Study 6 THE CONQUEST OF WORRY
Key Verse: “Who are you that you fear mortal men…that you live in constant terror every day…because of the wrath of the oppressor?” (Isaiah 51:12-13)
This study is a very simple one, but its aim is to deliver a death-blow at this terrible oppressor called Worry. A modern writer has entitled his best-selling book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” – and we might well take that for the title of this present Bible study. But do we need such a study? Yes, for most of us worry either about something that happened yesterday, something that is almost certainly going to happen today, or something that may or may not happen tomorrow – and yet it is still perfectly true that – “If we worry we do not trust; if we trust we do not worry”. With our Bible open before us, let us emphasise two main truths: it is both sinful and foolish for a Christian to worry.
1. WHY IS IT SINFUL FOR A CHRISTIAN TO WORRY?
- 1. It is sinful because worry is dishonouring to the Lord. When we worry we doubt God, and nothing dishonours Him so much as when His people fail to trust Him. Look up Matthew 14:31 and Hebrews 3:12. Do you not think it is a sin for a Christian to worry? Look up Romans 14:23 (last phrase), and compare Hebrews 11:6. If we, the children of God, are filled with fear and worry, is that of faith? See what the Lord Jesus said – Matthew 6:34, and remember that all His commands are His enablings.
- 2. It is sinful because worry is damaging to ourselves. Nothing works greater havoc in our life than persistent, gnawing worry and fear. It has often been said that it is not work that kills but worry. Worry damages us mentally and physically; but it is also damaging spiritually, for worry robs us of peace and power and places a barrier between ourselves and God. Worry paralyses Christian work and witness. Look up Philippians 4:6-7, and compare 1 Peter 5:7.
- 3. It is sinful because worry is detrimental to others. When a Christian worries his testimony is affected. As Christians we are believers, and if the world sees us full of unbelief what stumbling blocks we must be! We believe God, and yet we are filled with worry. On the other hand, if when in the midst of trial and stress a Christian manifests a quiet confidence in God, what a great testimony this is to the world! How calm the Lord Jesus was on the eve of His arrest, His trial and His crucifixion! – see John 14:27, and look up Isaiah 30:15.
- 4. It is sinful because worry is desirable to the Devil. When we worry we play right into his hands, and for this reason, if for no other, it is a sin to worry. Anything we knowingly allow in our life which plays into the Devil’s hands is a sin. Compare Acts 12:6 with John 21:18-19. Why was Peter so restful and able to sleep in prison, even with the threat of death hanging over him? It was because he was trusting in the word of the Lord Jesus. He had told Peter that he would not die until he was old, and just then Peter was far from being old. How Satan would have cheered if he had seen Peter stewing instead of sleeping, and how pleased he is when we worry instead of trusting! Incidentally, if Peter had worried it would all have been futile, for he would have been worrying about something that would never happen, as in answer to prayer he was released from prison (Acts 12:17).
2. WHY IS IT FOOLISH FOR A CHRISTIAN TO WORRY?
It is foolish to worry when we consider that the thing we are worrying about may never happen. But supposing it does happen? What then? It is still foolish, for the following reasons:
- 1. It is foolish because we gain absolutely nothing by worrying. Can you think of any possible gain? Of course, if in the goodness of God we have sought and found deliverance from worry, we are qualified to help others to seek and find similar deliverance, but apart from this reflex benefit there is absolutely no direct value in worrying at all.
- 2. It is foolish because if we have worried we are less ready to meet the experiences of life when they do come. We are less fortified to meet the crises of life if worry has already exhausted us, for it dissipates our moral, spiritual and physical energies. It is a fact that worry does more harm than the actual thing about which we are worrying. Look up 1 Kings 19:4.
- 3. It is foolish because whatever happens will only be with God’s permission. Incidentally, never speak about “Fate”, or “Chance” or use the expression “Touch wood!” This is pure superstition, which has no place in a Christian’s life. Whatever happens in the life of a Christian happens in the permissive will of God. Look up Psalm 42:7-8.
- 4. It is foolish because whatever happens will always be for our good. Look up Romans 8:28, and underline the word “all” in your Bible; remember that there is a blessing in every trouble that comes, and that all of us would be the poorer if we never knew what it was to experience any testing or trial.
- 5. It is foolish because even if the worst that we fear happens, God’s grace will be sufficient. Look up 2 Corinthians 12:9. We worry because we have not sufficient grace to meet some dreaded trial, but the grace will only be given with the trial – not beforehand!
- 6. It is foolish because the promises of God will never fail. Look up some of them: Psalms 9:10; 46:1; 73:23-24; Isaiah 43:2; Zephaniah 3:17; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:5-6.
- 7. It is foolish because nothing can ever happen to separate us from the love of Christ. What are you worrying about? Why are you anxious? Read Romans 8:35-39.
Look up Matthew 6:25-33.