Are you a “worry-wart?” A “nervous Nellie?” Or “fearful Fred?”
Some folks worry about everything. Like the 95-year-old woman in the nursing home . A fellow church member came by to visit and asked, “How are you feeling?”
She said, “I’m worried sick!”
“What are you worried about?” her friend inquired. ” You look like you’re in good health. They’re taking good care of you, aren’t they?”
“Yes,” she said. “They are taking very good care of me.”
“Well, then, what are you worried about?”
The elderly lady leaned back in her rocking chair and mused, “Every close friend I ever had has already died and gone on to heaven. I’m afraid they’re all wondering where I went!”
The problem of worry is as old as humankind. People worry about the stock market. Job security. The moral condition of our world. Upcoming elections. Health issues. Computer viruses. Tax deadlines. Parenting problems. Marital conflicts. Identity thief. National security. And saving enough for retirement. The list is endless.
Of course, every age has had its own pressures and problems to cope with. Jesus’ day was no different. In his famous Mountain Message, the Master addresses the issue of worry.
Overcoming worry begins with ordering our priorities correctly. The Lord precedes his admonition, “do not worry” with 3 spiritual principles. (1) When my values are right, I won’t worry about the unimportant things in life. (2) When my vision is clear, I won’t worry the distractions of life. (3) When my Master is God, I won’t worry about whose in control of my life.
The gospel opens our eyes to what is really important. Spiritual treasures supersede the worth of all things material. Spiritual vision offers clarity. Consecration. Focus. Trusting and serving God soothes my soul, eases my mind, and refreshes my spirit.
Three times in this text Jesus exhorts “do not worry.” But how do you do it? What are some simple, practical ways to manage the worrying mind?
#1 Consecrate on God’s Kingdom. It is the most valuable treasure you could ever possess. It transcends the kingdoms and riches of the world. It is the rule and reign of God in your life. It is eternal.
#2 Seek God’s righteousness. Not yours. But His. The righteousness revealed in the Gospel. The righteousness that issues itself in a new life. A nobler life. A holy life.
#3 Live one day at a time. ” Worrying about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today.” wrote Warrren Wiersbe. ” If anything it robs us our effectiveness today–which means we will be even less effective tomorrow. Someone has said that the average person is crucifying himself between two thieves; the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow.”
#4 Pray. God cares. God hears. God answers. “Cast all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you ” (1Pet 5:7).
#5 Read the Word. The Bible is filled with positive exhortations for every challenge. The book of Psalms offers comfort, consolation and encourage for many of life’s worries.
#6. Learn to Relax. In addition to prayer and meditation, look for ways that you find relaxing that help you unwind and loosen up. Maybe its music. Or reading a good book. Or a walk in the park. Interestingly, we find Jesus often retreated to the mountains or to escape the pressure of people and His ministry.
#7 Have Heaven on your Mind. That’s our destination. Our ultimate goal. And the home of the soul. Its eternal reward puts problems in their proper perspective.
Spending time worrying is wasteful. Useless. And negative. Focus on your faith. Fix your eyes on Jesus. And hold on tight to your heavenly hope.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman