Summary: Are you struggling with worry, fear, anger, temptation? Then Stop It. This sermon tells us how.
We just watched a video from U Tube called “Stop It!” Bob Newhart played a psychiatrist with an unusual approach. Today I am going to take that same approach as we ponder some of the greatest challenges that Christians face.
Imagine if you will that you are approaching God. He looks at you and says, “Tell me about your problem.”
We answer “Lord, I live in fear. I fear I may lose another loved one. I fear I will lose another job. I fear my marriage will end in divorce again. I fear my illness will come back. I live with a lot of fears.”
God may then ask, “Do you want to go through life always afraid?”
We reply “No.”
“Then stop it,” “But Lord,” we argue, “so many things have happened in my past.”
God interjects. “We don’t go there. Look what I said.
‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) You are in a new life now.”
Let me give you some advice from God’s word. ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ (2 Timothy 1:7) When we live in fear, that is not from God. God doesn’t give us a fearful spirit. He gives us power in the Holy Spirit. He gives us his love. 1 John 4:18 says
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
When we live in fear, it’s because we view God as this judge preparing to rain his wrath down on us. We deserve to be punished but He chooses instead to rain his love on us. It is a perfect love that expels all fears. Moreover, He gives us the strength to exercise our self-discipline so that we can choose to walk in victory over our fears.
Romans 8:15 says, “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’” We have God’s spirit inside of us, not the spirit of a fearful slave. Now we can call him “Dad.”
By the way, fear is not always bad, just like washing your hands. Fear of being hit by a car is what stops us from running into traffic.
Let’s go back to God. “Well God, I am not really living in fear. My problem is more about worrying that something will happen. I worry about my kids when they are not at home. I worry that I am going to get sick and leave them behind. I worry about my finances. I worry about a lot of things.”
So God might ask us “Do you think worrying will change things? What percentage of what you worry about actually happens?”
We answer, “Very little.”
“Do you want to go through life always worried? “
We answer “No.”
He replies, “Then, stop it.”
“But God”, we say, “I need to be prepared for the worse.”
Let’s look at God’s word. Jesus said (Matt 6:31-34) “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
God already knows your needs before you ask. And He will provide them as long as your priorities are right. Instead of worrying, He wants you seeking. He wants you seeking the Kingdom about which we have spent the last few weeks discovering.
Some of you may have come here today worried about something that might happen on Monday. God says let your attention be on today. Jesus asked this question; (Matthew 6:27) “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” The answer is “No”
In fact, a recent medical study came to this conclusion; Worrying leads to stress and stress has been linked with a number of health problems. People who suffer from high levels of stress are much more prone to cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, and weight problems and there has even been a link made between stress levels and certain cancers. In addition, stress can lead to severe clinical depression, which of course can even lead to suicide. Not only can stress shorten your lifespan, but it will also have an effect on the overall quality of your life. If you are constantly busy with worrying and stress, you may not have time to enjoy the simpler things in life. People who do not waste their time worrying over things they cannot control usually enjoy their lives much more.