What Jesus Says About Worry & Stress

Less StressHave you ever noticed how easy it is to worry?   The root English word for “worry” literally means “to choke or strangle”.  That’s what happens when we worry.  We choke or strangle the joy out of life.

The fact is, we all worry about something.  Even though I’m a believer and committed to God, I worry about my children, about the future and about our church.  What if people stop coming?  What if.. What if?  Worry is essentially a control issue.  Worry is trying to control the uncontrollable.  The truth is, worry never solves anything.

Jesus gives us some insights on worry.  In Matthew 6:25-28, he reminds us

*Worry doesn’t make sense.  Verse 25 “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry….  Not a suggestion, a command.  It’s a hard one to keep.  He knows and he’s telling us “don’t do it”.

…don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?”

We all worry even about things we need such as food or clothing.  Jesus says no, worry doesn’t solve anything.  Worry doesn’t put food on the table.  Worry doesn’t put clothes on your back. Worry doesn’t make sense, it creates problems.

In one Worry Study I read:

40% of our worries never come to pass.
30 % are related to past decisions that cannot be changed
12 % involve other people’s perceptions of us that are not even founded/we cannot change these
10% relate to health…your health gets worse when you worry!
ONLY 8% of our worry is legitimate.

To worry about something we can’t change is useless.  To worry about something we can change is senseless, change it.   Either way we shouldn’t worry.  If I can change it, change it.  If I can’t, don’t worry about it.

Worry is also senseless because it always exaggerates my problems.  Have you noticed that when you get a worry; such as someone criticizes you. Each time you go over it in your mind, it gets bigger ‑‑ until finally, you feel the whole world’s against you.  That’s the way worry is.  Jesus says, “It makes no sense, it throws things all out of proportion.  Life is more than that prison we have created.

*Worry doesn’t meet my needs.  v. 26 He says “Look at the birds in the air.  They don’t sow, they don’t reap, they don’t store in barns.  Yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?   Verse 28  And see, why do you worry about your clothes?  See the lilies of the field how they grow.  They don’t labor or spin but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

Now, He gives us a little lesson here from nature.  And first He talks about bird watching.  Now, I’m not a ornithologist but I enjoy every now and then watching the birds in my yard.  And now God says, “I take care of birds, aren’t you a lot more valuable than birds?  Then he moves from bird watching to a botany lesson.   “Look at the flowers.”  Have you ever looked at a flower up closely and see the intricacy. God took the time to make a flower that’s so beautiful and colorful and it is not even going to last a week.

Animals don’t worry, and plants don’t worry.  In all of God’s creation, humans worry.  We weren’t born worrying.  It’s something we learn.  We have work at it to get good at it.  That’s good, because if it’s something we learned, it’s something we can unlearn!   Worry doesn’t meet my needs, God does.

*Worry doesn’t change my circumstances for the better.   Verse 27 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Worrying cannot make me taller, shorter, lengthen my life.  In fact it does the opposite, it shortens my life.   It’s like a hamster on a wheel – a lot of activity, no forward progress. That’s what worry is. It’s an emotional treadmill.  Worry only changes is me, not the situation.

Our bodies were not designed to take the stress of worry.  That’s why when we worry, we have health problems — back aches, stomach aches, ulcers and insomnia. Have you ever heard anybody say, “I am worried sick.”  It’s true.  I read that this year there will be 7.5 billion headaches in America.  Every day Americans consume fifteen tons of pain killers.  Worry affects my health.

Somebody has said, Worry is stewing without doing.  Worrying cannot change the past.  Worrying cannot control the future, it makes me miserable today. Corrie Ten Boom has written, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

That’s great but how do I stop?  Berating myself doesn’t work, forcing myself not worry doesn’t work.  How do we stop?

When God commands us you to do something, He always give us the power and the practical steps to fulfill it.   Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended for me to have in the first place.

We will look at those steps in the next post.





About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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