Summary: In a world filled with worry, Solomon calls us to trust in the Lord.
For many people anxiety or worry is a big problem. Dr. Richard Leahy, a psychologist and anxiety specialist said a few years ago: “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s”.
You find anxiety in a hospital waiting room, a courtroom, the first day on a job, getting ready for a first date, choosing a college, trying to pay a mountain of bills with an anthill of resources, driving in a fierce storm, or even driving in a location that is unfamiliar to you (and seems to be unknown by your GPS). Worry is a problem to which Christians are not immune.
Counselor Les Carter writes,
Worry can be defined as a feeling of apprehension, distress, or uneasiness, usually related to an anticipated event. Interestingly, our word worry originates from an Anglo-Saxon root word that means “to strangle or give pain.” This implies that worry can literally paralyze us, sapping our energy and strength.
People who worry are not merely concerned about their present and future circumstances; they have a mental agenda of the way things must occur. The worrier’s mind is so captivated by what ought or ought not to be, that he can only respond with duress and despair when situations displease him.
That last statement is powerful “The worrier’s mind is so captivated by what ought or ought not to be, that he can only respond with duress and despair when situations displease him. In other words, we form a picture in our head of what should happen that is so fixed that if it doesn’t happen, we don’t know how to handle it. There is probably some area of your life where that touches on your experience.
This morning we are going to look at the Bible’s antidote to worry. To do this we will look at the best known verses of Proverbs and one of the most frequently quoted texts in the Bible. The prescription is both simple and profound.
In Proverbs 3:5-8 we are given a prescription for overcoming worry, anxiety and fear. Look at verses 5 and 6 carefully. There are four verbs. Three are commands for us. One is a verb describing what God will do.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
The three verbs that are commands are: Trust, depend, and seek. The promise is “He will show you which path to take” Verses 7 and 8 amplify on these commands. Let’s take them one at a time.
Trust. Solomon says we are to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” One Puritan writer shares this insight, “Man is a trusting creature: he is always leaning on some object. So deep is his consciousness of dependence, that he dares not stand alone.” In other words we all trust something. Solomon says we should make sure our trust is in the Lord.
This trust is more than, but includes, the command to trust Christ for our forgiveness and salvation. However true trust is more than a one time exercise of faith that leads us to a decision to surrender to Christ for salvation. It is a lifestyle. It means to but our confidence in the Lord for all aspects of our life. It means trusting His commands in the Bible, trusting His wisdom in the times when we don’t understand, and trusting the promptings of God’s Spirit.
Note that we are to trust the Lord. Don’t skip past that. As you read through the book of Proverbs you will see that we are warned about things we tend to put our trust in but should not to trust
• 11:28 Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. [Don’t put your trust in riches or the property you own, your earning potential, or your retirement accounts etc)
• 17:19 anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster. [Don’t trust in military power or your perceived ability to defend yourself] (see also 21:22)
• 28:25-26 Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity. [Don’t put your trust in your ability to “get more than the other guy”. Don’t make greed the motivation of your life.
• 29:25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. [this is the opposite side of the coin . . .don’t let your fear of people control you. In this case you are trusting only what or who you believe is “safe”. ]