Are you a Worrywort?

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I was recently on the phone receiving counsel from a pastor friend of mine who lives up north. Through the last twenty years he has been a solid example of godliness and faithfulness to me. His whole ministry has been founded upon trusting God for every need while never mentioning those needs to others. Whenever I need wise counsel, I do not hesitate to contact him. I am very thankful to God for his influence in my life.

However, during our last conversation I was shocked when he described himself to me as a worrywart, who is from a family of worrywarts! I literally had to grab a dictionary to refresh myself on the definition -- “a person who is inclined toward worry.” Wow! What a reminder that every Christian, no matter how mature, battles each day to trust God! Are you ever inclined toward worry? John Piper rightly reminds us that "The fight for joy [in the Christian life] is the struggle to trust God with the burdens of life. It’s a fight for freedom from worry."

 

If we meditate upon the next few Bible verses, we will be greatly helped in this fight. These passages, like no others, ought to humble us to dust with both their profundity and simplicity:  Philippians 4:6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”;  1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

These portions from God’s Word give us no wiggle room. They intend to make us see that all of our self-justification for our anxiousness is sin. In other words, worrying, freaking-out, and having panic-attacks are all examples of what we are not to allow ourselves to fall into and what we are to cast away from our lives. Often, our worrywart reaction is the result of prayerlessness. We must “pray about everything” and never embrace “let go and let God,” but “trust God, and get after it!” This is why Paul said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).

Therefore, the Christian who is not daily attacking his anxiety is a person who is in spiritual disarray, cold and backsliding toward the Lord, and no doubt, walking in the flesh. Our Lord Jesus gives us the supreme antidote for obtaining habitual victory when you are tempted to live that way. He said, “Therefore, I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? ...Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:25, 31-34). Hmmm….

So, let us learn to trust God each day, in every situation, by learning to cast everything upon Him, through praying about everything. For the living God truly does care for His people! I leave you with a final thought:  “It is not work but worry that kills, and it is amazing how much wear the human mind and body can stand if it is free from friction and is well-oiled by the Spirit” (Vance Havner).

O may God deliver us from worrywart-ism, and cause us all to “be still and know that He is God…” (Psalm 46:10).

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