Finding Freedom from Worry

For the Christian, here’s the great alternative to worry.  Instead of worrying, we can give it to God, and in return, in Jesus Christ, we receive the peace of God, a peace that we can’t even comprehend.

I want to talk to you about a deadly stronghold. No, I’m not talking about booze, drugs, or porn.

What I’m talking about is worry. Worry, anxiety, fretting—whatever you want to call it—is a terrible stronghold, and along with its close friend, discouragement, worry will suck away all the joy that should come with a life lived in service to Christ.

Worry and discouragement are so dangerous, because they can so effectively put Christians on the sidelines, rather than living a life on mission.

I believe the Bible teaches many keys to being free from worry.  In Matthew 6:25-34, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says,

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (don’t worry) for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say to you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. 33 But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Jesus does command us not to worry. However, I think that, too often, well-meaning Christians use those Bible verses to beat chronically worried brothers and sisters over the head. I think Jesus addresses worry so much not to make us worriers feel even worse, but to show us we don’t have to be prisoners in a stronghold of anxiety. For the Christian, God has far better alternatives to worry.

There are a few principles we can draw from the Sermon on the Mount.
The first principle is this:

There is more to life than what you are worrying about.

Verse 25 says, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” 

A panel of psychologists concluded in a study that most of our worries are about things that never happen, are in the past, or things that don’t matter.

We get overwhelmed with the simple things.

That’s why God speaks of food, water and clothing. Life is more than food, water and clothing – as important as they are. We don’t even think about the more important things God’s got under control—things like the air we breathe or the temperature of the earth. Those things sustain all life, and if God takes care of those things He will also take care of what you are worrying about.

Now here’s the second principle:

If God takes care of His creation, He will also take care of His children.
Jesus gives his hearers two examples to prove. First He says, Look up. Matthew 6:26 says, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?”

Take a good look at the birds. They’re not out the plowing, or planting, or harvesting, or doing any of the activities of farming. God’s relationship with them is as the Creator to His creation.

If God takes care of the lowest of His creation, He will also take care of His children.

Jesus then asks, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” You can’t make yourself grow taller by worrying. Job 14:5 tells us that God has already set our lifespans. Worry is futile!

Jesus moves on to a second example from nature in verses 28 through 30, when He says:

28 And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say to you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

There was no king in Israel wealthier than Solomon, yet his clothing—which must have been fabulous—didn’t compare to wild flowers that still grow in Israel today. Jesus said that, alive, these flowers were more spectacular than Solomon, yet in first century Palestine, it was common to cut them down and burn them because they made a nice, hot oven for baking bread.

So, Jesus tells us there’s more to life than we’re worrying about, and that if God takes care of His creation, He’ll take care of us.

Based on these two principles, I believe, as Christians, we can draw three conclusions.

First: Those who know Christ can live differently than those who don’t.

In verses 31 and 32, Jesus says, “31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.”
As for followers of Christ, Jesus says our Father has absolute knowledge of our needs. Therefore, we ought to live above the level of non-Christians. God expects them to worry, with good reason. He expects us not to.

In Philippians 4:6-7, the Apostle Paul writes, “6 Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

For the Christian, here’s the great alternative to worry. Instead of worrying, we can give it to God, and in return, in Jesus Christ, we receive the peace of God, a peace that we can’t even comprehend.

Those who know Christ can live a different life than those who don’t. From this first conclusion, we can draw a second:

Concern yourself with your Father’s business and He’ll concern Himself with yours.

In verse 33, Jesus says, “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” What a powerful promise! What a better alternative to worry!

If we are going to worry, we should worry about having a consistent prayer life. If we are going to worry, we should worry about studying the Word.  If we are going to worry, we should worry about treating others the way we would want to be treated. If we are going to worry, we should worry about walking across the street and introducing a neighbor to Christ.

Those who know Christ can live differently than those who don’t. If you take care of His business, He’ll take care of yours. Based on these two conclusions, there’s a third and final conclusion:

Just live one day at a time.

In verse 34, Jesus says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Worry tries to bear tomorrow’s problems with today’s strength. There’s enough going on today that God never intended us to bear today’s problems and tomorrow’s anxiety on the same day. We should just live one day at a time and tomorrow we can conquer worry the same way we conquered it today.

Worry and anxiety have much of their roots in the wrong perspective—an earthly perspective. It’s a viewpoint rooted in our flesh. But, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the Cross, those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Him can have an eternal outlook. When we look at our worries with an eternal perspective, they begin to seem much smaller.

1 Peter 5:6-7, says it well, “6 Humble yourselves therefore 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.”

There is more to life than what you are worrying about. If God takes care of His creation, He will also take care of His children. Those who know Christ can live differently than those who don’t. Concern yourself with your Father’s business and He’ll concern Himself with yours. Live one day at a time.

Think about it!

Pastor Bart Denny

Pastor Bart Denny

A native of Michigan, Pastor Bart has served at Bible Baptist Church since February 2017. He previously served as director of operations at Fellowship Baptist Church in Thonotosassa, Florida. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Liberty University. Before surrendering to full-time ministry, Pastor Bart served 22 years in the Navy, and was stationed on two submarines and two destroyers before commanding a coastal patrol ship. Bart and his wife, Jennifer, have been married since 1993. They have two adult children, Kyle and Kiersten, and a third child, Owen, in high school.

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