Monday, 8 October 2007

Avoiding Worry 1 - Realise It's a Sin

Worry is something that affects all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Many people throughout history have recognized its power to damage us psychologically, to drain us emotionally, and to prevent us enjoying life as we should.

As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men's minds more seriously than what they see. Julius Caesar

Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen. Pliny the Younger

It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. George MacDonald

Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! Charles Dickens

You can’t change the past, but you ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future. Anon

I've developed a new philosophy ... I only dread one day at a time. Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz)

Worry is something that can seem overwhelming and that we can feel powerless against. We cannot sleep. Our thoughts go round and round, always thinking about the same thing. ...

As Christians we know that we shouldn’t feel like this but can be completely unprepared for the onslaught when it comes. We find we can’t just laugh it off.

We need a biblical perspective to deal with worry when we feel so overwhelmed.

Here are some thoughts that I hope will be of some help - not only at that point, but also to help avoid worry before it begins to tighten its grip.

1. Realise it is a sin

When I first heard and thought about this, it came as a real eye opener. I suppose I had previously thought that it was just part of some people’s characters, mine included, which we could do nothing about. But Jesus says, Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (Matthew 6:25) God has commanded us not to worry - and disobeying God’s commands is sin.

Another way of looking at this is to see that, if you’re worrying, it’s probably a sign to yourself that you’re not trusting God completely. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and [the crucial point] everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

If you’re worrying because you’re discontented with what God has provided then you’re in danger of falling into even further sins, like envy and greed, and even further heartache. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Now, we know what to do about sin!

First of all, of course, we need to repent, and ask God to forgive us our sin, on the basis of what Christ has done.

Then we need to remember that God always provides a way of escape from temptation - we need to look for that. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Perhaps this will mean turning our minds to other things, doing something different in our daily routine, meeting with other believers, helping somebody. Whatever is needed, we need to do this as soon as we can. If we can nip the sin in the bud it will be much easier to deal with.

To be continued ...