What Can Worry Do?
from our talk series Habits, here is the audio:
Matthew 6:25-26 —- 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
The only creatures in God’s world that can worry are human beings!
Matthew 6:27 —- Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? NO!
Worry is powerless to actually help us. It only has the power to hurt us.
What can worry do?
– Make you miserable today.
– Make you dread tomorrow.
– Make you regret the past.
All of these are related to a lack of control…
– We get worried when we feel out of control (like hydroplaning on a wet or icy road. All your muscles tense up!)
– We want to be in control of everything.
– But we have something even better – we have God in control.
– We can either reach over and grab the wheel, or trust him.
Matthew 6:28-30 —- “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
Worry is a symptom of a deeper problem – a faith problem. If you’re worried, don’t worry about it. Instead, push into your faith and kick that habit! God would never command us to NOT do something (worry) if he hadn’t already given us the prescription for kicking the habit.
How to Kick the Habit of Worry:
A consistent prayer life is the antidote to worry.
Phil 4:6 —- Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Thankfulness is anchored in the reality that God has always shown up. Thanksgiving is a response to something happening to us or a gift given to us. You’re never thankful for nothing. So, when Paul says, “Don’t worry but be thankful,” he’s asking us to remember, to count the times that God has shown up. What did God do when he showed up in your life?
So, how does this work? How does a consistent prayer life break the habit of worry?
Rom 12:1-2 —- And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
“Give your bodies” – That means there’s a behavior at work.
“Sacrifice” – That means we need to do something radical!
“Change the way you think” – That means the key is in how we are thinking, not how we are acting.
In order to drop a bad habit, you need to pick up a new good habit. That takes a change – a change of your mind.
– Behaviors follow thoughts.
– Too many times we’re driven by our feelings, not our thoughts.
– When we worry, we need to stop and rethink.
Paul uses the Greek word metamorphoses – you heard that back in fifth grade, a butterfly.We have to change from one thing to another, drop one thing and pick up another.
If you have a heavy mind (with lots weighing on it), you need to start unpacking and repacking it.
+ Unpack the negative thoughts (God doesn’t love me, No one likes me, It’s all on my shoulders, This is how I cope, It won’t really hurt me…)
+ Repack the positive thoughts (God cares for me, I am his child, I am loved by others…)
What do we need to change in our mind to kick the habit of worry?
1) Know the difference between “want” and “need.”
Matthew 6:31-32 —- “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Most of our worries aren’t about “needs,” they’re about “wants” disguised as “needs.”
– We think we need that new thing or that extra whatever.
– We think we need to get invited to that or hired at that place.
When we understand the difference between “want” and “need,” we can stop worrying. Why? Because God promised to give us all we need.
2) Know the difference between “first” and “last.”
Matthew 6:33 —- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
What you think of first is what is important to you. When you put God first (first day of the week, first hour of your day, first 10% of your pay), then what happens is everything else starts to fall into line.
– It’s not that God is waiting for you to straighten up and now he’ll fix it for you.
– It’s when we put things in right order, everything else seems to line up.
What’s really first in your life? What needs to be first? What do you need to shove to the last?
3) Know the difference between “today” and “tomorrow.”
Matthew 6:34 —- So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
What has to get done today? What needs to be address today so that you’re ready for tomorrow? What are you worrying about that hasn’t even happened yet? It’s okay to be prepared and ready. It’s not okay to be obsessed about every little detail.
“What if this goes wrong? What if this one thing turns upside down?” I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow, when tomorrow is today.
You’ve got enough on your plate today that you don’t need to start putting out fires that haven’t been started yet.