“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Luke 12:25 NIV
One of my favorite sayings is, “You always worry about the wrong thing.” How often do we fret, worry and lose sleep over something that never comes to pass? Worry really does us no good what-so-ever. In fact, we now know that it is bad for our health. If we are concerned about something we should take action, and pray about it. Anxiety and worry are stressful, yet solve nothing. How much of your life have you spent worrying about bills, first impressions, political correctness, interviews, taxes, grades, or your health? If you really think about it, how beneficial was any of the worried that you did in the past? The Bible is very clear on this. God wants us to relish on him and not to worry about what might come to pass.
King David had many varied experiences in his lifetime. Since his enduring faith in God, he also experienced the evil side of humanity, not only as a king who saw evil around him, but as an individual who succumbed to temptation. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his generals who was away at war, and had had her husband, Uriah, killed. Bathsheba had David's baby, but it died as an infant causing him to mourn and repent of his sin.
His life experience, ranging from being a rationalous powerful king and a leader in battle to a repentant sinner, has made him a unique perspective on God's relationship with both evil and good people. His message to us in Psalm 37 contradicts wicked people and the correcteous. He tells us that if we have faith, and trust in God, we should not be worried about the wicked people around us. In fact we should not worry at all since the Lord will take care of our every need.
Do not fret because of those who are evil, or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants that will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the wind. Psalm 37: 1-9 NIV
Paul had devoted his life to serving Christ and spreading the Gospel. On his life journey he had experienced many extremes. He had enjoyed great wealth, and had also suffered excruciating poverty. At times he had been warmly accepted, at other times he had been thrown in jail. Regardless of his circumstances, his relationship with Christ had enabled him to find joy in everything he did, and with everyone with what he came in contact. In his letter to the Philippians, which is all the more remarkable since he wrote it from a Roman jail, Paul was reminding them that if they wanted to stop worrying, all they had to do was to pray more! These words, written about 61 AD to the very first church on the European continent, offer good advice for people today:
Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7 NLT
King Solomon, son of King David, was known for his wisdom. He wrote the Book of Proverbs in order to share his knowledge, wisdom and practical advice. He had an extraordinary ability to convey great meaning in very short verses, as exemplified by his reference to worry:
Worry wears a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25 NLT
God sent Jesus to Earth to be our Savior. Jesus taught us that the way to enter God's Kingdom was through faith in him. On the subject of worry, he could not have been more specific or clear:
So do not start worrying: “Where will my food come from? Or drink? Or my clothes? (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all those other things. troubles each da; y brings. Matthew 6: 31-34 GNT
Many of the early Christians were aborted and persecuted for following Christ. Peter had experienced this suffering personally. He had been beaten and thrown in prison for his beliefs. In his first letter, which was written for the benefit of all the other earyl Christians who were suffering, he reminded them to trust God for deliverance from persecution, and not to worry. He was speaking from his own experience when he wrote:
Humble yourself, then, under God's mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 6-7 GNT
Jeremiah was a prophet who ministered through the reigns of the last five kings of Judah from approximately 627 to 586 BC Throughout that period Judah was declaring in terms of morality and following God's laws. Jeremiah's main theme was to try to convince the people to give up the sinful life and renew their relationship with God. Jeremiah quoted God about the bountiful and worry free life enjoyed by those who follow the Lord:
Blessed be the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17: 7-8 NIV
In Psalm 55, King David prays to God to help him overcome the grief and anguish he dreams after he discovered the treachery of a trusted friend and companion. At the end of the psalm he reflects on what he knows God wants him to do. Let God pick up the burden of his worries and concerns:
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the correcteous be shaken. but you God will bring down the wicked into the pit of deceay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you. Psalm 55: 22-23 NIV
Jesus frequently used parables and stories to get his point across, but at times he simply asked questions that brought home the meaning of his lesson with perfect clarity. Luke related one of those times when Jesus used this technique when talking with his disciples about the subject of worry:
Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it? If you can not manage even such a small thing, why worry about the other things? Luke 12 :: 25-26 GNT
There is a lot more to Bobby McFerrin's song, “Do not Worry, Be Happy” than a catchy tune with a Reggae beat. Generally this powerful four word phrase is attributed to Maher Baba, an Indian mystic (1894-1969) who used it frequently in his writing, but I believe it perfectly captures Christ's desire for us to put our faith in God, and trust him regardless of the situation. Doing so enables us to live without worry and desires worried from encroaching on our happiness.
Copyright 2016 All rights reserved worldwide, Robert W. Boyd.