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Worry is a Thief

Worry is a Thief

Recently I have been pondering worry. There is much to worry about!

Coronavirus.

Stock market changes.

Overnight tornados.

Life in general.

These are all very legitimate reasons for concern.

I find myself wondering if worry is mostly a game of expectations. It seems like when I consistently expect that things will go poorly, that thinking breeds worry. What if I could set my mind on peace and expect God’s victory?

We build our life on expectations of how things will go. First dates, movie releases, vacations – we build up future experiences in our minds, anticipating how great they will be.

But if we’re being honest, frequently our expectations aren’t met. The date doesn’t go how we had hoped. The movie is disappointing and it rains on our vacation. And in the midst of that, our expectations drive us towards worry.

One of the most famous passages in all of Scripture about worry comes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-27, 34

Worry is a thief.

Charles Mayo, the founder of the esteemed Mayo clinic, once said, “Worry affects your circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system.” I’ve never known anyone who died from overwork, but many who died from worry. Worry will steal your joy and the expectations of your life.

This is why Jesus in verse 27 says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

This is one of the places in scripture where, when I read what Jesus says, it seems to lack continuity with the ways in which I experience the world.

I mean, after all, if I could just tell Jesus all of the ways that I am experiencing life, all of the things that are making me anxious, all of the things about my story that seem messy and out of control, surely he wouldn’t say, “Be anxious about nothing.”

But, Jesus know a secret.

He knows that a lot of our worry is built on our belief that things aren’t going to go well for us. Even when they do go well, we’ve spent so much time dreading whatever we’re facing, the joy of the victory gets stolen.

But Jesus knows what he can do for us.

He assures us of our future.

And then he reminds us to whom we belong.

It reminds me of the story of Gideon. When we meet this “great” judge, he is hiding in the bottom of a wine press, avoiding his enemy. There in his hiding place, Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, calls him a mighty man of Valor.

God gives Gideon an assurance of his identity and an assurance of his future. With this new assurance, Gideon walks up onto that hillside (the hillside he’d been avoiding while hiding in the bottom of the wine press), reaches out his arms over his enemy, and his enemy flees.

Gideon realized he belonged to God. Gideon remembered that he was never alone. He became confident that the victory was his. Worry fled when he was reminded of God’s promises.

I would ever ask you to downplay or ignore the circumstances of your life.

Instead, in light of the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus, put the circumstances of your life today in the perspective of your future, where victory for the children of God is assured.

Don’t worry! Jesus is in charge.

And, always wash your hands…

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Chris Lawson

Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

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