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:
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6.34).
It’s manifested by a life of prayer that includes confession of sin, thanksgiving, and specific requests (Phil. 4.6). It results in the peace that only He can provide (Phil. 4.7).
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4.6-7).
It’s, also, characterized by right thinking and right acting (Phil. 4.8-9).
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
So, worry is sin. It’s idolatry and a lack of faith and trust in God. It must be repented of and confessed as sin. Repentance involves turning and going God’s way in the areas where we’re tempted to worry. That means taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ by choosing to think rightly about God, His character, His promises, and His sovereignty. It means praying specifically about our concerns and being intentionally thankful.
Right praying, right thinking, and right acting lead to the peace which surpasses all human understanding.
Next week, we’ll look at fear and in later posts guilt, trials, and suffering. I hope you’ll be here each week (post goes live at 5 PM MST on Sundays).
IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!
IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!
Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site.