If you were to ask Google to define worry, you’d get a definition such as: “give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” We stew and dwell on things, often beyond our control to the point that anxiety sets in and then we can’t sleep. Job performance decreases. Family problems begin to brew. Our health takes a hit. Yet, the Bible tells us that we should “cast all our cares on Him for He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7). In Luke 12, Jesus taught that we should not be overcome with worry over the basic needs of life. Yet isn’t that difficult to do when you’re not sure how to make ends meet?
When we give in to worry, it divides our attention and distracts us from trusting God. When that happens we have a shift in focus. Instead of focusing on God, we focus on our health, finances, marriage, children, career and make these things our priority. However, we must remember that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can bring about stability, confidence or peace. If you strive after the things of this world so that they are what you live for, then your life will be filled with worry and anxiety. When our priorities and allegiances are founded in the things of this world and we place all our hope and confidence in them, we become unstable and obsessively worry about the things in life that are fleeting.
First, Paul tells us to pray:
“Do not be anxious [do not worry] about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
For every need we experience, we should immediately bring them to God in prayer. In fact, James 4:2 says “You do not have because you do not ask.” In Isaiah 41:10, God says, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” In Luke 12, Jesus taught that if God will make sure the birds of the air are fed, how much more would he ensure that His own children’s needs are met. God might not always meet our needs in a way that we imagine, but God does promise to meet them. So, whatever you are worried about right now, stop and pray. Prayer should always be a first point of attack against worry.
Second, Paul teaches us to ponder.
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
We need to ponder over things that are eternal, such as acknowledging the blessings that God has sent us before and remembering the times He met our needs in the past. Pondering on the things of God that have eternal value – things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable – will shift our focus back from a “worldliness” point of view to a “Godliness” point of view. Pondering is our second point of attack because it is just about near impossible to both ponder on the things of God and the things we worry about at the same time.
Our third point of attack is Praise.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:5)Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
God wants our praise no matter what our circumstances. –Click to tweet
King David puts it this way in Psalm 150:
Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness. Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah!
Praise is a counter attack to worry because you can’t worry and genuinely praise at the same time. We can praise God for how he will answer our prayers and respond to our needs even before He does because we can trust Him to keep His promises.
Lastly, to counter attack worry, we need to prepare.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
When you pray for God to meet a need, do you say the words but in your heart don’t really expect God to do anything? God said He will meet our every need. It doesn’t mean that we get everything we want, but He will meet our needs. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” One part of this verse to pay special attention to is the tiny word “if.” This verse tells that IF we ask according to His will, THEN wen can know that He hears us. In James 4:3, Paul wrote: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Remember that God’s promise is to meet our needs – not every single desire. God is not a genie in a bottle to grant our every wish. It is true that at times God also graciously gives us some of our wants, but “wants” are not part of His promise. So, if we know that what we are asking Him for is a need that lines up with His will, what are we doing to prepare for God to meet that need as we wait expectantly for Him?
Because we live in a broken and fallen world, there will be times that worry creeps in and tries to steal our focus away from God and the abundant joy that is ours as children of God. However, when we bring these concerns to God in prayer, ponder on things of eternal value as well as God’s grace and goodness in our lives, give Him the praise that is due Him and prepare to receive His divine answer to meeting our needs, then we can defeat worry and grow in our faith and trust of a loving, providing God.
God, when worry tries to steal our attention away from you, help us remember to pray, ponder, praise, and prepare for your very best that you already have in mind for us. Thank you for meeting our needs.
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