Sermon : Four Steps to Win the Battle Over Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)

Introduction

A man was constantly worrying that somebody was under his bed. He went to a Counselor who was willing to help him, but at a high fee, over many months. A few weeks later the Counselor met the man on the street and asked him why he had not returned. The man replied, “I met a friend who gave me some great advice for free. It worked perfectly’. The Counselor asked what advice had been given him and the man replied, ‘He asked me to cut the legs of the bed down to ground level”!

How much we worry and how many of our worries are unfounded? Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can also lead to depression. We worry over sickness, viruses, finances, family, children, salt, sugar, unforeseen dangers and many other things. 

The Longman Dictionary describes worry as ‘an uncomfortable feeling in the mind, caused by a mixture of fear and uncertainty’.

Sadly, according to experts, worry can also take a heavy toll on our physical and mental health. Dr Charles Mayo once said, ‘Worry affects the circulation and the whole nervous system. I’ve never known a man who died from overwork, but I’ve known many who have died from doubt’.

So, what are you worrying about today?

In Matthew 6: 25-34, Jesus spoke about the futility of worry and offered us some insights to help us win the battle over worry. They are,

1)  Understand that worry won’t change anything 

Not only does worry not change anything, it also adds unnecessary stress to our day. As Bobby McFerrin famously sang,

In every life we have some trouble,
But when you worry, you make it double. (Don’t Worry, Be Happy)

Jesus used two easy to understand examples to show that worrying is futile. He mentioned that we cannot either add one cubit to our height or one hour to our life by worrying (verse 27). He also said in a parallel passage in Luke 12:26 , “Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest”? Sure enough, worrying will not change anything, so ask God to change your thinking and to replace your worry with faith.

2) Learn to live ‘One Day at a Time’

Jesus mentions that there is enough trouble for each day and we should therefore focus on living each day as it comes, without worrying about tomorrow (verse 34). This does not mean that we shouldn’t plan for the future, but it certainly means that we shouldn’t worry over it. A quote I read says ‘Planning for tomorrow is time well spent. Worrying about tomorrow is time wasted’. Sadly, most people either live with regret over the past or worry over the future. Can we learn to trust God a day at a time? The scripture says that He is a God who ‘DAILY’ bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19).

3) Believe that God will take care of our needs

Referring to food, drink and clothing (symbolic of all our needs), Jesus said, “…your Heavenly Father knows that you need them” (verse 32). He also used the following two simple but powerful illustrations to show the Father’s caring heart.

a) Birds – “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them” (verse 26)

b) Lilies – “They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes grass of the field …will He not much more clothe you…”(verse 28-30).

God not only knows our needs, He is more than able to take care of them! We are much more valuable to Him than birds or flowers!

Scripture Illustration

In 2 Kings 8: 1-6, a Shunammite lady, who on Elisha’s instructions had left her home and gone to Philistine territory to avoid a famine (2 Kings 8:1-2), returns 7 years later, to find to her dismay, that the house and land no longer belonged to her. In her desperation, this lady (with her son), went to see the King (2 Kings 8:3), hoping for a suitable answer; for maybe small mercies.

It so happened that when she entered and cried unto the King (2 Kings 8:5), he was having a ‘spiritual chat’ with Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, about the great things Elisha had done (2 Kings 8:4-5). Amazingly, at that very moment, Gehazi was telling the King about how God, through Elisha, had raised this very same lady’s son from the dead (2 Kings 8:5)! The shocked King may well have been speechless for a while!

In his surprise, the King then asked the lady whether this was true and she affirmed it (2 Kings 8:6). After all, there’s nothing better than a first-hand account! The end result was that she not only got her house and land back, but also the income from the land for the past 7 years! I wonder whether any bank has that kind of payback scheme!

Truly, God knows how to take care of His children!

4) Seek God first 

Jesus encourages us to “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (verse 33), with the assurance that when we do so, all that we need will be given to us. This attitude helps us place our hearts on loving God more than having our material needs met. It also assures us that all the things we worry about will be taken care of by Him. It is a very good policy to follow.

I was born to a non-believing family and suffered with chronic asthma from the age of 6 months. I suffered immensely through childhood and had very little expectations for my future. When I heard about the love Jesus had for me and about His sacrifice for me, I gave my heart to Him completely. I was totally focused on Jesus alone and nothing else; not even my healing. As I began to seek Him more and more, I was completely healed of my asthma as well!

By following the advice of Jesus, we can win the battle over worry. Faith in Him will sustain us in every challenge we face.

Closing Thought – ‘Don’t let the worries of tomorrow hinder your expectancy in God today!’

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