Not to worry you further, but we need to face this foe. We must understand it in order to avoid it. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject. Even Jesus himself talked a great deal along these lines. He wanted us to be free of worry, as there is no benefit to it. There are no pluses, only minuses. The only thing worry changes is – you! It leaves you a wreck on the inside. I suppose that’s why Jesus raised the issue. He began his discussion by saying:
“Do not worry 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, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
God Cares For the Birds
The word for worry in the original New Testament transcript was merimnao, which is Greek for: to be anxious, or to be troubled with cares. The examples cited above by include those basic necessities of life, such as eating, drinking and clothing. Keep in mind that Jesus wasn’t speaking to privileged people with full pantries and humongous wardrobes, as if they were conflicted by a multitude of choices. He was addressing regular folks who simply wanted daily needs met. Jesus was telling these fretters, ‘Don’t be troubled. Don’t let your cares put you over the edge. It doesn’t help. It won’t add one cubit to your stature.’ In other words – it gets you nowhere.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, therefore we fret. This is why it’s so crucial to press into the Lord. He is the one thing in life that is certain. And, thank goodness, He does know what tomorrow holds. He’s not at all worried either! Neither will we be once we truly cast our cares upon Him. What we need to realize is – how much He values us. If He cares for the birds, how much more does He care for those created in His likeness? Should you have any doubts, look no further than the cross. Jesus wasn’t nailed there for our fine, feathered friends. He laid down His life for you and me! To Him, we were worth it.
This is what got the Apostle Paul through his day-to-day struggles. He knew what it was like to go without. He was well acquainted with hunger, nakedness and homelessness. One thing Paul could never count on was tomorrow. Nor did that even matter to him. In writing to the churches in Philippi he said:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
According to his own testimony, Paul’s secret to daily survival was that he trusted in the Lord fully and completely. In his divinely inspired writings, he instructs us to do the same. Now, this kind of trust doesn’t happen over night. It develops through cultivation. Unless we cultivate a meaningful relationship with the Lord, the trust (faith) just won’t be there. The result is uncertainty, and uncertainty leads to worry, and worry to unrest. Once we reach that point, it’s hard to be content in any state.
You can’t two-time. One gets dumped for the other. As true as that is, it seems impossible to commit to either. We may say goodbye to that tramp called worry, but when life gets crazy we’re begging to have her back. And we never stop lusting for contentment when she’s kicked to the curb.
One thing, however, is certain: worry is sure to knock on our door. When it does, we must cast our cares upon the One who loves us like no other. Knowing the value He places on us makes it all the more easier. Honestly, it should drive us to Him like a bee to honey. I hope you realize how much you mean to Him. At the risk of sounding cliché I’ll say it anyway: had you been the only person on the planet He would have given His life for you! It’s true. You’re the world to Him. And only in His presence will you find true contentment. Worry is not welcome there. While the Light is left on for us, worry gets the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660