How to overcome worry


I believe that worry ranks up pretty high on the list of things that Christians struggle with on a daily basis. The reason this is the case is because we have so many things that we can worry about. We worry about our health, our possessions, accidents that may happen, growing old, criticism, terrorism and the list could go on and on.


How about you? Do you find yourself worrying about every little thing in your life? In other words are you are worrywart? Did you know that Jesus teaches us that as Christians that we are suppose to worry about such things in Mat. 6:25.


The word “worry” in the Greek means divided or distracted. This is what happens when a person worries their mind because distracted by their anxiety and it can get to the point that it consumes them making it to where they cannot think or do the things that they should be doing. You see there are many problems that can come from worrying to much.


1. Worrying can affect your health.  Medical experts tell us that prolonged worrying or anxiety can lead to serve physical problems.  It can produce (ulcers, headaches, backaches, change of blood pressure, heart attacks, and depression).  Worrying can become crippling if it is not properly controlled.


2. Worrying can disrupt our spiritual productivity.  When worries consume our thoughts, we tend to focus only on those worries.  By doing this, we tend to leave the Lord and His Will out of our lives.  We find little time for prayer or Bible study; and it will lead to a reduced interest in assembling with the saints.


3. In (Phil. 4:6ff), Paul explains that if we worry to much, then God’s Peace will diminish.


4. Worrying affects the way we treat others.  When we worry a lot, we tend to be harsher towards our family, friends, and co-workers.  We get so wrapped up in our worries, that we lash out to those we love the most. 


You see, worrying doesn't accomplish much.  Just as someone once said, “Worrying is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”


So this morning we are going to be looking at several ways that God’s word teaches us on how to overcome worry.


Our first point comes from the apostle Paul in,


Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


This word anxious carries the same idea as worry and Paul clearly teaches us not be anxious or worry but instead bring everything to God in prayer. So what we need to do is when we find ourselves starting to worry about something we need to take worry and turn into a prayer to God and let God deal with our problems. Thats exactly what he wants us to do. Peter tells this,


1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.


Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you;


You see God wants us to put our problems into his lap. He wants us to have enough faith in him that he will make the best of our problems. Now this is very important. Once we turn our worries over to God we must leave them there and allow ourselves to be free from our worries know that our problems are in very good hands.


A great example of this is our Elder Johnny. When Johnny was in the hospital and he was having all those problems that are associated with the treatment of cancer he could of easily been worried about dieing and the pain that he would have to go through but he didn’t do this. Instead he prayed to God often and he cast all his worries and concerns into God’s lap and instead of making his situation worse with worry he simply decided to trust in God and accept whatever the outcome was. Because of his faith and his belief in prayer he was able to be a encourager to those around him. Many of us went to the hospital to visit him to find someway to encourage him but I think that just about everyone that went and visited him ended up being encouraged themselves because worry free attitude that had. He certainly would not have been able this if had allow worry to consume him. So, remember turn your into a prayer and leave your worries in the capable hands of God.


Now the rest of lesson this morning on how to overcome worry is going to come from the master teacher Jesus Christ when he was preaching his sermon on the mount. We will are going to be specifically looking at Mat. 6:25-34. Now everything that Jesus is about to say in these verses is built upon what he said leading up to this point. Jesus had been emphasizing that we must learn to trust in God and lay our treasure up in heaven instead of putting our faith and trust in this old world. Now Jesus is going to give us 4 reasons of why we should not worry and why we should trust in the providence of God.


1. Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I say to you, 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?


So many times we get wrapped up in worrying about material things such as clothing or worrying about what we will eat or drink that we forget about the more important things such as life and our body. Many times we put to much emphasis on physical lives and what effects when our first priority should be spiritual lives and what we are doing to grow in our relationship with God. When we allow ourselves to become so preoccupied with our physical selves this pushes us further and further away from God. So one thing that is important for us to do as Christians to follow the words of,


Psalm 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God


In order for us to every overcome the worries in our lives we must take time out our lives to really think about God almighty and what he is capable of doing for us. We must learn to trust in wisdom and to allow him to direct our steps. When we develop this kind of trust then it will make it much easier for us take the following passage to heart.


Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


So we should not worry because God is control. Jesus makes his second point in,


Matthew 6:26 "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?


Here Jesus is teaching us that God provides for his creation. The birds have to rely upon God’s providence to survive. One thing I have noticed about birds is that they are always singing and you don’t find any birds with worry lines. Birds don’t worry they simply live each day to it fullest. Now God does provide them with food but he doesn’t make it appear in their nest they have to go search for their food. The same thing hold true for the Christian. God provides us what we need but like the birds we must seek it out.


But not only is Jesus showing us the providence of God with the birds he also teaching us that we are a far greater value than birds and if God will take care of their problems how much more do think he will take care of us? Jesus makes a similar statement in,


Matthew 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.  30 "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 "Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


You see it important for us to realize that we are children of God and that he loved us enough to give us his best, his only begotten son. Don’t you think that it speaks volumes that if God loved us enough to give us his son as sacrifice that he going to be there for us. Thinking about God’s care should keep up from worrying.


Jesus 3rd point is this,


Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?


Worrying about things will never add to your life. Think about this. Can you name one time in your life where worrying added any benefit to your life? Can you think of a time that worrying about something changed the outcome? The way  I see it there are only two things that you can worry about.


You can worry about things you have no control over or you can worry about those things you do have control over. However it makes no sense to worry over these things because first of all you cannot change the outcome of those things that are out of your control and so you should not worry about them. Now for those things have control over you should not worry about them either just simply do what you need to do to get the desired outcome.


Besides all of this most of things that we worry about never happen in the first place. So we waste a lot of our time on senseless worrying which can distract us from what should be doing. A great example of this is found in,


Luke 10: 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.  40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."  41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  42 "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." 


In this story Martha was so concerned about cooking and cleaning and other things that she missed out the greatest use of her time, listening to the Word’s of Jesus. You see all the worrying that Martha did not add one thing to her life but Mary who did not allow herself to be distracted by the worries of this life would reap benefits from wonderful words of Jesus.


Now Jesus makes his 4th point of why we should not worry,


Matthew 6:28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.


Once again Jesus makes a similar point as he his did with the birds. Now one thing I want to point out is that lilies could be found just about anywhere in Palestine and so Jesus uses this common plant for his illustration as compares their beauty to that of Solomon’s grandeur. Again we need to keep in mind that the Jews thought very highly of Solomon and his glory and so Jesus was driving the point home that God providence of providing for these lilies was even greater than glory of Solomon. Just as God provides for lilies the grass in field he will also provide for us. Then verse 30 Jesus tells us that those who worry about food and clothing have very little faith and compares these people who worry to the gentiles of that time who worried about such things themselves because they were so worldly. Then he sums up the providence of God by saying that the farther knows that we need these things. And so we have 4 different reason from Jesus why we should not worry.


Now Jesus continues on and gives us 2 ways on how overcome worry.


Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


Now this word “seek” menas to search for or strive for. This means that we are doing our best to put God and kingdom first in our lives. This means we must train ourselves to be looking out for ways that we can serve God and we do so Jesus tells us that everything else will fall into place. Whatever it is that we truly need will be provided for us.


Another important thing to point out is if we are focus our attention on serving God with our whole heart, mind and soul we are going to have less time for our minds to fixed upon worrying. In addition to this when we are looking for more ways to serve God this means that we are going be more active in studying his word, living our life for him and we will spend more time in prayer and all these things combined will increase our faith and trust in God and make it easier for us overcome the problem of worry and it will give us a peace in our life beyond measure.


The second way Jesus tells us to overcome worry is found in,


Matthew 6:34  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


This of course is great advice. It’s important that we stay focused on today because there are plenty of issues that we have to deal with today without trying drag in possible problems we will have to deal with tomorrow. We need to understand that worrying about tomorrow is very unproductive because we can not change the future of those things that out of our control. The more we worry about tomorrow and the next day the less time we have to deal with the problems that need to be taken care of today.


Now I hope from this lesson you have learned that there is real problem with being a worrywart. Not only cause you physical harm it can also cause you spiritual harm. We looked at 4 different reason from Jesus of why we shouldn’t worry. He basically tells us that we must learn to trust in God and his providence to provide for us and help us with our problems. Then we learned 3 different ways to overcome worry. First Paul told to turn our concerns over to God through prayer and allow him to take of our problems. Second Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness. Then third solution, Jesus tells us to stay focused on today’s problems and don’t worry about tomorrow until tomorrow gets here.


If we can learn to apply these 3 solutions to our everyday lives we will be well on away to overcoming the problem of worry.