What will the year hold for us? The future might look rather bleak for some people – loss of job, ill health, financial problems. In such cases the natural thing is to worry about the future, but God says, “do not worry!”
Jesus spoke clearly in His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ about how we are not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). Embedded in His message are three antidotes to worry – Faith, living in today, and a focus on the Kingdom of God.
Worry is an expression of lack of faith in God’s provision. Jesus points us to birds and flowers and asks why we can’t trust as they do. To have faith in God is to believe that He is good, that He knows what we need, and that He cares about us and our circumstances. If we have faith only in ourselves or others, then we surely have cause to worry. However, if our faith is in God we can live in the sure knowledge that, no matter what happens in the future, God will walk us through it.
When my son started his business career he was often worried about his ability to do what was expected of him. I remember repeating to him the well known words, ‘Do your best and trust God for the rest’. If we do our very best yet maintain faith in God, not our ability, then we have nothing to worry about.
Another thing about worry is that it lives in the future.
Regret lives in the past and is concerned with what could have been, while worry lives in the future and is concerned with what might be.
An antidote to worry is to choose to live in today. Jesus put it this way; “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble on its own” (Matthew 6:34). On the positive side, to live in the presence of God we must choose to live in today. God describes Himself as ‘I am’ (Exodus 3:14) and we encounter Him not in the past, or the future, but in the present – today. Regret lives in the past, worry lives in the future, but God lives with us today!
Worry is focused on needs. Jesus tells us that His Father knows what we need and will provide for our needs. However, He makes it clear that pagans focus on needs whilst His disciples focus on the Kingdom of God. If we focus our thought and energy on satisfying our needs, then we will be no different to unsaved people, and like most, we will be beset with worries. However, if we choose to seek God’s righteous kingdom, then we will have little time to worry about our needs.
To apply the Faith Antidote is to express our trust and confidence in God and to acknowledge that He cares about us. It is to thank Him for what we already do have instead of fretting about what we do not have. To apply the Today Antidote is to decide what we are going to do today, just today, and then to do it together with the ever-present Lord. To apply the Kingdom Antidote is to ask questions like; ‘Does my present condition open me to people I would not have normally met?’ and, ‘Does my present experience equip me to help others in Jesus name?’
When we are struggling, our natural orientation is the opposite to what I am proposing. Our inclination is to look to someone or something to solve our problems, to focus on tomorrow rather than today, and to withdraw into a self-preservation rather than a Kingdom of God mindset.
But God’s ways are different to our ways, and only His ways bring us peace of mind.
His ways are the ways of faith, living in today, and focusing on the Kingdom of God . When we follow His ways then worry is crowded out and has no home in us, and we are free to be all that God intends us to be. So… Moenie worry nie!