Written by Karen Carlson
If you had to give a definition of worry or anxiety, how would you define it as it applies to your life? If we give it a general definition we could say: Worry and anxiety are the tension and distress experienced over the anticipated loss of some valued possession. We’ve all felt it!—it can be the fear of the loss of a child who has become very ill, the fear of losing a job and wondering how the bills would be paid, anxiety over the relationship of a spouse who seems apathetic and distant, distress over wondering whether the lab report will indicate a cancer-free or cancer-filled diagnosis—no one is immune to events that can hammer and flatten our emotions and sanity.
Like battery acid, worry will eat you alive. It will steal your life, it will tie your stomach in knots, it will dominate your thinking and it will cast an ominous cloud of fear over everything in your life. Dr. Charles Mayo, of the famed Mayo Clinic said, “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands and the entire nervous system.” Worry will do to your emotions and your physiology that sand will do to your car’s gas tank—it will gum up the system and wreak havoc and destruction! Worry is also like a smoke alarm—when your worry kicks in, the alarm sounds. It means something is very wrong; it means your sense of security is on fire. So how do we silence that alarm?
I Want The Alarm Silenced!
If we look at Matthew 6:24, Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and riches. Then in verse 25 Jesus continues: “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life as to what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body or what you will put on…”
The Lord tells us: Do not be anxious, do not be anxious, do not anxious! The wonderful news is that God has an actual action plan you can be a part of and count on—a plan that has the power to remove the anxiety and silence the alarm. If you believe that God is in the business of producing miracles, then you’ve taken the first step in the right direction.
God’s Action Plan:
God’s action plan incorporates three crucial verbs or action words that one must take seriously and actually perform. Those words are: ‘Trust—Give—Seek’
#1: Trust God To Take Care Of You!
‘Trust’ is an action word—Trust God to literally take care of you! You can’t just acknowledge that God has the ability to take care of you; you must believe and trust with your heart and soul that God will take care of you; and you need to depend on it! When Jesus said, If I feed the birds, how much more am I going to feed you? If I clothe the lilies of the field in tremendous splendor, how much more will I do for you? It becomes clear that the over-arching message from God is: TRUST ME! In Matthew 6:30, the words are compelling and convicting when Jesus says: “…Oh men of little faith” It becomes abundantly obvious that worry is a lack-of-faith issue! Worry is the anti-thesis or opposite of faith. Think about it– Worry begins where faith ends! When you stop trusting God, you make room for worry to creep in. In fact, are you aware that worrying is actually a sin? If we read Romans 14:23, the message is thought provoking and is saying: “Whatever is not of faith, is sin. If you do anything you believe is not right, it is a sin”. If we’re not trusting God, we become men and women of little faith. Worry is a big deal in God’s eyes! The more we worry, the more we separate ourselves from God.
Whenever we worry, there are three messages we are giving God, whether we realize it or not:
** Message 1: God, I don’t believe you are aware of what I’m going through~~
One might say: “Where were you God when my husband left me? If you had fully understood what I was going through, you would have intervened and eased my pain!” Psalm 139 says this: “Lord you know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, oh Lord you know it all…all the days designated for me were written in your book before even one of them came to be.” God knows! He reassures us He even knows the number of hairs on our head and that not one sparrow will fall to the ground without God’s knowledge or permission—Matthew 10:29-31.
** Message 2: God, you must not care that much for me~~
One might say: “I don’t see you coming through with my provision. I can only assume it means I’m just not that important to you!” In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, “Cast all your cares upon God because He cares for you.” God does care for you and He cares very deeply! If we turn to Matthew 8: 1-3, “Behold, a leper came to Jesus and bowed down to Him saying, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him saying, ‘I am willing, be cleansed!’ and immediately, his leprosy was cleansed.” Jesus touched the man before He cleansed the leper—think on that for a moment.
** Message 3: God, I don’t believe you are able to actually help me~~
One might say: “Even if you are aware, I’m convinced that not even you can help me with this circumstance! Ephesians 3:20 states: “Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than all we ask or imagine…” Be assured that God is more than able to take care of any circumstance!
The Bible is filled with situations where people are stuck between a rock and a hard place—positioned in surroundings that certainly appear to be 100 percent absolutely hopeless! When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and reached the Red Sea—only to be followed by the Pharaoh’s blood-thirsty army which was ready to annihilate every man, woman and child—God purposely led the Israelites to the shore of the Red Sea in order to show them that He, their God, was able!! Who would ever have imagined, during that terrifying and tense moment in time that God was about to part the Red Sea? God’s message, yet again, was “Trust me, for I am able! There is nothing I can’t do!”
In Jeremiah 32: 27 there is a wonderful verse for anyone to memorize: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for me?” Is your situation too challenging for God? Worry leaves God out of everything—trust Him! Be anxious for nothing!
#2 Give God Ownership Of All You Possess!
Worry is tied to possessions and the possibility of losing part or all of one or more possessions. One thing we must understand is that God owns everything you have ever acquired!—your job, your home, your children, your opportunities, your health—all of it! We are simply stewards of those things God has chosen to place in our lives. Psalm 24: 1 tells us: “…The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” You and I really don’t own anything. God owns everything; and when anyone of us takes our last breath, there is not one single thing we will take with us that we called ‘mine’ while living. Again, worry ties into possessions. God tells us not to worry about things; not to worry about possessions. God is, in essence, saying: “You need to give those over to Me because they really don’t belong to you, anyway. They belong to Me.” And even though everything we acquire and enjoy belongs to God, He is simply allowing us to manage His possessions.
Matthew 25:14 is so fitting: “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.” This is what God has done with you and me! Here is where worry comes in—anytime you start worrying, the smoke alarm that says—Ahh, ahh, ahh—you have un-rightly taken ownership of things that don’t belong to you! Give your self-imposed ownership of your things back to God where they belong. You are the manager, not the owner!
A friend of mine who thought he had cancer, which proved to be a benign growth, had simply had enough of the worry he was choosing to internalize with one event after another in his life. He decided to make out an actual contract to God—a contract on paper where he, for the first time in his worrisome life, decided to cast his concerns to God, and God alone. He had no desire to own his worries any longer. On the bottom of this contract, he wrote these words: I am a slave of Jesus Christ! I trust Him to do what He needs to do to me and for me because He knows what is best, not I!
You, too, can have that kind of confidence in Christ! Wrap your mind around these thoughts: My car is Yours, my family is Yours, my finances are Yours, my pets are Yours, my house is Yours, my health is Yours—I sign it all away! I mentally and emotionally relinquish it all and lose it all, and am at peace with that! I am a slave of Jesus Christ! Give all ownership to God!
#3 Seek God First In Your Life!
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” One of the key words here is first. Keeping that contract with God will depend on whether or not you seek God first, each and every day. The word first in verse 33 means to seek continually! Seek God every single day, and every day reaffirm your contract with Him!
Psalm 105: 4 reinforces this by saying, “Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His face continually.”
Worry and anxiety are all rooted in what is going to happen! Worry is always looking to the future, the unknown future. After the Israelites had walked on dry land where the Red Sea had parted, they ended up wandering in the wilderness day after day after day; and in fact, they were in the wilderness for forty years. Nonetheless, the Lord provided them with food that fell from the skies—manna (bread) and quail from Heaven! In Exodus 16 we’re told of how God provided food every day—divinely and supernaturally—to the Israelites: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Look, I am going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day.” Moses went to his people and told them what God had said. Moses spoke these words: “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning…” If we jump down to verse 13 and 14, it becomes quite astonishing, and it says: “That evening, vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning, the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance, as fine as frost, blanketed the ground.” Then Moses says to the Israelites: “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.”
God has grace to help you, too, in your time of need. If you want to test who is your master, ask yourself, am I anxious for those things in my life? You can’t serve God and stuff at the same time since only one master can be served at once. If the Lord Jesus Christ is really your God, if He’s really enthroned as God in your heart, your worries will starve to death. And in place of all those anxieties will be an inner peace because the Prince of Peace is in charge! Regardless of what is going on in your personal or professional world, if you completely trust the Lord and transfer ownership of everything you own to Him and seek Him, He will fill your heart with a peace that surpasses all human understanding! Amen.
Faith Activates God—Fear Activates The Enemy