Unleavened Brett

Brett’s Friday Blog Post

man looking stressed or worried

Am I concerned or worried?

We know worry is bad for us. It’s unhealthy, tying knots in our stomachs & kinks in our backs. Many stay awake at night tossing & turning, developing headaches, ulcers, & high blood pressure. Others stew while sweating, pacing, & biting their nails. Then to spread the misery, they take it out on other people. Does worry make you more loving or less loving? More patient or less patient?

There’s nothing wrong with genuine concern–if you weren’t concerned, you wouldn’t care. Concern is paying attention and engaging with a problem. Worry is crossing the line into a nagging concern that causes fear & distress about things that haven’t even happened. Concern will move you to do something about the problem. Concern is like when you leave home & wonder, “Did I lock the front door?” Concern will make you go back to check. Worry is leaving home & fretting that lightning’s going to strike & burn it down while you’re away. Worry is worthless, counterproductive, & doesn’t change a thing.

For Christians, worry is the sin of distrusting the promises & power of God. “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). Worry can’t come from faith. Faith doesn’t inspire worry. Fear does. Jesus reassures us of God’s care (Matt. 6:25-34). He says don’t be anxious about your life & your physical needs & tomorrow. So don’t act like a practical atheist, as if He’s not here & doesn’t care. If you’re focused on the Lord, living for Him, obediently walking with Jesus, He’s going to take care of you.

Scripture tells us: “Do not be anxious about [what?] anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). The reason you don’t experience peace is because you haven’t given the problem to God. So your heart & mind are left unguarded because you didn’t take your concern to God in prayer. You also didn’t fill your mind with His Word. As you immerse yourself in the truth of His Word over & over, He renews your mind so that you have faith-thoughts instead of fear-thoughts.

So let’s just go through some scenarios. Can you protect your kids from all danger? Yes or no? The answer is no. Can you make sure you will always have enough money to get by? No. Can you change your spouse? Some think they can, but the correct answer would be no. Can you cure cancer? No. But now let’s switch from you to God. Can God protect your children from all danger? Yes or no? The answer is yes. Can God make sure that you have enough money? Can God change your spouse? Can God cure cancer? Yes, yes, & yes. All things are possible for Him (Mark 10:27).

You can be set free from the spirit of fear by turning your concerns into prayers instead of worries. God can do anything…except fail. So I will choose to believe that God will not let me down, no matter what. And that “no matter what” really matters. That God can protect your kids from all danger doesn’t guarantee that He will. God can make sure that you will always have enough money, but that doesn’t mean that He will. God can change your spouse, but that doesn’t mean He will. God can cure every cancer, but that doesn’t mean He will.

This isn’t an oblivious Pollyanna-ish “don’t worry, be happy” kind of faith. I can point to people who are struggling with pain daily, & they’ve prayed & prayed, but the pain remains; people who need jobs, & are applying & interviewing, but no offers. So hear this–you’re not going to be spared from everything bad because you belong to Jesus. God still has not failed you. Job, the poster boy for misery, said long ago: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him“ (Job 13:15).

This means that no matter what God does or does not do about what’s worrying me, He will not fail me. He will not make the wrong call. Even if He chooses not to spare my own life, I will still trust Him. This is what separates the fans of Jesus from the real followers of Jesus. When we trust God with the concerns in our lives, we’re acknowledging that He is all-powerful, is caring, & cannot fail.