All of us have concerns and stresses, but does that make us worriers? Interestingly enough the word that is translated “be worried” in Matthew 6:25 is also rendered “is concerned” (e.g., 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Philippians 2:20 NASB) and “care” (1 Corinthians 12:25 NASB). I think it is similar to warnings against anger, and yet Ephesians 4:26 states “Be angry, and yet do not sin” (NASB). Everyone will have feelings of anger. The question is how we handle them. In the same way, everyone will have concerns that enter their life. The issue is how we handle them.
At root, the difference between having concerns and worrying seems to be faith. George Muller makes a telling observation when he says, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” What are the Biblical ways of handling our concerns and overcoming worry?
- Trust God. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26, NASB
- Accept the things that you cannot change. “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:2, NASB
- Keep God first in your life. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33, NASB
- Remember the limits of one day. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34, NASB A study cited in Marriage Partnership notes that 60% of our fears are unfounded, 20% are already behind us, 10% are so petty they don’t make a difference, 4-5% are real, but we can’t change them, and 5% are real and we can act on them.
- Pray. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV Abraham Lincoln said, “I have often been driven to my knees by the circumstances I face.”
- Act on your concerns. Worry usually hinders, frustrates, and paralyzes. If we can avoid “worry,” we can usually develop a plan of action about our concerns. Taking action often reduces our stress level significantly.
- Find support in the body of Christ. “…but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26, NASB