Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27
Our 24/7 news cycle underscores the fact that we have plenty to worry us. Every day seems to announce a new disaster, a devastating tragedy, a shocking terrorist attack, or an unimagined horror. And in the middle of all this, Jesus tells us quite directly that we are not to worry. He points out the simple provision for the creatures of the air while at the same time bluntly asking us when we’ve accomplished anything through worry.
From John 16 and 17 we see Jesus preparing his disciples for the hardships they will soon face. Rather than anticipating his own pain and suffering of the cross, he is concerned that his followers will be strengthened to stand. He assures them that they will have trouble in this world but tells them to cheer up. He has already overcome the world. The theme of peace and joy in Jesus permeates these two chapters and echoes Philippians 4:6-7 that reminds us of the incomprehensible peace given to God’s children through prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving.
Who’s not tempted to worry? But do we really achieve anything through worry? I’ve not yet seen empirical evidence to indicate the positive effect of worry. So what steps can we take to avoid this temptation?
- Acknowledge/confess the problem – worry.
- Remember God’s promises found in the Word – seek them out or ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them.
- Apply the promises – determine to activate Scripture through discipline and prayer.
- Let go of worry – choose to trust God and his Word.
- Listen to God’s voice and obey – quiet yourself to hear so you know what to do next.
Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the Lord. Peter walked on water until he became distracted by the waves. God is able to do what he has promised, but we must do our part in pushing aside worry, praying, and thanking him. That’s when the peace comes but not until then.
Father, we are living in trying times. Cause us to move from worry to trust so that we live in your peace. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.