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Philippians 4:6-7

GOD’S WORD CONCERNING YOUR WORRIES

 

Intro: The Most Reverend R.C. Trench, who was at one time the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, had a morbid fear of becoming paralyzed.  One evening at a party, the lady he sat next to at dinner heard him muttering mournfully to himself, “It’s happened at last…total insensibility of the right limb.” “Your Grace,” said the lady, “it may comfort you to learn that it is my leg you are pinching!”

      I told that little story to ask this important question: Do we have any worry warts present this evening?  Of course we do!  For all those of you who are prone to worry, did you ever stop to think how dangerous worrying is?

      Over 100 diseases have been directly attributed to worry! Worry will not only take away your physical energy, it will also rob the soul of its stamina as well.  Why? Worry is the ultimate act of rebellion against the rule of God in a believer’s life.  How?  Worry says that God is dead; and if He is alive, then He is incapable of doing anything about my situation!

      Even though we may know these things, it doesn't change the fact that people worry.  As a matter of fact, worry could be called the most popular pastime of the human race.  One elderly lady said, “I always feel bad when I feel good, for I know that I’ll feel bad after awhile!” What a tragic outlook, yet many people live right there.  Folks, the bottom line is this, When we worry we have ceased to trust the Lord, and that is a sin! 

      When you get right down to it, although the calendar says that there are seven days in the week, there are really only three.  Two of them should never cross our minds in worry.  One of them is yesterday, and it can never be changed.  The other is tomorrow and no man holds the power to affect tomorrow.  Today is really the only day we have and with God's help, we can face anything that arises, Phil. 4:13.  My friends, worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy, but it doesn't get you anywhere!  If worry is eating you alive and is destroying your physical and spiritual life, I want to help you defeat its power.  In these verses, the Bible sheds some light on how we are to handle our cares.  Let me take these verses tonight and share with you God’s Word Concerning Your Worries.

 

  I.  v. 6a                     A WORD ABOUT PROBLEMS

A.  A Caution To Observe – Nowhere does the Bible ever attempt to downplay the existence of problems.  In fact, it tells us quite plainly that problems will stalk us as long as we live in this world, Job 14:1; John 16:33; Eccl. 2:23. Of course, you didn’t need me to tell you that troubles and trials are real, did you?  After all, you battle them every day of your life.

B.  A Command To Obey – When it comes to worrying over the problems we face in this life God has one word to say: Don’t!  The phrase “be careful for nothing” literally means “Do not worry about anything!”  As clearly as I can tonight, I want us all to understand that worry is a sin!

      1.  What is worry?  The word refers to “a troubled state of mind resulting from concern about current or potential difficulties.”  It comes from an Old English word that means “to strangle”.  It was used to refer to the practice of wolves killing sheep by biting them around the neck, thus strangling their prey to death.

                  This is literally what worry does in your life.  It will strangle you physically and spiritually.  Worry will choke the life right out of you!

 

            (Ill. “Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it falls due.”

            “Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow's troubles.”

            “Worry pulls tomorrow's cloud over today's sunshine.”

            “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.”

      2.  Why is worrying a sin?  It displays a lack of faith in the reality of God and in His ability to meet your needs, Rom. 14:23.  Worry calls God a liar; it doubts His ability and it says “God is dead!”

      3.  Why should Christians not worry? – There are several good reasons!

            a.  God knows what you have faced, are facing and will face – Pro. 15:3; Job 23:10; Psa. 37:23.

            b.  God cares about what you face in life – Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 5:7.

            c.  God has promised to take care of you – Phil. 4:19; Heb. 13:5-6.

 

 II.  v. 6b                        A WORD ABOUT PRAYER

      (Ill. If we can’t worry, then what can we do?  We ca pray!)

A.  The Act Of Prayer – Instead of worrying, the child of God is counseled to pray.  When Paul talks about praying, he uses three words in this verse.  He talks about prayer, supplication and requests.  An examination of each of these will help make his instructions more clear.

      1.  Prayer – This word is the general word for coming into the presence of the Lord.  It carries the idea of our acknowledging God for Who He is.  It speaks of adoration, worship and devotion.  It is the picture of a weak child seeking the attention of a powerful parent.  It is the picture of our seeing Him for Who He really is.  Prayer is the believer leaving the cares of the world behind to get lost in the presence of God.  It is about our worship and adoration of God.  When we get our eyes off our troubles and can focus them on the face of our Heavenly Father, then as He grows larger in our hearts, our problems grow smaller in our minds!  When trouble comes in your life or mine, one of the greatest sources of strength we possess is our ability to escape from our world into His.  We can literally step into a realm where troubles, sorrows and worries cannot follow!  (Ill. Job – Job 1:20-21.)

      2.  Supplication – This word refers to an earnest sharing of our burdens, needs and problems.  It speaks not of flippant prayer, but of prayers that arise out of the heart.  Fervent prayer about needs that move the soul is in view here.  God wants His children to pray, but He wants us to pray with a passion about the things that move our hearts, James 5:16. (Ill. Heb. 5:7; Rom. 15:30; Col. 4:12)

      3.  Requests – This word refers to detailed prayer about specific issues.  We need to learn to pray specifically and not in generalities!  Many times, we pray around and issue, but never prayer in a detailed specific manner.  We should never be afraid to approach God with the specific needs of life! (Ill He has promised to hear you and to answer you, Jer. 33:3.)

B.  The Atmosphere Of Prayer – Paul says that we are to do this “in everything”.  Big things and little things alike are to be the subjects of our prayer lives.  Nothing is too big for God and nothing is too small for Him either.  (Ill. Deacon who only prayed about the “big things”.  What is big to God?) We need to learn to pray about everything all the time!  God wants us in His presence talking to Him about every matter of life, Heb. 4:16; Matt. 7:7-11; 1 Thes. 5:17.

C.  The Attitude Of Prayer – Notice that our praying is to be done in the attitude of “thanksgiving”.  As we approach God with the worries, fears and burdens of life, we should do so with a thankful heart.  Why? We have a God Who cares about us; Who hears us; Who loves us and Who had promised to answer our prayers when we call upon Him.  Besides that, regardless of how bad life becomes, God has directed our path to that point and He is actively working out His will in us, Rom. 8:28.  We need to learn to be a thankful people! (Ill. Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17-20; 1 Thes. 5:18.) (Ill. After all He has done for us; the least we can do is to be thankful to Him!  If He never did another thing for me, I would have enough reason to praise Him for all eternity!  Let me learn to be thankful in His presence, Psalm 100.

 

III.  v. 7                         A WORD ABOUT PROMISES

(Ill. God wants us to know that there are some precious promises that can be ours, if we can come to the place where we refuse to allow worry to be our master; and we learn to bring our needs to him.)

A.  God Promises Us His Peace – We are promised His peace.  What is peace?  The best definition I have ever heard is this: Peace is tranquility of the soul!  This kind of peace “passeth all understanding”.  In other words, it is “a mind blowing experience.”  This is a state of being where you are calm in the heart and mind despite the fact that turmoil and strife are raging around you.  This is calm in the heart that exists even though your storm still rages.  It is a mysterious thing, but it is God’s gift to those who will trust in Him “in everything”.  This is the kind of peace that Jesus promised His disciples, John 14:27.  It is a peace that is divine in origin.  It is a peace that cannot be disrupted by the problems, disturbances and difficulties of life.  It is a peace that cannot waiver, that cannot be shaken and that cannot be destroyed. (Ill. Job had this kind of peace.  Daniel had this kind of peace.  The 3 Hebrew boys had this kind of peace.  David had this kind of peace.  I have had this kind of peace and it is amazing!)

B.  God Promises Us His Preservation – We are told that God’s peace will “keep your hearts and minds.”  When Paul mentions the heart, he is referring to the seat of the emotions.  The heart is the place from which our feelings come.  When Paul mentions the mind, he is referring to the place where we do our thinking.  And, what is worry if it isn’t wrong feeling and wrong thinking?  When we see our burdens, our problems and our fears through human eyes, we will always develop wrong feelings and wrong thoughts about the things we face in life. 

            However, God’s promise is that His peace will “keep” our “hearts and our minds.”  The word “Keep” means “to stand guard over”.  When Paul wrote these very words, he had a Roman guard on wither side of him. They were “standing guard” over the man of God.  Paul says that God’s peace is like a guard that protects the heart from wrong feelings and the mind from wrong thoughts!  I don’t know about you, but I need that kind of help all the time!

 

Conc:  Years ago, in the pioneer days of aviation, a pilot was making a flight around the world. After he had been gone for some two hours from his last landing field, he heard a noise in his plane, which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat. He realized that while his plane had been on the ground a rat had gotten in. For all he knew the rat could be gnawing through a vital cable or control of the plane. It was a very serious situation. He was both concerned and anxious. At first he did not know what to do. It was two hours back to the landing field from which he had taken off and more than two hours to the next field ahead. Then he remembered that the rat is a rodent. It is not made for the heights; it is made to live on the ground and under the ground. Therefore the pilot began to climb. He went up a thousand feet, and then another thousand and another until he was more than twenty thousand feet up. The gnawing ceased. The rat was dead. He could not survive in the atmosphere of those heights. More than two hours later the pilot brought the plane safely to the next landing field and found the dead rat.

   Folk, worry is like a rat in your heart and in your mind. If left alone, it will gnaw at you until it destroys your life and until it steals away all your joy, power and energy.  But, the rodent of worry cannot live in the secret place of the Most High. It cannot breathe in an atmosphere that is steeped in prayer and influenced by the Word of God.  Worry dies when we ascend to the Lord through prayer and His Word.  What do you need to carry up to the throne of grace this evening?

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