TITLE: THE SILLIEST SIN OF A SAINT
Subtitle: Why Pray When You Can Worry?
Pressure and stress are the daily companions of most of us as we go about the routines of life. Both on the job and at home we face ever-increasing demands that we do more in less time. Even when there is an opportunity to take a vacation, we usually wind up having to go back to work to rest! It seems like every spare minute has to be planned and utilized to the maximum, so we try to cram every bit of fun we can into that precious time off. What used to be referred to as "the rat race", doesn’t even have a name any more because nobody has had time to think of one. Mom and Dad are convinced that the family will starve to death if both do not work (and in many cases, they are probably right). The kids are in school and their normal extra-curricular activities take up the rest of the dwindling available time. The "out-go" often exceeds the "income" and towards the end of the month, more month is left than money. Sound familiar? I’m afraid that this describes many families today and very often the result is that some of God’s people make the mistake of worrying about things. To worry and fret is a natural affliction and some are more prone to it than others, but Christians must realize that it is a sin and the opposite of faith.
In Matthew chapter six, the Lord speaks about the dangers of allowing mammon (money and "things") to become one’s master, because you cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. Then beginning in verse 25 He speaks about the danger of inordinate desires and concerns that go along with material things:
"Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, and about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth more than they? And which of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measurement [cubit] to his stature or to the span of his life? And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you men with little faith? Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? Or, What are we going to have to drink? Or, What are we going to have to wear? For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek after all these things; and your heavenly Father well knows that you need them all. But seek for (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom, and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right], and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
Easier said than done, you say? Well, it all comes down to whether we really believe God or not. He told His disciples in verse 8 of chapter six:
"…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
The apostle Paul said this to the believers at Philippi:
"And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, Philippians 4:19).
What many Christians overlook concerning the Lord’s words of Matthew six is the fact that God provides food for the birds, but He does not put it into their mouths. They still have to scratch and peck for it. The lesson we need to learn is that He loves us far more than He does the birds—and will abundantly provide for our needs (Philippians 4:19 above). We have this bad habit of confusing our wants with what we actually need. Every one of us could get by with far less than we have now and it is pretty ridiculous to talk about "poor people" in this country. By third-world standards, our "poor" are actually rich! You better believe that there are literally billions of people in other countries who would gladly trade places with them. As a nation, we have been blessed to a degree that is almost embarrassing and those who go hungry or naked, or without shelter, do so in spite of the goods and services provided for them.
This is not to say that life doesn’t get rough at times, in which certain situations arise that really test us and cause us heartache. We all know that these things happen and are pretty much unavoidable, but how we handle them as Christians is the subject at hand. Reacting to adversity by having a "pity party" and worrying about matters is definitely not walking by faith. Romans 14:23(b) tells us:
"…For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin—that is, whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
God loves His sheep with an everlasting love and has promised us that He will provide for us and protect us. Our proper response is to follow His leadership without question and exercise an unwavering trust in His ability to perform that which He has promised. To do otherwise—to worry and fret—is to doubt and to doubt is sin. Have you ever thought about why the Lord referred to us as sheep? Those who know sheep tell us that they are beyond doubt, the dumbest animals in captivity and incapable of helping themselves! To survive and prosper, they must have a shepherd and that perfectly sums up our relationship with our Savior.
In order to show just how silly and fruitless it is to worry, verse 27 of our text in Matthew six points out that none of us can—by worrying about it—increase either our physical stature (making ourselves taller), or the length of our lives. When you take a long, hard look at worry and analyze it thoroughly, the only logical conclusion one can reach is that it is total waste of time. If anyone anywhere had ever accomplished anything positive by worrying—then there might be some reasonable basis for trying it, but you know as well as I do that this has never happened. Why then do we persist in engaging in something that does not even make us feel better, let alone accomplish anything? (I wonder if sheep worry?)
Food, clothing, and shelter are our three basic necessities and the Lord has promised to meet our needs regarding them. If we find ourselves facing a crisis that will endanger any one or all three of these areas, our first response should be to talk to the Lord about it. But instead, many of us act like we hate to bother Him with our problems and insist upon doing all we can do first. And with many people this involves worrying and fretting and getting all worked up and upset. Of course the Lord "…knows our frame; He [earnestly remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, Psalm 103:14). Nothing about us escapes His sight and, as the Good Shepherd, He stands ready, willing, and able to meet our every need. The Bible teaches that we are the sheep of His pasture and sheep are helpless creatures—needing constant supervision and care. With the Good Shepherd watching over the sheep, they should not have a care in the world.
The key to having our needs met on a daily basis with a minimum of "hassle" is found in verse 33 of Matthew 6:
"But seek for (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right], and then all these things taken together will be given you besides" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).
When we receive Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, He then become the most important Person in our lives—and rightly so. All of us (Christians) taken together comprise the "Bride of Christ"—the church—and He is jealous of us and desires our unbroken loyalty and fellowship. Would not your relationship with your husband, wife, or fiance be strained if they insisted upon neglecting you and acting as if you didn’t exist? Certainly it would and our relationship with Christ is strained when we neglect Him. If we insist upon wandering off from Him, the needs of life may not be as easy to come by as His means of getting our attention! He loves us and desires to give us all good things, but we must first do our part and then continue to do so. What is it that we are supposed to do? We are to "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Matt.5:6, KJV), and do our best to "grow in grace and knowledge of Christ" (2 Peter 3:18, KJV). To put it another way, we are to love Jesus Christ and make sure that He is enthroned in our lives as our Lord and Master—seeking daily to do His will and living for Him. He gave His all for us and we must do our best to cling to Him and not forsake Him for the things of this world. When we are in the process of striving to please Him, He will add "these things" (Matt.6:33, KJV) to us. If we do not seek Him and the growth of His kingdom, why should we be surprised if our lives become complicated? Wise parents often withhold things from their children as a form of discipline and the Lord does the same to us.
The "things" of this world—material possessions—can easily become a millstone around our necks if we allow them to be. God expects us to use things and not let things use us. We must not allow them to become objects of our affections, because if that happens we are guilty of idolatry! Christians who would never dream of bowing down to a heathen idol are nevertheless guilty of the same sin because they have allowed "things" to come between them and Christ. More often than not, the sin of worry is committed by those who are overly concerned about material possessions and how they are going to keep them or increase their number. One of the first lessons we should learn as Christians is that we are bond slaves of Jesus Christ and do not own anything. Everything that we usually refer to as belonging to us, actually belongs to Jesus Christ and He is just allowing us to use it. We are His stewards and He "rates" us on how well we manage His estate. Our rewards in heaven are going to be determined by how well we manage and when we come to the realization that Christ (not us) is responsible for the provision, it will change the way that we look at life. Our primary responsibility is to be the very best Christian that we can be—with His help—and He will take care of the rest. To worry is to doubt Him and doubt is certainly not faith. We are taught that "the just shall live by faith" (Rom.1:17b, KJV).
The story is told of a woman who came to her pastor seeking counsel. As they began to talk, the lady told of her unhappiness and constant worry about life in general. When she finished with her tale of woe, the wise preacher gave her several verses of Scripture to consider and then made her promise to go home and bake two pies! He continued his seemingly strange instructions by telling her that when she finished the pies, she was to take them to two elderly "shut-ins" of their church. After delivering the pies, she was instructed to "sign up" for volunteer work at the mission downtown. Then a week later she was to come back to see the pastor and report on her progress. When she dutifully reported back to the pastor, the first question he asked her was how much progress she had made on gaining victory over worry. "What worry?" she said—I haven’t had time to think, let alone worry!"
As the old saying goes: "An idle mind is the devil’s workshop." Get involved in the Lord’s work and never look back. Busy yourself with meeting the needs of others and you will have little time (or need) to worry about your own.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.
Return to Pastoral Articles index
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.