Can worry alter our circumstances or change our lives for the better?
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on…..For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Jesus’ point is clear: Worry accomplishes nothing. It cannot supply the very least of our needs or wants, so we should strive to eliminate it from our thinking. Our energy is much better spent focusing on God’s way of life (which has real, tangible benefits) and soon-coming Kingdom (which will ultimately satisfy our most deeply felt needs).
So if there is nothing to be gained from worrying and anxiety, how does it really affect our lives? Proverbs 12:25: Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
Anxious feelings that are not properly dealt with cause us to have the unhappy and disheartened feelings associated with depression. In contrast, focusing on good and positive things makes us glad and cheerful.
What should we focus on?
Proverbs 15:13 states: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
The Bible uses the term heart to describe the innermost source of all that we think and do. Focusing on positive things leads to a heart filled with optimism and confidence, while focusing on worry only fills the heart with pessimism and uncertainty.
Jeremiah 17:5-8: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord……”Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Worry and anxiety are often the result of our being overly focused on our physical capabilities and limitations—what we or others can do humanly—rather than on the awesome and limitless capabilities of God, and what He can do for us and through us.
When I am faced with tremendous worry I must admit that it is hard not to but that is when I rely on myself, but when I trust God, He helps me believe me, and encourages me through His Word. Some of the stories that do this are:
David in Psalm 34:4-6- I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.Even though David suffered severe anxiety at times, he kept learning and relearning that trusting in God to provide for his needs and deliver him from difficulties would resolve his problems. No matter how big the problem is, God can solve it (Psalm 40:1-2).
Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10- For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us…Paul understood that God is the only true source of help. Paul faced many anxiety-inducing situations in his ministry and travels, but consistently trusted that God would provide deliverance from these situations that were beyond human control.
And the story of Jesus in Matthew 26:37-39- And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
When He experienced tremendous anxiety over what He was about to suffer during His trial and crucifixion, Jesus wholly committed Himself to the will of God. He knew that the direction God had set for His life would ultimately produce the best possible outcome. Even if suffering had to be endured for a time, He trusted that it was a necessary but brief step on the path to a permanent, glorious future.
Instead of worrying, the Bible tells us to spend our time praying. If we prayed as much as we worried, each one of us would have a whole lot less to worry about. Most times we confuse planning for tomorrow to worrying about tomorrow. Planning for tomorrow is time well spent however worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Careful planning is thinking ahead about our goals, steps and schedules trusting in God’s guidance. This gives us confidence in God and in the process helps alleviate worry. Whereas when we worry, it is consumed by fear making it difficult for us to trust God wholeheartedly.
Is God interested in all our daily problems and things that concerns us? Yes. He’s interested in every detail of our lives. That means we can take any problem we have to Him without hesitation!
Whenever we pray, we should always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love but gratitude, it actually increases our immunities. It makes us more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy people. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied. It’s never good enough. So if we cultivate the attitude of gratitude of being thankful in everything, it will reduce stress in our lives.
What is the result of not worrying, praying about everything, giving thanks, and focusing on the right things? Paul says in Philippians 4:7 we will then “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.” Wow! He is guaranteeing us peace of mind? Do you realize this is exactly what everyone seems to be looking for? We’ve got it right here. So like “The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help”.–1 Timothy 5:5; just “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”.–1 Peter 5:7; “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall”.–Psalm 55:22