How “stressed out” would you say that you are right now, on a scale of 1-10? Let’s say 1 is like a goldfish in a nice, fresh, cleaned-out bowl of water. And 10 is not knowing how to defuse an Armageddon-level bomb while your radio contact (your step-by-step walkthrough) is cutting in and out so much that you only hear every 5th word. Oh, and did I mention that the timer is at 12 seconds?
How stressed do you feel right now, today, in this very moment? Are you overwhelmed by work, projects, decisions, or just life in general? Are you in a perpetual state of worry?
I have a confession to make. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed and stressed right now.
- Why? ~ Well, I have big decisions coming up (including what college to attend in the fall), two jobs, a summer that isn’t set-in-stone but needs to be because I have to plan other things, essays to write, sanity to keep, and I don’t know what my place is in the “right now” either.
- And why are you sharing this with us…? ~ To prove a point before I even start what this is really about: that I’m so imperfect and I struggle with this too. I’m not up on a pedestal.
Can we agree that at the root of a lot (if not all) of our stress is worry? Worrying about picking the wrong school. Worrying about if you’re going to lose your job, or how you’re going to find one. Worrying about what people say behind your back. Worrying about whether you’ll get a good enough grade on your project. Worry produces stress. I think that one is quite easily displayed..
Can we take a look for a second about what the Bible says about worry? Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry” (NIV). Do not worry about what you’ll eat, drink, or wear; or about tomorrow either.
Other translations say: “don’t be worried” (NASB), “that is why I tell you not to worry” (NLT), “do not be anxious” (ASV and ESV).
I don’t know about you, but those all sound like imperatives to me. As in, something that is a command.
So let’s run with this for a second:
- Disobeying God’s commands is sin. Jesus is God. Therefore disobeying Jesus’ commands is sin.
- Jesus says “Do not worry“. The “do not” implies that this statement is a command. Therefore NOT worrying is a command that Jesus gave us.
- “Do not worry” is a command from God. Worrying is disobeying that command. Therefore worrying is disobedience.
- Worrying is disobedience. Disobedience is sin. Therefore worrying is sin.
Ouch. We don’t really like to think that way, do we? Oh, but worrying is justified this time, my life is just so hard right now!
Nice try. We are told to not worry, end of story.
What kind of a witness are we being when we are stressed out worriers? Are we declaring to the world that there is a sovereign God above who loves us and is in complete control, even when life seems to be spinning out of control? Or are we proclaiming that our God is not faithful, He’s weak, and we really have to lean on our own strength to get through.
Too often, I probably have a sign on my forehead with the second message. And I’m not trying to say here that life isn’t hard, or that you need to just “man it up” and push through. But why are we stressed? Why do we allow ourselves to fall into that? We have a God that offers a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
That’s the kind of peace where even when everything is spiraling and life seems crazy, we can say, “you know what? God is in control of this. I’m going to do my part, and leave the rest in His hands.”
That kind of attitude surpasses understanding. That’s when people will look at you and think, “wait, WHAT? All of this stuff is going on and you can be joyful? You can be calm? What do you have? I want it.“.
That’s the kind of witness I want to be. Don’t you? Let’s focus less on how we can’t handle everything, and more on Him. Let’s take a chill pill, and die to our worry.
25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.