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WORRY - THE JOY STEALER
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Are you consumed with worry?
Are you experiencing physical and emotional symptoms that are robbing you of spiritual maturity?
One of the most destructive habits ensnaring human beings is also so common that many consider it as natural as breathing and as harmless as blinking. That habit is called worry. It is such a skilled and deceptive thief that its victims don’t even know they’ve been robbed . . . of peace, of time, of mental energy and of emotional well-being.
Worry is a like a thief in the night that steals your peace. God never intended you to live fearfully focused on the future… a hostage to an emotional heist. In fact, Philippians 4, says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
"Worry is like a thick braided headband that puts pressure on the mind—a confining cord interwoven with three strands—the distresses of yesterday, the trials of today and the fearful “what if’s” of tomorrow. This vice-like grip of worry tragically compresses your joy, cramps your peace and confines your freedom. But this constriction can be conquered!" — June Hunt
“Peace”! Who doesn’t want to live with a peaceful heart…with a peaceful mind? You can when your security is in the Lord. Worry is a joy killer, strangling your spirit and soul. By worrying, you choke the joys of today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.
Worry is a like a thief in the night that steals your peace.
Truly, worrying is an exercise in futility.
Worry leads to fear and stress instead of faith and rest.
Realize, when Jesus talked about worry, He redirected our focus onto God. He wants us to understand that our worries don’t change the character of God. Ultimately, grasping God’s character changes how we handle our worries. Perhaps the most poignant phrase Jesus said to worriers is: “. . . your heavenly Father knows . . .” (Matthew 6:32).
Scripture commands you to cast your cares or worries upon the Lord . . . to commit and entrust yourself and your desires and concerns totally to Him. How do you do that?
In the Bible, God often describes His people as being like sheep. When a sheep falls and ends up on its back, it is said to be “cast.” A cast sheep is totally helpless and has no resources upon which it can draw to remedy the situation.
When we worry, we are like cast sheep. We have no resources within ourselves upon which to draw that will really affect our situation. Jesus actually wants us to cast ourselves upon Him. He wants us to come to the end of our own resources so that we will depend upon Him for our very life.
When we cast ourselves upon Him, He gently picks us up and carries us in His arms. As Isaiah 40:11 says: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.”
Worries become well rehearsed tapes in your mind. You know you shouldn’t worry and you can’t seem to turn the worry tape off … then you worry about your worrying. Fortunately God doesn’t simply say, “Stop worrying,” without telling you how to stop worrying. Although your thoughts and memories can’t be erased, the tapes can be replaced, and Philippians 4:6-9 tells you how.
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The Other Side of Worry
A fine line determines the difference between destructive worry and constructive concern. You may have defended your tendency to worry as being only genuine concern, but honesty requires that you take a closer look at your heart and your motives.
“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”
Worry is like a thief in the night that steals your spiritual peace. God never intended for you to live fearfully focused on the future … hostage to an emotional heist. If you are consumed with worry, you are experiencing some of the following physical and emotional symptoms that are robbing you of spiritual maturity.
Without hesitation, Peter literally stepped out on faith, stepped out of the boat and started his sweeping strides on the water. But Peter’s wondrous walk quickly became a sinking experience when he changed his focus from Christ to his own frailty. Likewise, when your focus is drawn away from the Lord Jesus and the Word of God, you set yourself up to drown in a sea of worry. (Read Matthew 14:25-33.)
Wrong Belief: "I believe God cares about me and I can’t believe He is concerned with the everyday details of my life. I can’t help but worry.”
Right Belief: God has already promised to provide all the needs in my life through Christ. I don’t need to worry about how He will carry out that promise. I will trust Him to do it.
“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
What Is Worry?
To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive.
To worry is to block the flow of creative energy in your life.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
What Is the Nature of Worry?
Worry is a blatant sin that is displeasing to God because its underlying nature is ...
Worry reveals that you really don’t believe God when He says He will provide all that you need. (Isaiah 58:11)
Worry reveals that you are taking on personal responsibility and concern for that which God has already promised to provide. (Matthew 6:25–31)
Worry destroys your physical body, which is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” It can bring about a host of physical ailments, such as high blood pressure, heart trouble, headaches, colds, and other stomach disorders. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)
Worry shifts the focus of attention from the all sufficient power of Christ to your human insufficiency and insecurity. Ultimately, worry can undermine your Christian witness by presenting God as impotent and unworthy of praise. (Matthew 5:16)
Are You Snared in the Web of Worry?
- Are you fearful of what others think about you?
- Are you overwhelmed with fear of the future?
- Are you dismayed when you hear bad news?
- Are you fretful when an unjust person succeeds?
- Are you anxious over unresolved relationships?
- Are you terrified of death?
“Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.”
- Are you having difficulty sleeping?
- Are you losing your appetite?
- Are you overeating?
- Are you experiencing headaches?
- Are you having stomach problems?
- Are you struggling with maintaining good health?
“All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”
Why Do You Worry?
What you worry about is not nearly as important as why you worry. You may know and love God, but when you trust in anything other than God’s promises and provision for your life, then worry will turn your heart away from the Lord and turn your trust into distrust....
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
Trusting God to save you but not trusting Him to meet your everyday needs (Matthew 7:9–11)
Thinking that by mentally arranging future events you can control the outcome (James 4:13–17)
Having a burdened sense of duty to make every area of your life perfect, not having learned to content yourself (Philippians 4:11–12)
Instead of confronting the real sin in your life, allowing false guilt to surface as worry in other areas (Psalm 32:3–5)
Instead of choosing to respond to what Scripture says when you face difficulties, letting anxiety or fear have full control (Psalm 34:4)
Feeling a desperate need to have the approval of others and worrying about how you look, how you present yourself (Galatians 1:10)
Trying to live on past spiritual nourishment, but starving for lack of a present spiritual intimacy with God (Psalm 34:8, 10)
Lacking a sense of God-given self-worth, thus feeling powerless to cope with problems (Psalm 34:18)
Overcoming Negative Conscious Languaging - 8 Occasions of Worry
- If you say: I’m afraid that my situation is impossible.
The Lord says: I can make all things possible. (Luke 18:27)
2. If you say: I’m worried that I’m not wise enough.
The Lord says: I will give you My wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
3. If you say: I feel anxiety over the cares of the world.
The Lord says: Cast all your anxiety on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)
4. If you say: I’m overwhelmed with fear.
The Lord says: I will give you My strength when you’re afraid. (Isaiah 41:10)
5. If you say: I’m so worried—I can’t forgive myself.
The Lord says: I can forgive you. (1 John 1:9)
6. If you say: I’m worried that my loved ones might leave me.
The Lord says: Once you’ve come to Me, I will never leave you.(Deuteronomy 31:8)
7. If you say: I’m worried that I might die.
The Lord says: I will give you eternal life. (John 3:16)
8. If you say: I’m so worried that I can’t rest.
The Lord says: I will give you My rest. (Matthew 11:28–30)
Key Verses to Learn
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Key Passage to Read
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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
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