We're concluding our study on the sin of worry today. There are a couple more things that will help us to defeat our tendencies toward anxiety.
Many times we worry because our priorities have gotten messed up. This verse tells us to keep them straight: for believers, that means keeping our list of priorities like this . . . God, other people (especially our families), job, and self. If we can keep these in the correct order, God promises to supply our every need. But so often, we let our worry turn our list of priorities upside down -- our work becomes more important than our families, or our self becomes more important than others. It's no wonder that our responsibilities begin to overwhelm us, and our energies and peace of mind are stolen by worry.
When we truly trust God (walking the walk, not just talking the talk), our priorities naturally fall into place. We will go to worship the Father, even though being at the lake with our family seems really appealing. We will tell the truth, even though it could help us financially if we lied. We will put aside our work and listen carefully to our spouse or our child, who needs our counsel. The peace that these practices will bring to our hearts is amazing.
Then, in verse 34, Jesus gives us practical advice -- take life one day at a time! He didn't tell us not to worry about tomorrow because nothing bad was going to happen. He didn't say that nothing would ever make us sad, scare us, or cause us concern. There will be tragedies. There will be accidents. Companies will fail. People will fall ill. We are not promised a charmed life, with no problems. But we are promised enough spiritual resources to be able to cope with them! The children of Israel were gifted each day with manna -- they were told to gather just enough for their needs that day. In the same way, if our stresses today require four spiritual resources, then God will send those four "reinforcements" for us. If we use up three of today's resources worrying about tomorrow, we aren't left with enough to help us through this day! We need to master the art of living one day at a time.
Growing up, I was blessed to watch the Billy Graham crusades, to listen to the singing of Ethel Waters and George Beverly Shea, and to hear the stories of Corrie Ten Boom. I loved how Corrie took everyday happenings and turned them into life lessons for those of us who will never experience the horrors that she lived through. She told the story once of having heard that a close friend of hers had been persecuted for her faith in Christ. Terrified, she told her dad that she'd never be able to handle that. Her father assured her, "Oh, yes, you will be able to. If God allows you to be persecuted for His sake, you'll be able to do it."
"I just don't think I'll be strong enough," she told him.
Her dad said, "Corrie, do you remember when you were a little girl, and I took you to the train station? When did I give you the ticket for the train? Remember how I waited until just before we boarded the train, and then handed you the ticket? I had it in my pocket all along, but I waited to give it to you until you needed it. God will give you the resources you need, when the time comes."
So, let's remember . . .
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (I Corinthians 10:13)I once knew someone who wore her "worrier badge" with pride. I guess she felt it meant that she truly loved those she worried about....but she never paused to think that it actually meant she was not showing her faith in God. She could have been more of a testimony for Him if she had not worried -- but instead had been an example of a believer who knew her Lord would provide. I pray that I will be an example of faith and trust in my Lord, and that I will say each day . . .