“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34
Worry is a problem brought about by our relationship to the things of this world and of this life. It does not matter whether one has an abundance of worldly goods, or the lack of it, both conditions lead to worry; no one is immune from this vexation.
Worry can be considered as a failure to apply our faith; however, delving further into this problem reveals that worry is in itself a definite entity, a tremendous power that grips and takes control of us. It is an active force, and failure to recognize this facet can lead to defeat. It is almost similar to a personality that takes hold of us, in spite of ourselves, and keeps arguing with us. It leads to this curious perverse condition where one almost does not want to be delivered from it. Worry has an active imagination; it can conceive all sorts of strange eventualities and possibilities and by its power, transports us into the future, making us troubled by things that are purely imaginary.
How can we address worry?
First, consider what the Lord said about the folly of being anxious: worrying about the future is utterly useless because it achieves nothing; it is a pure waste of energy, and its threatened calamities are hypothetical, uncertain, and may not happen at all. Moreover, the result of worrying about the future cripples us in the present; we hamper our effectiveness today, and therefore diminish the totality of our effectiveness with regard to the future.
Second, Jesus says every day must be lived in and of itself, as a separate unit. Each day has a quota of problems; we must not add tomorrow’s quota to today’s, or it would be too much for us. We are to live each day to the maximum.
Third, just as we compartmentalize our lives into each twenty-four hour period, we are to apportion our whole relationship to God in the same manner. Oftentimes we fall into the jeopardy of believing God for the whole of our lives, but not believe Him for the particular segments in our lives. We must learn to walk with God daily, rely on Him daily, and take things to God as they arise.
Fourth, we are to apply our faith. Just as the psalmist talked to himself and reasoned with himself, we are to talk to ourselves and to our faith; we shake and remind ourselves about our faith in God. Furthermore, a large part of faith is just rejecting anxious thoughts, refusing to be burdened by worry because we have cast our burden upon the Lord.
May the Lord give us the wisdom and grace to carry out these principles to cease from worrying, enabling us to rejoice in Him every day of our lives.
*** Reference: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”, Martino Publishing, CT, 2011, pp. 146-157.
*** Photograph: Storm Watchers by Jean Winters Olkonen