In Bible study today, worry was our topic—worry about people, places, and things . . . concern for safety and health and comfort and work . . . apprehension for living in faith while fearing what that sort of life may require.
Worry is a nuisance, certainly. It is also, in its worst forms, faith-stealing and action-crippling. God knows this. So worry is addressed in the Word to give us some instruction and hope. And Jesus, being Peace embodied, combats worries on our behalf when we cozy up close to the Truth.
We looked at a passage from one of Peter’s letters (2 Pet. 5:6–11). In it, he tells us how to combat worry. Here’s the passage from the Amplified Bible:
Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the dominion (power, authority, rule) forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
And here’s what we learned about combating worry:
1) Get Humble Before God
Humility helps me recognize God’s mighty hand and my need to come under His sovereignty and rule. From this perspective, I see that life is not all about me and my preferences (shocker, I know!)—but rather, it’s about making God’s name known and magnified. When worry has me, I am giving in to the unbelief that God is not bigger than the things troubling me in the moment. John Piper says this in Battling Unbelief:
Jesus says that the root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.
2) Cast Worrisome Thoughts on Him
Worry is sticky; it isn’t easily shaken off. Sort of like the static cling that is innate to those packing peanuts . . . I push them away but something keeps them coming back. Jesus neutralizes the static cling of worry, severing its pull. Casting all my cares on Jesus is the only way to tame them.
3) Be on Guard
I am called to be well balanced (not off kilter), temperate (not unrestrained), sober of mind (not irrational), vigilant (not lazy), and cautious (not reckless). Why? Because when situations tempt me to worry, I can easily let down my guard and become easy prey for the enemy of my soul, who wants to devour my very life.
4) Stand Firm for God
When life gets hairy, my whimpery voice gets the better of me. In such moments of self pity, I have joined sides with the enemy and I stand with him accusing God of being unkind and unfair. I forget to stand firm with the knowledge that God has warned me of the sufferings to come, which He recycles for my good (in time). I must remember that God is about the business of making me holy—not happy . . . although holiness will produce exquisite joy that trumps happiness any day. Holiness-making is no pain-free process; I want to trust God’s work (and heart) even as it stings.
5) Remember Who’s in Charge
God’s hand is mighty. He cares for me, affectionately and watchfully. He is the God of all grace, who imparts all blessing and favor. He has called me to His own eternal glory in Christ Jesus. He Himself will complete me and make me what I ought to be. He will establish me, ground me securely in Him, strengthen me, and settle me (and all my anxious thoughts!). He has all dominion, power, authority, and rule—forever and ever. Amen and so be it! This reminds me of the powerful video made from a message by S. M. Lockridge that he gave in 1976.
After hearing Lockridge describe my King, no worry has a chance.