Replacing worry with…

Worry is one of those secret sins that we tend to permit. For one thing, worry begins in the mind and so it can grow a great deal before anyone else might see the external fruit. Don’t be deceived, though. God knows and He sees. We also make allowances for it because it ‘doesn’t seem that bad’ compared to other biggies like adultery or racism.

Hmmm…I think that the devil is smart enough to recognize that with your average committed Christian, he’s not going to pull you down with the sins we consider ‘really bad.’ Instead, he’s going to tempt you with the little things that trip you up day in and day out, year after year. He will steal your thoughts away from what is best and shift them to what seems good.¬† He’ll distract you with ‘what ifs?’ and regrets about the past. He wants to rob you of a victorious mindset.

I don’t want to enter the debate of whether God ranks sins or not. While it is a useful debate, nonetheless, practically speaking, if we see a sin in our lives cropping up, we’d better get to yanking that weed whether it is a big one or a little one because sin is deadly.

I’m sure you’ve observed that in the process of repentance, it’s not enough to turn away from the sin. We also have to have something to walk towards, otherwise we run the risk of finding ourselves right back where we started, or trading one sin in for another.

What do we replace worry with?

  • Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 14:26-27)
  • Wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-15)
  • Trust in God (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Joy (John 15:1-11)
  • Thankfulness (Colossians 3:12-17)
  • Peace of mind (Philippians 4:4-9)
  • Patience (Psalm 27:14)
  • Faith (Hebrews 10:35- 11:3)
  • Prayer (Romans 12:12)
  • Submission (Hebrews 12:7-11)
  • Love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
  • Humility (1 Peter 5:6-9)

Effects of worry

So, if you are prone to worrying, chances are, you’ve recognized it’s a problem in the past, but you may still have trouble trading in a lifestyle of worry for a lifestyle of confidence in the Lord.

Let’s consider some of the effects of worry manifested in our lives:

  • Lost or lack of patience/long suffering
  • Becoming obsessed and/or consumed by the little things that pile up
  • Blurred vision for what God is doing/has been doing in us and around us
  • Indifference
  • Chaotic thinking and living
  • Ingratitude
  • Depression
  • Procrastination
  • Disobedience
  • Unbelief

One of the best things we can do at a time like this is to persevere. No doubt, it’s difficult, but count the cost, friends. What do we gain from giving the devil a foothold if we proceed in a path of worry? It’s important to take the smallest steps of obedience day to day. Keep reading God’s Word. The Psalms are particularly helpful here. Keep praying. Keep listening for direction from Him and following through even though you don’t feel like it or you don’t think it makes an impact.

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Worrying about the future

Is it safe to say that there are plenty of uncertainties in the next few years you face?

How do you keep from being overcome with worry?

Worry means ‘to strangle or choke.’ Worry prevents us from experience¬† contentment and peace in our relationship with the Lord. Anxiety pushes us to living with a divided spirit, both living in the now and trying to resolve what has not yet happened in the future (Dillow pg. 127).

Kenneth Wuest said, “God commands us to ‘Stop perpetually worrying about even one thing.'”

In his book on anxiety, MacArthur shared,

“the believer who doesn’t live in the confidence of God’s sovereignty will lack God’s peace and be left to the chaos of a troubled heart. But our confident trust in the Lord will allow us to thank Him in the midst of trials because we have God’s peace on duty to protect our hearts.”

Here are a few suggestions for gaining victory over worry:

  • Pray specific verses back to God addressing worry and/or mentioning God’s character/names of God.
  • Memorize scripture that pinpoints your areas of struggle. (Have them on hand.)
  • Find a prayer partner who will diligently pray over you and check in with you.
  • Journal about it or talk it through with a pastor/mentor to sort out what lies you are believing deep down.
  • Set aside some time each week to worship God, remembering who He is and what He has done.
  • Seek an opportunity to regularly help out in your church or community. (Worry multiplies in isolation.)
  • Find some hymns or spiritual songs that you can turn to reorient yourself towards what is ‘true’ and ‘real.’
  • Discern if there are practical steps you can take to alleviate what causes the worry. (i.e. sometimes we procrastinate dealing with something on our plate or avoid addressing a situation with someone)
  • Identify a list of things that fall under the category of what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Begin or end your day reviewing this list.
  • Study Genesis and the Gospels for accounts of God’s faithfulness in the lives of real people with problems. Read Christian biographies on people who struggled and persevered in faith. (i.e. Corrie Ten Boom, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, Amy Carmichael, William Cooper, Frances Havergal)