Some have called it the “acceptable sin of the saints” since almost everyone does it, and few really label it what it is–sin. And what is this wrong which we label “acceptable”? It’s worry! And we ignore and justify doing it. “I just can’t help it–it’s my nature!” Besides, we justify, there is a great deal of difference between anxiety–justified concern–and real worry. Perhaps! But, I for one, am never sure when I’ve crossed that line and have allowed my sleep to be taken from me as I wrestle with issues when I’m praying about it, but worrying about it at the same time.
When you struggle with this issue, may I suggest a checklist–a series of questions which you must face.
Question #1: Am I praying about this situation, giving thanks to God that He is bigger than my problem? Corrie ten Boom was a woman who, in her war experiences, had legitimate things to worry about such as, “Will I ever come out of Ravensbruck concentration camp alive?” In her book, Each New Day, Corrie wrote, “When I worry I go to the mirror and say to myself, ‘This tremendous thing which is worrying me is beyond a solution. It is especially too hard for Jesus Christ to handle.’ After I have said that, I smile and I am ashamed.”
Question #2: Am I allowing this worry to choke God’s Word in my heart? In the parable about the sower and the seed, Jesus said that the worries of life “choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Worry becomes our master, causing us to forget what God has promised, what He is honor-bound in His own time.
Question #3: Do I really believe God is in control of my life, or am I living with a false sense of security? Our actions really answer that question. Mark Twain, a man never noted for his religious convictions, once wrote, “I am an old man and have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.” The child of God can live with the conviction that God is able to spare us from situations or else confront us with them, depending on His sovereign will. But in either situation, He is with us no matter what happens so we can live without worry.
Question #4: Would this worry disappear if I took time to sit at Jesus’ feet as did Mary? Take time to review that story found in Luke 10, and notice in particular Jesus’ advice to Martha, who said, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:41), and that one thing was to be in His presence. Put your name in there and hear Him say, “You… are worried and upset about many things, but being in my presence is the answer to your care.”
Question #5: Have I, by an act of my will, laid this worry at the feet of Him who said, ” Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, ESV)?
Question #6: Is what worries me really worth the effort in light of all eternity?
A final thought: OK, everybody does it, but what can be done about it? Recognize worry for what it is: sin. Confess it and stop doing it. Identify your worries, and tell God about them, letting Him know how you feel as well as what causes your concern. Having prayed about it, if you can do something about the concern, get busy. And fall back on the confident assurance that the promises of God’s Word are true.
Resource Reading: Psalm 37:1-18
Text: Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5, ESV
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 5, 2017