I have been asked a few times why I am a Christian, why do I believe in all this stuff. Do I need some kind of a crutch?
The simple answer is – for peace
Now I am not talking about that liberal hippy kind of ‘peace’ but more about an inner comfort, a filling of the hole deep inside of me, real no worries at all kind of peace. The only thing that makes me feel like everything will be ok is God.
New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I lived in Australia for a little more than a year and had the opportunity to drive all the way up the East Coast and spend a lot of time on the Australian beaches. We worked a bit along the way and had a BBQ almost every evening. You could say we really experienced what this Australian No Worrries way of life was all about. It is real, it is somewhat peaceful, not to worry about finding work or about crime. But it isn’t permanent even with things going well it didn’t take long until we were searching for something to make us feel better I started reading the bible and began the journey of discovering who God was, my mate I was traveling with also started reading, but all about Budha and found some peace and answers but just like the no worries Australian lifestyle, it was also only temporary. Gods peace is permanent but it doesn’t mean you won’t sometime forget that it is.
At times troubles do come our way and it is natural to occasionaly or sometimes even frequently feel stressed or worried. I found this verse in Philippians 4:4-9 quite helpful, I hope you do to…
The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God’s answer for us.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good report,
if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things.
Our pastor also did an awesome Preach on worrying, and in it he said to be a warrior not a worrier.
Below are his sermon notes –
Two businessmen were talking about the economic recession. Jack said, “I’m about to lose my job, and our house is in foreclosure – but I don’t worry about it. Bob, his friend, asked “How can you not be worried?” Jack answered, “I’ve hired a professional worrier. He does all my worrying for me. That way I don’t have to think about it!”
Bob replied, “That’s a fantastic idea. How much does it cost to hire a professional worrier?”
“R250 000 a year,” Jack answered. “R250 000! Where are you going to get that kind of money? Jack replied, ‘I don’t know. That’s his worry!”
Turn with me in your Bibles to: Matt 6:25-34
– Combination of wisdom and compassion
– He knows the heart of man
He knows we’re ready to reject the warnings of worldliness with the argument that we cannot help being anxious about the things of this life
ILL: YES Tony it’s so easy for you to say ‘don’t worry’
– you don’t know what I have to deal with and you don’t know what’s happening on my life
– I have to provide for my family and in these days it’s not that easy – things are expensive and it’s tough out there – you wouldn’t really know as a pastor – “oh really?!!!!!”
Jesus foresaw these arguments and gives us an answer here in this scripture
WORRY – Oxford – a thing that causes anxiety or disturbs tranquillity, disturbed state of mind
Worry comes from the old English word meaning – ‘to choke or strangle’
Opposite – PEACE / FAITH
William Backus – “No drug will rid our lives of anxiety, no psycho-therapy can take it away, and no religion will cause it to vanish like the morning dew. Anxiety remains part of life. You have it because you are a human being existing between time and eternity, surrounded from cradle to grave with what the ancient prayer describes as ‘so many and so great dangers’. The good news about anxiety is that there is a way to deal with it in faith, so as to make the most of it, diminish its power, and find your way through it. If you are willing to stop adding to the problem by seeking every which way to escape and avoid anxiety, if you are willing to let your faith become activated and to follow it straight ahead into your fear, you can discover how to ease and reduce anxiety, and even use it to become the person God wants you to be.”
1. He refuses to allow us to keep up an anxious spirit about the things of this world
– 4 times He says to not worry/anxious about: LIFE, FOOD, CLOTHING, TOMORROW
(glad He said nothing about shoes!)
– don’t be over careful
– don’t be over anxious
– prudent provision for the future is right
– strangling, self tormenting, choking anxiety is harmful
Worry is UNREASONABLE
– to worry about something you can’t change is USELESS
– to worry about something you can change is STUPID
“Don’t worry about the clothes you need. Life is more important than the clothes we wear.”
2. He reminds us of the providential care that God continually takes of everything that He has created
– has God given you life??????? surely He won’t let us live without giving us the basics
– has He given us our bodies???? surely He will not let us die for want of clothes
He takes care of everything!!!!
When we worry – we believe God can’t take care of us – UNBELIEF IS A SIN
Birds don’t worry but God takes care of them. Don’t you realize that you’re more valuable to God than mere birds?
3. He points out the uselessness of over-anxiety
– our lives are entirely in God’s hands
– all the worry in the world will not make us live a minute beyond the time He has appointed
– we will not die till our work is done
Worry is something we have LEARNED to do: no such thing as a born worrier
– from experience: mistakes, failures, unfulfilled expectations – learnt the habit of worrying
– from examples: around us. Studies have shown that children pick up their peasants worries. Anxious parents raise anxious children
Good news! It can be unlearned!
Worry is UNHELPFUL!!!!
V 27 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
4. He sends us to the birds of the air for instruction – we can learn from them
– they make no provision for the future
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
– they literally live from day to day on what they pick up, using the instinct God has put in them
Of course they are busy ‘picking up’ – WORKING, BEING PRODUCTIVE
ILL: Problem I’ve often seen: People complain that God isn’t providing but they are doing NOTHING.
No work! “Did you go to the WIMPY to see if you could work there?” NO?????
One chap I know turned down a job because they weren’t paying enough – 6 months later he still sits without a job and is complaining ????? GO FIGURE
I think what they teach us here is that if any man is doing what God has CALLED him to do he will never fall into poverty.
5. He tells us to observe the flowers of the field
Year after year they are dressed in the most beautiful colors without any labour or striving
v28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
He clothes them with beauty every season!
THE SAME GOD IS THE FATHER OF ALL BELIEVERS
Why do we so doubt that He will provide for us when we see how He looks after the flowers of the valley
ILL: observation – chap runs around outside Fourways Gardens – never seen him without clothes
6. He offers us a gracious promise, as a remedy against an anxious spirit
He assures us that if we SEEK FIRST His Kingdom EVERYTHING that we really need in this world will be given to us.
Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
SEEK FIRST – DO WE REALLY SEEK HIS KINGDOM FIRST?????????
Often we seek everything else first and then His kingdom – SICKNESS – catch my self seeking doctors, medicine etc and then we think of praying and asking Jesus
Worry is UNNECESSARY!!!! ‘God PROMISES that He will take care of us”
CONCLUSION – HOW WE OVERCOME WORRY:
1. WE TRUST GOD WITH EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES – SEEK 1ST HIS KINGDOM
2. LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME
Jesus concludes with one of the wisest sayings ever:
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
– we are not to be consumed by cares before they come
– let us attend to today’s business; leave tomorrows worries for tomorrow
We don’t even know what will happen tomorrow!!!
We can be ASSURED of this: that if tomorrow brings a cross, He who sends it, can and will send grace to bear it
– Half our miseries come from things that we worry will come upon us
– and half the things we expect to come upon us, don’t!!!!!!!!!!!
3. TALK TO GOD
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
This we can be sure of, that David’s words are true:
Ps 37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
By Tony Sivewright