Summary: Jesus says, "Do not worry." But how? We must learn to place our focus on Christ.
Grace In The Moment, Luke 12:22-34
A young boy was driving a hayrack down the road when the wagon fell over in front of a farmer’s house. The farmer came out, saw the young boy crying, and said, “Son, don’t worry about this, we can fix it. Right now dinner’s ready. Why don’t you come in and eat with us and then I’ll help you put the hay back on the rack.” The boy said, “No, I can’t. My father is going to be very angry with me.” The farmer said, “Now don’t worry, you’ve got yourself all worked up, just come in and have some lunch and you’ll feel better.”
The boy said, “I’m just afraid my father is going to be very angry with me." The farmer and the young boy went inside and had dinner. Afterwards, as they walked outside to the hayrack, the farmer said, “Now, son, don’t you feel better after that great meal?” The boy said, “Yes but I just know that my father will be very angry with me.” The farmer said, “Nonsense. Where is your father anyway?” The boy said, “He’s under that wagon.”
This life is inevitably going to be full of cares and concerns which we do well to consider. Clearly, it is a good thing to be concerned with our lives and take care to consider our actions as they relate to handling responsibilities, duties, and caring for other people. For many of us, however, there are times in our lives when being concerned turns into being worried, when being careful to handle our responsibilities morphs into anxiety, fret, and worry which distracts us and can even consume us and threaten to consume all that is around us.
The things which we love are loved best by trusting God with them. The things we are for are cared for best by placing our faith not in our ability to care for them, but in God’s sovereign grace. It has been said that worry is much like interest paid on a debt not yet owed. Who among us would freely go to a bank and offer them monthly interest payments on a loan we had not yet incurred? Anxiety and worry about the future is just the same way, though many of us find ourselves trapped in patterns of worry at times in our lives while still others find themselves so ensnared by anxiety and worry that they simply cannot find the strength to free themselves from the onslaught of anxiety.
In order to live the grace-filled life which God has intended for us, in order to be free from worry, freed to live a life of active participation in God’s grace, we must first learn to control our thought life. We must learn to replace thoughts of worry with thoughts of trust, thoughts of anxiety with knowledge of God.
It is important to remember here that there is a distinction between legitimate concern and worry. It is right to be concerned, even to some extent worried, about walking in an unsafe area late at night or driving a car which is known to have rotten brake lines! What I will be discussing is more the worry which distracts us from knowing and loving God. The worry that Jesus talks about is the kind that has the power to overtake us and distract us from knowing the grace of God.
I am also keenly aware that as I write this there are many people who struggle so severely with anxiety that they must seek out professional care through counseling and even medication. I have no intention of trivializing the very real pain and stress which anxiety can cause in a persons life. I am convinced, though, that the Bible speaks to all areas of life; mind, body, soul. I am a Pastor and I mean to offer an alternative way of viewing worry in our lives from a purely biblical perspective. As we apply the teaching of Christ in regard to worry, may we find a place of refuge from anxiety and a means of growing in the grace of God!
Do Not Worry
Luke 12:22-34 Jesus lays out a two part method of finding freedom from worry. We must capture our thought life. Human beings have been made Imago Dei, that is, in the image of God. God has made us wonderfully thought filled beings with unimaginable complexities, capacities, and capabilities. Our minds are active, as they should be, but it is not very difficult to become overwhelmed by our own thoughts. One need not look very far or for very long to find a great many things to occupy, fill, and eventually consume one’s mind with concern and worry.
II Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Worry is a battle which takes place primarily in the mind. The trouble is that most of us have convinced ourselves that our internal situation, our internal state of peace or lack of peace, is determined primarily by what is going in around us. To be sure, when the storms of life rage around us, when our circumstances are at there worst, it is more difficult to capture our thoughts in order to bring them into submission to the will of God.