As we move into what we call our “silly season” in South Africa with increased social engagements, end of year deadlines and exams, I catch myself worrying. I think we all worry to some degree because we all carry with us a certain amount of fear with regard to the future. In essence, whether you worry about the future or the present, the foundation of worry is still fear of some sort.
Wikipedia says that worry “refers to the thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats.”
Worry is generally negative and often about things that have not happened yet, or things that are out of our control. Jesus is very clear in Matt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life.”
Being a “worry wart” is not God’s design for us. Some of us battle with excessive worry that debilitates us, this can be part of a greater anxiety disorder, and we may need treatment and counselling. But most of us experience seasons of worry when our fear simply overwhelms us.
The opposite of fear is not courage, the opposite of fear is faith.
So it is interesting that Jesus says in the same passage that God is able to provide for us and that when we worry we are: “…O you of little faith.” We demonstrate “little faith” when we worry.
Faith is believing and praying for something, for which there may not be any evidence of in our present circumstances. Fear interestingly, is being afraid of something, for which there may not be any evidence of in our present circumstances.
We either operate in fear, or we operate in faith.
So when I catch myself worrying (fearing), I need to examine what I believe (faith). Jesus then states a principle to live by in Matt 6:33 and I will share it as I understand it from the New Living Translation:
God will provide what you need, if you live His way and make the Kingdom of God your first priority.
We know it as “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” from the NIV.
It is a principle that:
- Looks to God, His nature and His provision for our needs: physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual.
- Seeks to live according to God’s design as the best design for your life. Anything outside of His design as described in scripture, brings trouble and hurt into our lives as a consequence.
- Prioritises God and His Kingdom in our energy, finances, time and talents. If our priorities are right, all else will fall into place in the order set up by God’s Kingdom.
This principle is a mental attitude that one has to train your mind to, as well as practically how you live your life.
Then Jesus addresses specifically the fear of tomorrow and what will happen. He starts with “Therefore,” which tells us that the above principle is relevant to our fear of tomorrow and how we approach our tomorrows. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus told us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have trouble. Tomorrow (personified) has trouble of her own to worry about. We instead are not to borrow trouble from Tomorrow in our today. Instead and here is the second principle Jesus gives us when it comes to worry:
We are to live one day at a time.
God’s provision of what we need is a daily thing. Jesus knows that we are made of dust and are likely to be concerned about tomorrow’s provisions, so he warns us to not include tomorrow in our today living. Give tomorrow’s troubles to Tomorrow to worry about. You live, one day at a time.
These two principles have been live changing for me. Once I understood them, I have worked hard at embracing this thinking and attitude in my life. It is one thing to acknowledge the truth of these words and quite another thing, to creatively live them out in your life. But dear friend, I tell you today that it is so worth it, to apply this truth to your life.
Father, thank your that your word says that our heavenly Father knows what we need and that You are intimately involved in providing everything that we need for life. Help me to start operating in faith and not in fear. Help me to step out of fear and start applying the principles to my life and my thinking. I declare that I am not longer a person that worries, in Jesus Name.
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