Lines by Lee
The Weapon for Worry
February 11, 2021
As I continue to write this series of observations and applications from the book of Proverbs it becomes increasingly clear to me that it is easier to write about God's truth than it is to obey it. Practicing what I preach has always been something that I take seriously but if I am honest, it can be a challenge. Sometimes the parenting expert is not the best parent. I can gladly advise husbands on how to improve their marriage but I do not always give a full effort in truly loving my wife as I should. Others have heard me encourage them not to worry, but there are times that I could use someone to tell me the same thing.
That brings us to the end of Chapter 12 as we look at one verse. At this rate, the Lord Jesus may return before I get through Proverbs. I am all for that. But I will keep pressing on and hopefully my readers will benefit from my insights and we can grow together in learning and living out the Word of God.
What are you worried about? Would you say anxious thoughts are an issue for you at times? It is interesting to think about how many people of faith struggle with one of these key things that the Lord clearly banned. Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up (12:25).
I am sure there is a slight difference between worry and anxiety, but for our purposes I will treat them as synonymous and equally problematic. Have you ever been so troubled and worried that you literally felt it in your heart or stomach? Taking deep breaths or uttering a passionate prayer may help for a while, but true anxiety does not typically dissipate readily. It is a weight on one's shoulders and worse – his or her spirit.
It is no wonder God's Son had some things to say about worry. Jesus stated, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life..." (Matthew 6:25). He goes on to give examples of worrying about food and clothing. I am sure you have read the words that follow in Matthew 6 many times. Jesus reminds his followers that God provides for the plant and animal kingdoms in amazing ways. If he does that for feathered friends and flowers, how much more will he care for us? Yet, we still worry and fret and forget to trust.
Jesus goes on to point out that anxiety does nothing to contribute to our lives (6:27). Not only does stress not add to our lives, it actually does the opposite. It robs us. Worry only has negative results. It could be said that worry is unbelief, the opposite of faith. Pastor Mark Altrogge states, "Worry leads to more fear and anxiety. The different scenarios we play out in our minds can't prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won't happen anyway." Yes, when Jesus said do not worry about your life that covers quite a bit, does it not? His explanation behind the worry prohibition is excellent. Yet, we keep on worrying, don't we?
Everyone knows someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Perhaps you yourself contracted it. Most people know at one person who lost their life due to the virus that has impacted so many worldwide. I have come across a number of people who have truly lived in fear for nearly a year as the pandemic has dominated the news. I have chosen from the start not to worry about getting it. I have been in direct contact with folks who were sick and some who have since died. I naturally have thought about it a lot, but that is different than being anxious. I am grateful to have been protected from getting the virus and not living in fear of it. My heart goes out to those who have lost love ones. Yet, we must all choose to believe that God is sovereign and we need to decide if we are going to trust him or not with our lives and deaths.
Paul faced some horrific things in his life and obviously faced death at various times. He wrote, "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" (Philippians 4:6-7). You have read these verses many times. You probably heard them addressed in a sermon more than once. Like Jesus, Paul makes it quite clear what he wants Christians to know about anxious thoughts. There is no place for them. Notice he did not state, "Do not be anxious about anything." There is no allowance for things that are out of our control. Put another way, we should be anxious about nothing.
The antidote for anxiety and its benefits is provided in these verses. In every situation present your heart/requests to God through grateful prayers and petitions. When we do that frequently, fervently and faithfully something amazing and desirable will happen. God will grant to us a peace that we desperately need even if we can't understand how it works. And that peace goes right to the heart of the matter – our hearts. Our minds are where worry and anxiety dwell. When God's peace replaces worry there is protection and provision. And note the name attached to the peace of God. Christ Jesus. He makes us complete. That sure beats being a complete mess trapped in anxious thoughts.
You have probably talked with God a number of times about your worry problem. Do not stop asking him for help. He loves you and loves providing peace for his children. Those are your kind words for today. I trust they cheer you up.