We worship 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 all that is in it; He has created you and me as unique individuals and somehow, he makes sure everything is working for all things to exist and survive. But He is not just a God of the “big” details, He is also the God of the “little” details. I love what Francis Chan writes in his book entitled, CRAZY LOVE,
“Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn’t have to make hundreds of kinds of bananas but he did. He didn’t have to put 3,000 species of trees within a square mile of the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn’t have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends’ laughs – wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious.
How about how plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into the stems and veins? Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk? When they build their webs they use, they create sixty feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web! Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water varies by even one or two degrees.
Did you know that when you get goose bumps, the hair follicle is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat? OR what about the simple fact that plants take in carbon dioxide (which is harmful to us) and produce oxygen (which we need to survive)? I’m sure you knew that, but have you ever marveled at that? And these tiny poison swallowing, life giving plants came from tiny seeds that were placed in the dirt. Some were watered, some weren’t; but after a few days they poked through the soil and into the sunlight.”
Have you ever just sat and thought about the excellence of God? Have you ever thought about his intricacies, his creations, his unfailing love for you, his sacrifice, his massiveness, his care, his mercy, 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 over and over and when I think about how great our God is and the specific, wonderful 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 of 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? Maybe you are asking this question right now amid this pandemic.
Can I speak to you on a personal level? I admit, there are times in my life where my thoughts and beliefs about God do not match up to what I preach when it comes to worry and trusting God. Now, I know, I am a pastor so I should NEVER question God, worry or have moments where my faith is tried right? Because we all know pastors are never ever supposed to worry or question God. Well, I don’t mean to rain on your parade but there are times when I do worry and struggle. I mean, 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 of my basic needs in life; so, tell me why do I continue to worry?
Worry, what is it Good For?
Today we are going to look at a couple of passages in the Bible that will an encouragement to all of us (myself included) as we seek to live worry free lives, especially in these days and times. As believers we are always called to trust God and yet we worry that maybe today is the first day in all of eternity that He is not going to pull through. Worry and trust are negating in all ways. The two cannot co-exist. Francis Chan writes from CRAZY LOVE again, “Worry implies that we don’t quite trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what is happening in our lives.” Does that quote sting a little? It should. However, my first response is to say, “How dare someone say that my worry implies that I don’t trust God?” I mean come on, didn’t the patriarchs of old worry? The disciples seemed to worry, didn’t they? I mean isn’t worry a natural response that all humans experience? Sure, it is, but what is worry good for?
Matthew 6:25 – 34
If you have your Bible’s in front of you, or a digital version, I want us to pause for a moment. Get a pen, highlighter or select the text on your digital device and underline these verses if they are not already… Now let’s dig into this passage and see how Jesus can speak into our worry.
Vs 25 – Jesus says don’t worry about trivial things like what you will eat or wear because life is more than that.
Verse 26 – Do I have trouble believing God is going to take care of my needs? Well look outside see those cute and annoying birds flying around outside. They don’t plant or harvest their food, yet they seem to always have something to eat. Hmmm… 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; then shouldn’t you and I trust and believe that God cares enough about you and me?
Verse 27 – Can you tell me; how much do we accomplish by worrying? Let’s think about this. I spend hours worrying about something and during those hours what am I accomplishing? What purpose has my worry filled? Nothing whatsoever! Was anything accomplished by my worrying? Not a single thing.
Verse 28 – If worry is useless then why bother living your life in bondage to it?
Verses 29 – 32: God takes care of His creation with or without our help, He provides everything that is needed for the plants, the birds, the grass, etc. God knows our needs and He will give us WHATEVER we NEED.
Verse 33 – So if we don’t spend out time worrying then what are we supposed to do? Jesus tells us to SEEK first Kingdom of God and all the trivial things in life will be taken care of. Jesus tells us that we need to make seeking God and his kingdom our top priority. We are to let him have complete rule and reign over our lives. But when we worry, we do not believe God is going to pull through for us.
Verse 34 – Jesus essentially tells us that since God is going to take care of us let’s stop wasting our time worrying about anything because God has it all under control. Since He has it all under control then we need to live in the here and now because God has provided all we need for today.
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. Now this does not mean that we should neglect personal preparation and planning for the future. No, that is not what Jesus us saying, He is telling us to not spend all of our time planning for the future and what we want to accomplish because God’s plans may (and probably will) be different from the ones you and I make. I mean isn’t this when we worry most? It seems to me that when things don’t go the way I planned them is the time when I start freaking out and worrying about things?
How Can We Live “Worry Free” Lives?
I wish there was a pill or a formula I could give you that would eliminate worry from our lives forever. 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 is in control of all things and I am 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 need to “Trust in God and not your intellect or your crafty plans. Dedicate your life to Him and give Him complete control over your life in all areas and when you do this God will eliminate the power of worry in your life.”
For many worrying is a nasty habit to kick, and it can paralyze you, if you let it. This message today is just as much for me as it is for many of you. We are living in a time where it is easy to give in to our worries, fears and anxieties, but I want to encourage you (and me) to take keep the words of Proverbs 3:5 – 6 close in 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 that I have no control over. 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. Would you join with me?
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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