3:5 – 6 close to your heart. I have purposed in my heart for God to have complete dominion in my life so I may live a stress- and worry-free life. I am determined to come to terms with the fact that worrying is useless and a complete waste of time. Time is precious, and God does not want me to waste it worrying about things I have no control over. So today, I am speaking to you in my vulnerability and declaring that I am giving my worry over to God, and I am acknowledging Him in all my ways (good and bad times) and trusting that He will take care of the rest of the details and concerns in my world today.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books