What it means to worry and how to stop it

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Since I am attempting to address the very real issue of worry and worrying it would be good to begin by laying down a few guidelines. The first would be that the command to not worry is plain and simple to understand, and the theology behind the command is of course sound, spoken by Jesus and demonstrated in how God treats us differently to the rest of His creation. The second would be that we must make a distinction between the worry which is attached to pleasure and desires, that is not being able to have what we want and that of real responsibilities.

When a person takes responsibility and finds himself in a place of responsibility, the loss of a job and therefore a financial income which pays for such necessities as shelter, food, clothing and water is no small matter. The pressure which can come upon one person can be multiplied several times for Husbands and Fathers. Now if the family has been taught to lean on God, trust in Him and lean not on their own understanding and abilities the pressure is released on the head of the household. However, with living in a socialist country the temptation is for the state to take the place of God when it comes to what we trust in and this is idolatry. The point here is not to make a case for how God provides but to rather humbly declare that He does provide and that this should put an end to our worries.

Our worries and God’s plans

People can worry when it comes to how they are going to make ends meet and others worry about how they will be able to meet and keep to the same standards that they are used to. In order to address the issue of worrying it seems best to not focus on those who worry over being unable to adapt their lifestyle to cope with loss, but to rather spend our time thinking through why worry can be so crippling for those who don’t desire much and what they do desire is all those things which God has given us in His creation to live.

It could be that we would get to see what Jesus was preaching about in the Sermon on the Mount, of how God takes care of the nakedness of the lilies and how the birds of the air are fed, if we lived day by day, from hand to mouth and without the social care we have. Much of our worrying starts even before the glass is half empty and perhaps it takes for God to provide at the point when we have nothing else to lean on for us to truly understand that God can do what He said He would. Perhaps those who don’t worry as Christians don’t worry, not because they are convinced of God being their provider but rather because they have so much to full back on. What seems to be the case is that some of those who worry and those who don’t might just be the way that they are because of how much they have rather than how much they don’t have.

Worrying doesn’t improve the situation

We don’t improve the situation we are in by worrying, we know this and yet we still worry. This could be because we feel that it is an expression of responsibility, that is taking our responsibilities with the seriousness it deserves, but this is nothing more than trying to control only that which God can control. This is what all those who take their responsibility seriously need to remember, that worrying is not an expression of being faithful to your responsibilities and therefore not worrying cannot be an act of unfaithfulness.

There are lots to worry about in the world and we notice this from the world’s point of view and this, in turn, causes us to worry because as Christians we were born again to live by faith and not by sight. We must also remember that eternity changes our perspective on life in this world, “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18.

Weakness in the walls

There are so many verses to quote to convince us that God is able to provide and therefore stop us from worrying, but one verse would be enough if only we believed it. What we are struggling with is a weakness in the walls of our mind and hearts, ” A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” This is a sobering proverb (25:28) and therefore worry in the mind is like rioters in the streets. When our minds are preoccupied with worry rather than seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, our minds are like the ruined walls of a city which are unable to protect.

How to stop worrying

When Jesus teaches us about how not to worry, He concludes with the ultimate reason, that worry is not something which exists in the relationship between you and the Lord God. Jesus teaches that our “Father knows that we need these things…” and by showing us that God is our Father we should see the point being made, that we live under the care of God. The command to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” is not a command to get on with it and stop complaining about what you don’t have, rather it is a command to kick our worrying into touch. Those who seek first the kingdom of God live in the comfort that all those things mentioned will be added unto us, live in the knowledge that God looks after His people.

 

By Daniel Ralph

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