By Pastor Mitch Horton | July 2000 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
The speed and intensity of life seem to be increasing by the hour! It seems we all have more and more to do with less time to do it. In the ensuing hustle, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life.
I believe we are living in the time just prior to Jesus’ return to the earth. He described this time period in Luke 21:25-26, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations; with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; (26) men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
When Jesus spoke of men’s hearts failing them for fear, I believe he was referring to the worries and cares of life that would attempt to strangle our joy and peace.
For years, physicians have warned of the dangerous effects stress and anxiety have on our health. A high percentage of illness is precipitated by worry! Proverbs 14:30 reads, “A sound heart is the life of the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” Berkeley translates this verse as, A relaxed mind makes for physical health; but passion is rottenness to the bones.” In the Amplified version we read, A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body….”
To elaborate, I believe worry is more than just a health problem; it’s also a SIN problem! For us believers, worry is the outgrowth of pride and unbelief.
We read in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, (7) casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”
It takes humility to trust God. Pride is actually taking a stand against God and His word! Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4).
Humility, on the other hand, is trusting that God will fulfill His Word in our lives. To humble ourselves, we must be willing to believe God’s Word and give up trying to reason out how He is going to bring it about! Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Worry is also the sin of unbelief, which occurs when we trust something other than the Word of God.
We believe something about everything we encounter. Let’s ask ourselves exactly what we are believing about each area of our lives. What do we really believe about our children, our spouses, our homes, our finances, our future, our health etc.? Jesus said, “....as you have believed, so let it be done to you….” (Matthew 8:13) and “....According to your faith, let it be to you.” (Matthew 9:29)
The depth of our worry determines how far we eventually separate ourselves from faith in God’s Word, and from His best for us. Since the Lord told us to cast our cares and worries upon Him, then of course He gives us the ability to do it!
Let’s examine how we can practically apply 1 Peter 5:7 to our stress-surrounded lives. Notice the wording: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” The Amplified New Testament reads, “Casting the whole of your care - all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all - on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and about you watchfully.”
Some people have the idea that they can handle the little things, so God only has to deal with the BIG ones. But He wants us to trust Him to take care of EVERYTHING, from the smallest daily need to major areas, like our jobs, our families, and our health.
Jesus said that if we are faithful in the little things, we would also be faithful in big things. (See Luke 16:10) So if we worry about the lesser things, we will have a tendency to worry about everything. Maybe you face frustrations in your job, or feel lonely and neglected by your spouse. Or perhaps you are pondering unanswered questions left in the wake of baffling circumstances. Each of these is just as important to God as the “big” things.
God’s plans for us include no place for worry. Notice these different translations of 1 Peter 5:7a;
“Let ALL your anxieties fall upon Him….” (Moffat);
“throw back on Him the burden of ALL your anxieties….” (Knox);
“you can throw the WHOLE weight of your anxiety upon Him….” (Phillips);
“cast EVERY worry you have on Him…..”(Williams).
Our lives and all they contain are the personal concern of God Almighty. He knows when a bird falls to the ground, as well as how much hair we have. He cares for all animals and vegetation worldwide; and He has promised that He will take care of us EVEN MORE! (See Luke 12:22-32.)
The word “care” in 1 Peter 5:7 literally means “to be drawn in two different directions.” or “to be distracted.” This same word is used in Matthew 6:25, when Jesus said,”....do not worry about your life….” It is also found in Mark 4:19 in the parable of the sower, “And the cares of this world,....entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
Worry is sliding backwards. It hinders fruitful harvest, distracts us from pursuing God’s best, and bogs us down in the mire of unbelief. Worry is essentially fear of the future. Someone has aptly said, “Fear is always based on a lie; deal with the lie, and the fear will die!”
1 Peter 5:8 reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The admonition to be “be sober, be vigilant,” could be translated “be mentally self-controlled; be watchful or ever on your guard.” Subtle worry thoughts are tools of our enemy. They are sent to creep ever so slowly into our daily routine to distract us and to undermine God’s Word in our lives! The devil wants us to take our eyes off of our only hope, “the author and finisher of our faith,” and to keep them on our problems.
But God desires that we fix our thoughts and our focus solely on Him! “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isiah 26:3). “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2). In order to conquer worry, we must become ruthless with all negative thoughts.
Philippians 4:6 is God’s answer to the sin of worry. “Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your need in earnest and thankful prayer.” (Phillips). This verse tells us exactly how to cast or give to the Lord every problem that causes us concern. Instead of yielding to worry, REPLACE it with specific, believing prayer. We are to PRAY about every detail of life that bothers us.
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