Worry

Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne

On the slope of Longs Peak in Colorado lie the ruins of a huge tree. Naturalists say that it stood for over 400 years. It had weathered thousands of storms and had been hit with lightning fourteen times. In the end, an army of beetles attacked the tree and wiped it out. This tremendous giant, that age had not withered, that lightning had not blasted, that storms had not subdued fell at last before beetles so small that a man could crush them between his forefinger and thumb.

We might expect big things to derail our faith, but very often it’s not just the big things that ruin your life, it can often be the tiny, little foxes. Solomon writes…

Song of Songs 2:15 (ESV)
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

One of those little foxes, which is a lot nastier than it appears, is worry. Ask any Aussie how things are going, and he will usually answer “no worries.” Hakuna Matata if you like. But it is a lie. We often excuse worry as something necessary because we have a reason to worry, but not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry, and Jesus commands us not to worry, so how can we deal with it? In Genesis, Jacob was a guy who really wrestled with worry.

JACOB WAS WORRIED ABOUT ESAU

Jacob had left his brother years before after cheating him out of his father’s blessing, and Esau had vowed to kill him then. Now years later he headed home with his new family, fearfully worrying about what his brother would do to Him, and the family. He prayed…

Genesis 32:10-12 (ESV)
I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'”

At first, Jacob seems to turn his worry over to God. He prays for deliverance. But the very next morning, Jacob wakes up with a plan. Clearly, he is still worrying. Sometimes we pretend to trust God when we’re just harbouring worry. We even convince ourselves that we are not worrying but trusting, but then we hatch a plan, just in case! Jacob did it, and so do we!

Worry will knock on your door right after you’ve gotten off your knees. One moment you might be pouring out your heart to God, but then you get off your knees and you are back to worrying. Today I implore you, don’t let the cares of this world hold you captive.

What is worry? How does it hold you captive? How can you deal with it and what can any of us do when worry knocks?

WHAT IS WORRY?

Let’s be honest, worry affects us all. Human beings are built for worry. It is our default position, and we cannot seem to control it. So, what is worry?

1. WORRY IS LACK OF TRUST

When you trust someone completely, you forfeit the right to worry. It simply doesn’t fit. A child will jump fearlessly into your arms because they believe absolutely that you will catch them. They don’t worry about it because the trust is there. That’s why Solomon wisely said…

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Jacob told God that he trusted Him, then slept on it and devised schemes and plans. He leant on his own, limited, suspicious understanding. I can attest, the more you trust God, the less you worry.

2. WORRY IS A WASTE OF TIME

Worry is like a rocking horse…it keeps your mind occupied, but you don’t get anywhere. It fills your thoughts, permeates every part of your mind.

Psalms 37:8 (ESV)
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

Luke 12:25 (ESV)
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

The more you fret, the more you worry, the only result is evil. Experts tell us that 91.4% of everything we worry about never happens. It’s a waste of time, energy, and resources. William Shakespeare said, “Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.” A Swedish proverb is, “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”

3. WORRY IS A HEALTH HAZARD

WebMD tells us that worry causes stress and anxiety, and causes the long-term release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can result in everything from high blood pressure, to strokes, to diabetes.

Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Some of you are weighed down today with stress, with anxiety, with worry, and I believe the Lord will set you free today. Fiona’s women’s group is called “Get Out of You Head”, and they are discovering that over thinking magnifies anxiety, so we need to deal with that!

4. WORRY IS A WRESTLE

Genesis 32:24-26 (ESV)
And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Jacob wrestled with God all night, and the Lord dislocated his hip. The sore hip reminded him of who he had wrestled with. But how many of us wrestle with worry night after night? I often find myself, even if I convince myself I’m not worried, wrestling with God in the early hours of the morning. I toss, I turn, I listen to God, I resist, and all of this, ok, let’s call it what it really is, it is worry! If you are wrestling instead of sleeping, you are being affected by worry and anxiety. Trust would say, ok Lord, then go back to sleep.

IS WORRY IS SIN?

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Some would say worry is a sin, but I think that’s a bit harsh. Sometimes you cannot control it, so you are not consciously sinning, right? If I tell you worry is a sin, you’ll worry about whether you are sinning!

Jesus didn’t call worry a sin, even though it clearly is (it’s lack of trust). Instead, Jesus is not condemning, but He is insistent…don’t do it! Not because it’s sin, but because you have to trust God that you are worthy of His love and provision!

Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

God cares about you, and He doesn’t want you to worry, but to trust. So how can we in this day and age possibly manage that?

ANTIDOTE FOR WORRY

Jacob said he believed God, but then he worried, wrestled, and schemed anyway. He struggled with worry and anxiety, and it affected every aspect of his life even into old age. Author Arthur Somers Rache said, “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” So, rather than waste our life, let’s discover how can we overcome worry and anxiety in our lives? Paul said,

1 Corinthians 7:32 (ESV)
I want you to be free from anxieties.

You can’t stop the waves of worry, but you can learn to surf. So, how do we surf? What’s the antidote to worry? The antidote to worry is to grow the opposite of worry…our TRUST in God…TRUST.

TIME OUT

If you are consumed by worry, if you are battling with your brain at night, sometimes the best thing you can do is take some time out. I have been overwhelmed by quite a bit of late, and the Lord has been urging me to take time out and clear my head.

Psalms 4:8 (ESV)
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to stop and rest. I preach to myself!

REMEMBER

Remember how the Lord has come through for us in the past. One of my fave verses…

Psalms 37:25 (ESV)
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

On so many occasions the Lord has come through for me, and for others in this church. We have seen Him provide hundreds of thousands of dollars right when we needed it. He has provided healing, He’s given us favour and He’s performed miracles. He’s never let me down. How about you? Remember how He saved you. Remember how He provided for you, even when all else was lost. He’s never let you down, despite how you feel at times.

2 Corinthians 9:10 (ESV)
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Psalms 9:1 (ESV)
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

We need to remember God’s goodness and have a gratitude attitude.

UNBURDEN YOURSELF

Worry is always a burden, it weighs you down, and it sucks out your joy. If you are bush walking to camp somewhere, you hike for a few hours and then stop and take a break, and the first thing you want to do is to drop your pack. He doesn’t want you carrying it.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Part of unburdening yourself is sharing the load of worry with close friends. If you are struggling with worry, talk to someone here and share the burden with them. You don’t get a prize for carrying it all yourself, so reach out. Even better, talk to Tania and the Inner Healing team, because they can lighten the load of some worries and fears you might have been carrying for years.

SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM

Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV)
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We need to worry less and pray more, because worry changes nothing, but prayer changes everything. My experience is that if I seek first the Kingdom of God, many of my worries seem to disappear or at least shrink down in size. The actual situation may not have changed, but it’s power to fill and manipulate my mind is broken. Serve God first and let Him sort the rest. That’s why Paul says…

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

There will always be arguments as to why we should worry, and plenty of opinions (get off Facebook), but any stray thought we should take captive to make it subject to Christ. You can choose whether you’ll capture a negative, worrisome thought, or entertain it!

When we choose to serve God and others, what we worry about is robbed of its power!

One time Lily was upset because her sister wouldn’t play a game her way. Fiona said, “You can’t make people play your way, so you can play by yourself and choose whether to be happy or sad.” She said, “I choose sad.”

TURN IT OVER TO GOD

1 Peter 5:7 (ESV)
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Cast your anxieties, which means pray and give your worries, to God. Hand them to Him, then stand back and walk away. If you give your concerns to Him, don’t take them back! You forfeit the right to worry when you hand the burden to God, and He’s big enough to handle it! So often we think casting is like a fishing rod, we throw it, then we reel it back in. The Greek for cast is EPI-RIP-TO, which means to throw or place something. The longer you entertain this worry in your head, the more power you give it. So, give it to God in prayer and don’t snatch it back!

WORRIES ARE POTHOLES ON YOUR FAITH JOURNEY

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Worries are potholes on the long and winding road of faith. God builds faith slowly but surely, not throwing you in at the deep end, but adding miracle upon miracle so that your faith is built and strengthened on a lifetime-long journey. Our worries increase when we struggle to trust in the Lord with all our heart and instead, we lean on our own understanding. But using that TRUST solution holds true. Take time out, remember the Lord’s blessing, unburden yourself, seek first His Kingdom and, finally, turn it over to God and let it go! Prayer is how you turn it over to God, and He gives us a promise…

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

IT’S TIME TO UNBURDEN

Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace!

What are you worrying about today? What is stealing the peace in your heart? Are you worried about the future, about finances, about your kids? Do you stay awake at night rehearsing every decision you have made, or conversation you’ve had? Today is the day you can be set free from the burden, the weight, the stress of worry. It’s time to let it go! Today is the day that worry gets replaced by the peace that passes all understanding, but it takes a choice. What will you choose today?

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