Do you struggle to get through the day because you're consumed with worry?
If you do, you're not alone. There's an endless supply of things to worry about, both in world affairs and in our personal lives. It can consume us and distract us from living in the moment and from being in tune with God's voice in our lives.
Have you ever stopped (in the midst of all your worrying, it's hard to do!) and considered how obsessive worry impacts your relationship with God and His will for your life?
While you wrestle with anxiety-filled thoughts, you are consumed and robbed of the gift to live in the present moment. And it's in the present moment that God does His work—and that's where He intends you to be. When your worry super-imposes the “future” on the “present,” it empties today of its strength.
Worry Produces Fear and Anxiety
Worriers often live in a continuous cycle of fear and anxiety—the paralyzing by-products of worry. This continuous cycle is like running on a hamster wheel. You can't get off even though you're completely exhausted! This kind of worry goes well beyond healthy concern and places you in a constant state of painful uneasiness. The anxiety disturbs your mind and there is complete turmoil in your thinking. Thoughts become obsessive to the point where you cannot function or even think about anything else.
Is Worry a Spiritual Battle?
Scripture says that God has not given you the spirit of fear. He has not given you this obsession to worry, this fear, this terror… somebody else has: the devil. He would like nothing more than to distract you from God and who God wants you to be. Many are tempted to worry, but when you fall into that temptation and continually worry, then you sin. Worry is sin!
Recognizing that obsessive worry is a spiritual battle makes all the difference. First, it reminds you that you won't win the war on worry in your own strength. As a believer, you have Christ. He never worries, and He asks you to bring all your worries to Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 says:
“Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thankfully, God has provided a way out of obsessive worry—it is through Jesus and through prayer. When you turn your worries into prayers, it's not that your worries go away, but they are transformed from “destructive worry” to “constructive concern.” You've now handed over your heavy worry load to the Lord, and He has control over everything.
Settling into a worrisome situation and an anxious state of mind, and deciding that it's “comfortable” because it's what you've been doing for so long, renders you ineffective to others and to the Lord. Scripture encourages you to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Take your worries to the Lord in prayer and leave them there. Don't pick them back up, but allow the Lord to deal with the burden. And pray all day long, every day, celebrate God, revel in Him, shape your worries into prayers, then “the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds.”
It will take practice, and you might find yourself falling to your knees in prayer many times throughout the day. You can't do this alone. But be resolved to ask the Holy Spirit to help you obey God's command in Philippians and Joshua. It will take courage, but in the end, courage is worry, fear, and anxiety that has said its prayers.
Lord, there is certainly enough in our fallen world to worry about.
But you have commanded me to stop. “Oh dear!”
I don't know how. Lord, help me.
See me here, worrying my life away. How can this be your will?
Forgive me for not trusting you with my legitimate cares.
My spirit will start to listen to your helping words of peace.
Bless me here, Lord; bless me—now.
Thank you, Amen.
(Jill Briscoe, Faith Dancing, Oh Dear)
Dig deeper into the subject of fear and worry by exploring the Bible-teaching resources below: