WINNING OVER WORRY
What an appropriate description! Worry strangles our peace of mind and our enjoyment of life. There's a direct connection between fear and worry. Sometimes they may be interchangeable. Worry affects us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Dr. Charles Mayo said, "Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health."
God instructs us not to worry, and Scripture overwhelms us with reasons for not being anxious. Let's look at an interesting incident in the Old Testament that gives us a powerful defense against worry.
2 Kings 6.12-17
12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Imagine waking up and finding your city surrounded by an enemy army! Elisha's servant was worried sick, terrified. But through this frightening experience, he learned a wonderful truth.
"'Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
Elisha didn't have a worry in the world! God had sent an angelic army to protect his servant. After surveying that breathtaking display of power, he knew what the outcome would be.
1. From this, we learn a key principle:
Introducing God into the equation changes the odds, no matter how frightening the situation looks.
Maybe you're thinking, Well, that's the Old 'testament. There were all kinds of miracles then. That doesn't apply to this day and age. That's not true. This incident is an illustration of a New testament principle described in
2 Cor. 10:3-5: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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."
Contrary to the saying, "What you see is what you get," what we see is not all there is. Intense warfare is constantly being waged in the spirit world. Like Elisha, we have angels protecting us too. This is one reason we should not worry.
God has also given us the armor and the weapons necessary to defeat our powerful enemies. Ephesians 6:10-18 is a wonderful passage depicting our spiritual armor as the armor of a Roman soldier. Every piece of that armor is defensive except one. The only offensive weapon we have is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." God's Word combined with prayer defeats our unseen enemies.
Do you see why fear and worry are so unnecessary for the believer? God is on our side. He has given us what we need for peace of mind, protecting us from the cancer of worry. He knows everything that's going on, just as He knew what the Syrian king was plotting in his war room. He can prevent or permit whatever He wants, and sometimes He allows things that will hurt us. Why? Because if we trust Him, He will work them for our good. God is our Father, and we are His responsibility, just as we earthly parents are responsible for our children.
2. Here’s another important principle:
Worry happens when we assume responsibility God never intended us to have.
You may be thinking, If we don't worry, how will I feed and clothe my family? Isn't worry a good motivator? Doesn't it help to keep us on track? The answer to these questions is a resounding NO!
When Jesus was here on earth He addressed the issue of worry as it relates to all of our lives. First He dealt with our motives and goals, urging us,
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:19-24).
Don't worry about your life. God feeds the birds, and you are much more valuable than they are.
3. A third principle: God knows what you need.
When your child was born, you didn't wait for it to tell you it needed milk or clothes or that it needed a diaper change. Of course not! You knew what your baby needed, and it was your joy to provide it. With far greater understanding, our heavenly Father knows what we need, and He is certainly a better parent to His children than we could ever be to ours.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:34).
When Jesus spoke these profound words, He didn't mean we would not experience heartache, pain, uncertainty, and suffering of all kinds. He simply meant we should not anticipate it ahead of time.
In other words, "Never borrow from the future. If you live in dread of what may happen and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice. Worry is the interest paid to those who borrow trouble."