Are you a compulsive worrier? We have all heard about the compulsive drinker, the compulsive drug addict and the compulsive eater. We call that sin. But is it a sin to be a compulsive worrier? Is it acceptable to God? Do you want to live your life worried all the time? You say you just can’t help yourself. You can’t, but God can. Of all the joy stealers that can plague your life, none is more constant, or more common than worry.
What is worry? By definition it is, “To feel uneasy or anxious; to fret, or torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” We get our English word “worry” from the German word “wurgen” which means “to strangle; to choke.” Our Lord spoke of worry often. In Matthew 6 Jesus told us not to worry about food or clothing or tomorrow. Jesus reminds us that the Father feeds the birds and puts clothes on the grass of the field. Don’t you think He will take care of you? Your Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ said:
- Don’t worry about your food or clothing (Matt. 6:25).
- Don’t worry about today’s news (Mark 13:7).
- Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34).
- Don’t worry about persecution (Matt. 10:28).
- Don’t even be worried about dying (John 14:1-3).
Worry can strangle you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Worry cuts the joy out of life. What are our priorities and what do we do about them? Most of us are confused when it comes to work, worship and play. We tend to worship our work, work at our play and play at our worship. The result is worry! How many have seen the sign or read the phrase, “Why worry when you can pray.”? The opposite of that message has now become popular. “Why pray when you can worry.” We are all tempted to worry and often times, we give in to temptation. God however, has given us a plan for overcoming worry.
Has anyone ever told you that God has a sure solution to worry? If you work at it and practice it often, you can live a worry free life. God’s sure cure for worry is available for every believer who can believe, live and practice the principles of Philippians 4. In a nutshell: Worry about nothing; Pray about everything! We’re surrounded with worries about everything from work, to school and home. But God tells us to be anxious for nothing. In other words, “Don’t worry!” It may seem natural to worry but we’re not called to live natural lives. Believers are called to live supernatural lives under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. We need to switch our “Worry List” into our “Prayer List”.
Five Key Words from Philippians 4- Rejoice, Relax, Rest, Remember and Respond
- The first key to overcoming worry is to rejoice. Worry is wrong thinking and wrong feelings. Can a person have wrong feelings? If they cause problems such as headaches and ulcers as well affect our thinking, then yes we can have wrong feelings. In Philippians 4:4 God tells us to rejoice always, not to neglect responsibility or accept second best because of worry. God’s message is to do your job with all of your heart and trust God to do His part in your life. We must commit though to accepting the outcome of His will. You can rejoice when you…
- Take God and His Word more seriously than yourself.
- Trust God today and you won’t fear tomorrow because God is already there.
- Thank God for His gifts. Focus on the blessings He has given, not what you haven’t yet received.
- Take time to enjoy God’s gift of laughter.
- The second key is found in 4:5, “Relax in God’s peace”. Worrying will make you sick or at least make you feel sick. The Harvard Business review reported 60-90% of medical office visits are made for stress-related symptoms. Relax and lighten up. So much of what causes of worry in our lives never actually comes to pass anyways.
- Third, you must rest in God’s promises to you (4:6-7). Giving thanks will help you get your mind off your problems and on God. Worry drains us and drives our family crazy. When we worry, we believe more in our problems than in God’s promises. Think about how many times you have become tense, uptight and overwhelmed by things that where out of your control. We just need to turn it over to the One who is in complete control of everything, God. When we give it to God, a quietness of spirit and a calming of the mind take the place of anxiety.
- Forth of the keys found in Philippians 4 is to remember to meditate on God’s Word (4:8). Philippians 4:8 cancels out about 90% of all television shows- day and night. The world’s entertainment makes a fortune off peoples fears and worries. God commands us to think about good things that are honest, pure and just. Things that lovely and that have a good reputation, in other words, things that we would call virtuous. You will be hard pressed to find these things in a Hollywood movie or a prime-time television show. You will however find them in God’s Word and in entertainment where “there be any praise”. Time spent in God’s Word is never wasted.
- The last key in Philippians 4 is found in verse 9, we must respond with obedience to God’s commands. Obey God- Paul says to Timothy, “Do it. You know I taught you, now do it!” Too many saints are educated way beyond their level of obedience. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you can not only experience the forgiveness of your sins, but a perfect peace in your mind, heart and soul. God can give you victory over your worries and fears!