Summary: Worry may be common to all of us but it is sin! God in Philippians 4:6-8 deals with the issue of worry and provides us with four steps to overcome worry.
God's Cure for Worry
One pastor has said that "there is nothing more prevalent in the age in which we live than the increasing problem of tension. It isn't for nothing that the ulcer has become the badge of modern life." We all have to admit that worry is a common problem. We all are anxious at one time or another. For many worrying is their favorite pastime. Worry is neither inconsequential nor trivial. Worry is so powerful that it can fragment your world and wreak havoc on your physical, mental and spiritual health. Think about all the stress-related illnesses that we see: heart attacks, high blood pressure, ulcers, insomnia, headaches, strokes, immune system malfunctions, and even suicide. Christian author William R. Inge defined worry as "interest paid on trouble before it becomes due." Worry is the great plague of life, both for believers and unbelievers. It crosses all educational and economic and racial boundaries. It is human to worry, to fret, to fear something in the future. (Copied) Worry may be common to all but it is sin! God in Philippians 4:6-8 deals with the issue of worry and provides us with four steps to overcome worry.
I Worry about Nothing - "Be anxious for nothing"
A. God clearly commands us not to worry. To worry is to disobey God.
B. Worry about what? "Nothing!" The word for "nothing" is literally "not even one thing" As Christians we are commanded not to worry about one single matter. Nothing is the most exclusive word in the English language. It leaves out everything.
C. The truth is people worry about everything and anything instead worrying about nothing. They worry about:
1. Material things (what they are going to wear, what they are going to eat, how they are going to live) - Matthew 6:25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?
2. Mortality (not just worrying about death, but dying, aging, and health) - 6:27 "And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto his stature? (add a single hour to his life's span?)
3. Moot (unlikely) things they have no control over - 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
a. Winston Churchill once said, "When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." American poet and diplomat James Russell Lowell expressed a similar opinion when he said, "Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen. These two men point out one of the biggest issues with the problem of worry—it unprofitably expends vast amounts of time and energy.
b. Someone has said that only 8% of the things people worried about were legitimate matters of concern. The other 92% were either imaginary, never happened, or involved matters over which the people had no control anyway.
D Worry is not a passive pursuit - there are serious effects to worry
1. Worry causes Distraction and Division - Worry takes our minds off the things of God as we fret over temporal matters.
a. Merimnao is the Greek word used for anxious or worry in most of the New Testament. It is derived from merizo = "to divide;" and nous = "mind." Thus worry means a "divided mind"
b. Anxiety's divided mind causes distraction. It overwhelms the brain and the senses, and that makes it very hard to generate the mental energy necessary to recall memories. When you're filled with anxiety, trying to focus on anything else becomes almost impossible.
c. James 1:8 tells us that "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
2. Worry cause Doubts - most of our worries are the result of a perceived loss of control.
a. Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives.
b. This is seen in Mark 4 where we have Christ, sleeping in the stern of a small boat, with his disciples, as a storm arises, putting the boat in danger of sinking. Starting in verse 38 we read, " And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don't You care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? (Mark 4:38b-40)