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Succeeding in life: Why think about it? – An essay on the propensity to worry | Religion

Have you ever heard someone say something like “In my day…” or “When my kids were little”? Then they compare the problems of their life with the past days. It’s easier or harder depending on the point they want to make.

I can also be guilty of it. For example, I’m glad my kids grew up and didn’t have to come of age in a world of cyber predators. My daughter and my son-in-law, on the other hand, have this problem to solve with their daughters. I don’t envy them at all.

In financial matters, everyone has a comparison to make.

“I remember when gas was less than $1.00 a gallon.”

“You could get a good cup of coffee for a quarter.”

You tend to hear more of these kinds of conversations when the economy is in the headlines; as it is today, with rising prices and supply chain issues. There is a collective concern that seems to take hold of our national discourse. (In reality, our national discourse became so focused on a pandemic that the financial aspects took a back seat. But for some, they were front and center.)

But surely, we are not the only generation to worry. Truth be told, the propensity to worry is in all of us. And it can be crippling at worst and demoralizing at best. Worry is not something God intended us to do; instead, he wants us to trust him.

“But how do you stop worrying and start trusting God? some may wonder.

Jesus gave us great insight into the human psyche. He understands us better than we understand ourselves.

There is an interesting line found in his Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore, do not ponder and say, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ (Matthew 6:31 [MEV])

You may remember that Jesus had just said: “…do not think about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they do not sow, reap, or gather into barns. Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you much better than them? Which of you, come to think of it, can add a cubit to your height?

“Why think about clothes? Look at field lilies, how they grow: they don’t toil or spin. Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of them. Therefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not clothe you much more, O you of little faith” (Matthew 6: 25-30 [MEV])?

It’s that phrase, “…don’t think about it, saying…” that I want to focus on.

When temptation comes, it first comes in the form of a thought. Before a drug addict commits another blow, before an adulterer sleeps with another partner, before a thief steals again, their misdeed is preceded by a thought, an idea, a ‘an opinion.

“Just this blow won’t hurt me, and it will calm my nerves.”

“My spouse doesn’t like me the way he should. I deserve a little love.

“It’s a beautiful object. It will go better with me than with them.

When we entertain such thoughts, sin is not far away. This is why Paul wrote and encouraged us to reject such thoughts.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to pull down strongholds, overthrow imaginations and everything that rises up against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5 [MEV]).

The problem with worrying is that it has nothing to do with overt sins, such as adultery or theft. Worry is simply a series of thoughts. It’s imagining the worst outcome and making plans accordingly.

That’s why Jesus said, “Don’t worry, say…”

Satan will tempt you with a thought. Whatever you do, don’t voice the thoughts he gives you. How do you know if thoughts are from Satan or not? If they are contrary to the Bible, then they are from Satan. Typically, they are negative (“this disease will get progressively worse”), hopeless (“you will never recover from this”) and demeaning (“you were never lucky in the first place”). .

When we talk about negativity, the worst-case scenario we have taken to thinking. We allowed it to be planted in our minds. If we don’t take care of it soon, it will take root and, like any weed, it will grow quickly and produce results we never wanted.

I’ve heard that you can’t stop a bird from flying overhead, but you don’t have to let it nest in your hair. The same goes for thoughts of worry. You must dismiss them quickly, just as you would show a bird that has landed on your head. And you counter worrying thoughts with the Word of God.

For example, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail.

The devil will tempt you to think, “How am I going to pay for this?” Where will the money come from?”

Instead, speak God’s promise: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:19). [MEV]).

Or you feel a lump in your body somewhere it shouldn’t be, the devil will tempt you to say, “I better go to the doctor; it may be cancer.

Instead, proclaim God’s healing power over your life, “Jesus bore my sin in his own body on the tree, that being dead to sin, I would live for righteousness.” By his wounds I am healed” (reference 1 Peter 2:24).

Or you are wrong and lose your temper. You repent, but the devil will still try to overwhelm you with guilt and condemnation.

You must dismiss his thoughts with the Word of God, “God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin unto me, that I might become the righteousness of God in him” (reference 2 Corinthians 5:21) .

Is it easy to do? No. If it was, everyone would. Taking control of your thoughts and the corresponding words you speak can be one of the hardest things you will try to do. But once you gain control of your tongue, you are on your way to being a complete, or as the King James Version states, “a perfect man” (James 3:2 reference).

Tim Hughes is a lay minister and elder at Ascension Life Church in Athens. He can be reached at [email protected]

Tim Hughes is a lay minister and elder at Ascension Life Church in Athens. He can be reached at [email protected]

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