I want you to read something, and then let’s talk about it for a moment. This is Matthew 6:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?“ And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
There are very few places in Scripture that are this explicit about us not doing something that most of us still do without fear of repercussions. We worry! And yet, here is Jesus saying “don’t worry about your life…Can worrying add a single hour to your life?…don’t worry about tomorrow.”
Jesus says don’t, and yet we still do!
I preached on this very idea at MPNCanton earlier this year. You can listen to the message or subscribe to the podcast HERE.
Prior to that message I asked people on Facebook to tell me what they worry about. Here were some of their responses:
- Not succeeding
- Making decisions or taking risks
- If you’re doing enough
- Getting older,
- Unfulfilled dreams,
- Career choices
- The future
- Letting people down
- Missing out on what God has for me
Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive but it seems that we are most worried about success, money, health, family and the future.
So if Jesus said don’t do it, but we do it anyway let’s look at 2 reasons most of us worry.
1) A lot of times we think worry might be a warning. We’ve heard those stories of someone who had a feeling or a premonition just before something bad happened, and so we convince ourselves that our “worry” is a warning that something bad is going to happen. I want to come back to this in a moment.
2) Sometimes we think worry is a way of life. What I mean is that we think as a parent we are required to worry for our kids. We think we are supposed to worry about our jobs and our future. Everyone seems to be worried about something so I guess it’s okay if we do too, right?
So let’s address each of these quickly.
1) Worry isn’t warning. The reason I can say this with certainty is because
Worry isn’t the voice of God. The voice of God is the voice of God.
When I learn His voice I won’t mislabel it as worry! If God wants to warn me of something, He warns me of something. He doesn’t give me an obscure worry that causes me to doubt if it was His voice, and that I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with what I’m feeling.
Jesus told us about a helper we would have after He left the earth.
John 14:26-27 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
He said that the Holy Spirit is our Advocate. That’s someone who is on your side. Someone who is there to help you. And when Jesus said He was leaving the Holy Spirit for us, He said that it was a gift of peace for our hearts and minds so that we didn’t have to be troubled or afraid.
So worry isn’t warning. Warning is warning. If I’m unsure whether something is a warning I would ask 2 simple questions:
- Is this a way God speaks (to me)?Be careful not to interject that you think someone, somewhere, that one time felt something before something bad happened…has God ever specifically spoken to you this way?
- How am I supposed to act in light of what God has warned me? I believe if there isn’t a specific response that it’s just worry and not warning. A warning is “Get out of the way, a car is about to hit you”. A worry is “This is a dangerous world where bad things happen to kids.” There’s nothing I can do with that other than to just worry.
So worry isn’t warning. Warning is a warning.