WINNING OVER WORRY
* Let’s not forget the basic meaning of the word worry. It means “to strangle”.
* If you worry, confine it to 15 minutes a day. Don’t let worry strangle you whole day!
* When it comes down to the basics… we have a choice to make: worry and fear or faith and trust?
Replace worry/fear with faith and trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
7 daily steps to help build faith and trust.
1. Don’t Depend on You
We live in a world where trust must be earned and seems to be in short supply. But Solomon, the famous king who wrote Proverbs, knew that trust is exactly where we must start:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
Most of us have faced disappointments, which have taught us that we can only depend upon ourselves. But living the life God has called us to means unlearning that lesson. Instead, we’re meant to rest in God’s understanding.
We may know in our minds that He possesses all wisdom, but sometimes trusting Him completely like that can be tough. So, each day we must consciously lay aside our own plans and expectations—and surrender to His plans.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33
What if we don’t feel like we can trust Him like that? That’s where step 2 comes in…
2. Cry out to God
Surrendering to God begins with our lips and our thoughts. We need more than a commitment to depend on Him; we need to cry out to Him to show that dependence.
“in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6)
When we pray, we admit that His ways are higher than ours. We show that we’re leaving our troubles and burdens and dreams in His capable hands. In fact, the Bible promises that when we reach out to Him in prayer, He hears us:
“Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. ” (Psalm 55:17)
We handed the keys of our lives to Him, and we know that He’s able to lead us.
But in order for that to work, we have to…
3. Run from Evil
So much in this world can clutter up our relationship with God. John, the writer of the fourth gospel, describes them as the desires of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride in our lives (1 John 2:16).
In other words, our blessings can easily become our stumbling blocks when we think of them as what we deserve or what we need to be happy.
Instead, life works best when we remember the true source of our blessings—God—and focus on the things that please Him:
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” (Proverbs 3:7)
Sometimes, the only way to live the life God wants us to live is by separating ourselves from the bad influences that keep dragging us down.
That works the best when we start pursuing something else in their place:
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
Is that easy? Not at all. Fleeing from the evil desires that pull at us means spending a lot of time crying out to God and leaning on Him. But our Creator promises to honor our commitment to Him when we shun evil:
“This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:8)
When we pursue Him, we find life—abundant life.
4. Put God First in Your Life
It’s easiest to put ourselves first. When something good happens, we want to congratulate ourselves with a reward. When something bad happens, we want to console ourselves or find someone to blame.
In other words, we often have a “me-centric” starting place.
Much of our worry/fear deals with money/finances.
Solomon, who had quite a bit of wealth himself, knew that his money didn’t belong to him:
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9–10)
If we can trust God with the first of our wealth, we’re truly showing how much we depend on Him. It makes it easier to trust Him with the rest of our lives.
5. Check Yourself by God’s Word
Let’s be honest, we aren’t so good at evaluating ourselves. We will go to great lengths to excuse our behavior, our actions, and our sins. Who needs a defense attorney when we can pretty much find a reason for any bad thing we do?
The prophet Jeremiah captures this very well:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
If we’re ever going to truly trust in God and flee evil, we have to know exactly where we stand. We have to find an objective measure that tells us the truth. And that truth comes from God and His Word.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll always like what we see or how we see it:
“My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke” (Proverbs 3:11)
Sometimes it takes something bad happening or seeing ourselves in a bad light before we finally admit that we need to change. And the more we’re in the Bible, the more likely this is to happen.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
When we have Scripture planted firmly in our hearts, God will often use that to deal with us.
6. Listen to the Holy Spirit
When Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the church, He told His disciples that this Counselor would be their spiritual compass or GPS:
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
As we go through our day, this same Holy Spirit guides us, too. That means we don’t have to go it alone or hope we’re getting it right. No, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and protects us:
“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14)
7. Rest in God’s Love
When we face a difficult world each day, we can sometimes wonder if God even cares. Why do bad things happen? Where is God when I need Him?
Solomon reminds us that God never takes a break or leaves us to fend for ourselves:
“because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:12)