“The more we worry, the more it appears we care.”[i]
Most of us have fallen into the “Worry means I love you” trap at one time or another, but it’s time to climb out of that pit. Janice Wise, author of that quote, continues it by writing, “Yet once anxiety has established a stronghold in our lives, it robs us of faith, turning true compassion into a self-preserving concern. We become ‘worried witnesses,’ and the world finds little in our anxious behavior to draw them to the One we call Lord.”
In many Christian circles, worry is accepted as normal and natural. No one asks the hard question: Is worry a sin? The Bible says quite clearly, “Do not worry.”
- “Do not fret…Trust in the Lord and do good…Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him…do not fret…do not fret—it only leads to evil” (Psalm 37).
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
- “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippian 4:6).
If God tells us not to do something and we do it anyway, doesn’t that mean we’ve disobeyed? And isn’t disobedience also called sin? If God tells us not to fret or be anxious—in other words, to stop worrying—then when we worry, it looks to me like we are giving in to sin.
Oh, we have plenty of excuses.
- Maybe you were raised to be a worrier. Your parents taught, modeled, or even encouraged the habit. But do we allow “I was raised that way” to be an excuse for any other sin?
- Perhaps we’ve come to believe that those who refuse to worry are somehow calloused and uncaring. Isn’t that just like Satan to twist the truth in order to hide the damage that sin is doing?
- Then, of course, there’s the age-old excuse that, “everybody does it.” Sin is not defined by its popularity and acceptance, but by God’s Word. And God’s Word says “fret not.”
- Lastly, we may think, having lived with a pattern of worry for so long, that we simply cannot change. Now, there is a bit of truth to that statement. Anytime sin has a stronghold in our lives, we cannot change alone. But, nothing is impossible with our God. He is the one who gives us the power to overcome worry. Let’s go back to the Bible on this point:
Hebrews 2 tells us Jesus suffered when he was tempted and is therefore able to help us when we are tempted. Isaiah 26 declares that we can remain at peace when we trust in God. I Corinthians 10 promises we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that God will always provide us with a way out.
So what do we do if the sin of worry is ingrained within us? I have a few thoughts. You’ll find them in next week’s post, because this one is long enough already…
[i] Wise, Janice. Walk out of Worry: Choosing God’s Path to Peace. Gospel Light, 1999, p. 5. This entire essay is inspired by that book, still available at www.amazon.com.
photo credit: @aaronburden via unsplash.com
So true, yet so hard to do sometimes. Thanks for the reminder!
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts next week : ) I fall into worry sometimes but not usually. Had a great model with my parents, especially mom, that it’s not worth the time & stress. God’s got everything in control. Thank the Lord for godly parents!!
“Not worth the time and stress.” So true!