Handling Fear & Worry Biblically
We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We started with anger and then looked at depression. Today we’re going to begin looking at fear and worry.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.
Fear & Worry: Acceptable Sins
Some sins are so common that they have become acceptable, even among believers in Christ. Fear and worry, certainly, fall into that category. Some of us realize they’re wrong and try to spin them in a little better light with words like: concerned, disturbed, or troubled.
So, what is worry? Why would something that comes so naturally be sinful?
The Greek word for worry is merimnao. It’s a combination of two words: merizo (to divide) and nous (mind). It means to have a divided mind. It’s translated in various ways: worry, anxious, anxiety, or care.
There is a kind of care or concern that is good. Paul said he had deep concern for the churches (2 Cor. 11.28) and he commended Timothy because of his care for believers.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state (Phil. 2.19-20).
But worry is an overly-anxious concern. It demonstrates a lack of faith and trust in God, His character, and His sovereignty.
Jesus addressed worry in Matthew 6.19-34. In this passage, He forbids it three times:
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
The Apostle Paul, also, addressed worry when he said:
6 Be anxious for nothing … (Phil. 4.6a).
The Sinful Roots of Worry
Worry is idolatry. It involves allowing your thoughts and concerns about the future or your current circumstances to become more important than thinking and acting God’s way. Those things about which you worry have become your idols: finding a spouse, the opinions of others, money, success, good health, your children, etc.
When we worry, we often have an inordinate focus on things.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6.19-21).
But Jesus warned us that we can’t be focused on the things of this world and still have a single-minded focus on and trust in God.
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
When we worry, we are putting our trust in some other god. We’re looking to something else as our refuge or savior. The answer is repentance and renewing our commitment to trust in God and God alone.
Worry Is Unbelief
Jesus said worriers have “little faith.”
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
The fruit of repentance in the life of a believer is a renewed faith and trust in God. We walk that out by focusing our minds on God’s care and trustworthiness (Matt. 6.25-30), His omniscience (Matt. 6.31-32), and His promises (Matt. 6.33).
And by obediently taking care of today’s responsibilities today: Continue reading
When you are faced with decisions, try asking yourself these four questions to help gain insight?
1 Chronicles 28 & 29
4 Questions to Ask When Faced with Decisions
1 Chronicles 28 & 29:
Decisions, Decisions …
Chapter 28.19, “‘All this,’ said David, ‘the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.'”
Did you notice what David said, “He made me understand in writing …” I’m an on-again off-again journaler, but I see tremendous value in keeping a spiritual journal. I’m not referring to a diary like we usually think of them and I’m not talking about a place to vent and, in effect, sin on paper. I’m talking about a place where we write out prayers, key verses or devotional thoughts and keep a record of our walk with God.
Another way to use a journal in conjunction with our devotional time is when seeking wisdom for a decision. Try writing out your questions and concerns and asking yourself four questions (these are adapted from The Heart of a Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You by Elizabeth George):
Why would I do it?
Why would I not do it?
Why should I do it?
Why should I not do it?
The first two reveal our motives. For example, would I do it because someone else expects it or because of what people may think of me (fear of man, Prov. 29.25)? Would I not do it because of a fear of failure or a lack of trust in God?
The last two get to why God would have us do or not do something. For example, is there a commandment involved? Is God’s glory or my testimony at stake?
This can sometimes be a very helpful process, but we need to remember that something we write out, even in our quiet time, is not the same as God’s inspired Word in Scripture. It is, however, one way God can speak to our hearts and reveal His wisdom to us.
Today’s Other Readings:
From Sheepfolds and Fishing Boats
70 He also chose David His servant,
And took him from the sheepfolds;
71 From following the ewes that had young He brought him,
To shepherd Jacob His people,
And Israel His inheritance.
This reminded me of what Jesus told two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, in Matthew 4.19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” God takes who we are and uses it for His glory! Continue reading