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Worry, the 21 C disease. From worrier to warrior

25 Nov 2014

From Worrier to Warrior. Ps 55/Matt 6:19-34
We have a variety of advice given to us in how NOT to worry, none more so popular than the “keep calm and don’t worry” phrases
Anxiety affects around 16% of the population at any given time. Generalized Anxiety Disorder accounts for 30% of the mental health problems in people seen by GPs and 67% of the British population state that money worries cause them anxiety. 34% of the UK population agreed that they use alcohol to quash anxiety. Broken down, this relates to 37% of men and 30% of women admitting that they are likely to turn to alcohol to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression.
Worry cannot change our past, but it can affect our future as well as ruin our present.
On average a person's anxiety is focused on 40% of things that will never happen, 30% on things about the past that can't be changed; 12% on things about criticism by others, which are mostly untrue, 10% on health, which gets worse with stress and 8% on real problems that will be faced.
40% that might happen and 8% on that that might.
The good news is God is not divorced from our concerns. Amidst the Beatitudes Jesus identifies the three main human concerns for life:
Earthly concerns: Vs. 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth....”
Physical concerns: Vs23. “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light….”
Financial concerns: Vs24 . “…you cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Notice too in Luke 4 how satan tempts Jesus with self same human concerns. Why, because worry is a faith issue. These concerns are driven by our anxiety not by our faith hence Jesus saying Vs 30 “O you of little faith

To starve worry we need to feed faith.
Worry is:                                           Unreasonable (vs25).                         Unnatural (vs26)                                Unhelpful (vs27)                              Unnecessary (vs30) and                       Unbelieving (vs31,32)

But, Jesus isn’t saying don’t worry, as that’s a human impossibility, what he is saying is, YOU don’t have to carry the worry – in other words, pass it over!

We act as though God doesn’t exist when we live to fear, our heavenly father knows our needs and he will provide, its in black and white – vs 30 “will he not much more cloth you: To worry is to erect an idol to a dead god, but placing faith into the capable hands of the living God produces testimonies of His provision and care. “Have I not commanded you to be courageous” he said to Joshua 1.

Many of us carry around with us the memories of what God HASN’T done, “disappointment feeds unbelief” but faith believes for what CAN be done. That’s why Jesus informs us 5 times not to worry (vs25;27;28;31;34) in the Greek it is a command not a request as it highlights our trust in His ability to meet our daily needs, ‘according to his riches… “are you not more valuable they the birds of the air”?

When we worry we literally separate ourselves, we divide our feelings, there is a divorce between faith and fact.
The Greek word for worry is ‘merim-nah-oh’ which means “to divide into parts” the word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure.

Jesus never requires anything from us without equipping us to achieve it: And so He identifies three tools that can help us keep worry from the doorsteps of our lives.

We will manage worry better when we exercise faith fuller.
1. Who we look too determines victory or failure vs 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light…

Elisha’s servant needed his eyes opened to see where God’s army was amidst man’s, Jesus said “I can do nothing unless I see the father..” and Saul became Paul when the scales fell from his eyes. Where we place our vision will be where we place our hope as our eyes are the lamp of our heart.

Massena, one of Napoleon's generals, suddenly appeared with 18,000 soldiers before an Austrian town which had no means of defending itself. The town council met, certain that surrendering was the only answer. The old dean of the church reminded the council that it was Easter, and begged them to hold services as usual and to leave the trouble in God's hands. They followed his advice. The dean went to the church and rang the bells to announce the service. The French soldiers heard the church bells ring and concluded that the Austrian army had come to rescue the town. They broke camp, and fled.

To worry is to feed fear, but God’s “perfect love casts out fear” (1Jn4) to place fear over faith is to forsake the peace that only the Lord can give amidst trials, tribulations and drawbacks.

We turn from worrier to warrior when we focus on the solution not the problem. King David “strengthened himself in the Lord” with worship, prayer and unswerving devotion.
What we place our eyes on we will desire and if that desire is not met we will be anxious to work towards reaching said desire until it is met. Disappointment comes with unmet desires. To save disappointment, do we pray according ‘to his will here on earth or ours? Do we Look to Him or the problem? Who/what are you looking at?

2. What you hunger after will produce either hope of despair. Check your Heart, 21 ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
St Augustine “Wherever you see fear, anxiety, worry in your heart…follow those trails of smoke down to the fire of the altar of idolatry in your heart.”
What Augustine means is that if we dig down deeply enough into the reasons of the things in our lives that cause us to worry, to fear, or to be anxious, we will find an idol that we are worshiping. In short “Worry ends when faith begins” because we have placed faith high over unbelief.
J. Arthur Rank, the cinema giant, decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his worry box and forget about it until next Wednesday. The interesting thing was that on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to worry about them. What we treasure we submit too, we give ourselves too, God has built into us a desire for relationship with Him, which if not satisfied leaves us open and vulnerable to other sources of  satisfaction. Check your desires.

3. Where your treasure is determines whom you worship. Choose who you will serve. Check your Hands
vs 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
A woman who had lived long enough to learn some important truths about life remarked, "I've had a lot of trouble and most of which never happened!" She had worried about many things that had never occurred, and had come to see the total futility of her anxieties. Worry is a false prophet.
Vs 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing….
The key  of course is verse 30 “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Putting God’s Kingdom first is the first step to God’s provision and partnership.
1) Turn to his word (the atmosphere in which you may understand his will.
2) Turn to prayer (the language of the King)
3) Turn to worship (the oxygen of heaven)
Lets pray to hand over our fears and anxieties and to have a renewed hunger for study, prayer and worship, lets place our supplier before the need. Amen.
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