Winning the War Over Worry

Winning the War Over Worry

I had more material from my sermon yesterday than time would permit me to share.  So I wanted to pass it along through this week’s blog post.

You may know and love God, but when you trust anything other than God’s promise and provision for your life, then worry will turn your heart away from the Lord and turn your faith into fear.

Faith can turn to fear in the following ways:

  • Distorted Thinking – Trusting God to save you, but not trusting Him to meet your everyday needs (Matt. 7:9-11)
  • Taking Control – Thinking that by mentally arranging future events, you can control the outcome. (Prov. 29:25)
  • Super Responsibility – Having a burdened sense of duty to make every area of your life perfect. (Phil 4:11-12)
  • Shame – Allowing false guilt to surface as worry. (Psalm 32:3-5)
  • Runaway Emotions – Letting anxiety or fear have full control. (Psalm 34:4)
  • Man’s Approval – Feeling a desperate inordinate need to have the approval of others (Gal. 1:10)
  • Spiritual Starvation – Trying to live on past spiritual nourishment. (Psalm 34:8,10)
  • Lack of Understanding Your Identity in Christ – Not recognizing who you are and what you have as a result of the finished work of Christ. (Eph. 1: 3-14)

Fear can grip us and we spiral downward to habitual worry.  God has not created you to fill your days with worry, rather He wants your days filled with worship.  Live in the present – don’t focus on past regret, or future unknowns.  Focus on a daily walk with your wonderful Savior.

The value of an immediate response

The value of an immediate response

A child of God should most definitely be setting aside regular, purposed, and focused times of prayer. We see that kind of prayer modeled all throughout the Bible—even by Christ Himself. But there is also value in the immediate response, when praising, crying out, confession, or seeking wisdom in prayer is a key part of our immediate reaction to an event, thought, or feeling. Combining these two ways of praying—both the set-aside and immediate response—will work to accomplish the “pray  without ceasing” goal laid out for us by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 and Ephesians 6:18.

I have not always had the good habit of stopping and praying, and I’m still developing it. But over the years—as effective and powerful prayer has been modeled to me—I have seen and experienced the discipline of stopping and praying. I’ve watched as one person prays for another after a prayer request is shared. Right there, out loud.
Opportunities Abound

There are all sorts of opportunities to stop and pray where you are:

  • When someone asks you to pray for them, do it right then with them and later on your own.
  • As someone is telling you about a difficult or painful situation, ask him/her to stop at a few different points and pray for that specific part of the situation before they go on.
  • When you hear an emergency vehicle, pray for everyone involved—the first responders and those they’ll be helping.
  • When you see or read something that causes joy, thankfulness, or praise, stop and speak that praise and thankfulness to God.
  • When you see or read something that causes anger, disgust, or sadness, stop and tell God your response. Ask for His perspective.

Prayer, like so many parts of the Christian life, is a process. It is not a box-checked, accomplished sort of thing. So if you seek to grow in the depth and breadth of prayer, consider the value of stopping and praying. Look for moments and opportunities to make prayer your immediate response. Take these small, intentional steps to seek the Lord.

Practical Holiness

Practical Holiness

1 Peter 1:15-16
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Throughout the Scriptures we see a huge celebration of the holiness of God, and yet most of us really don’t have a full grasp of what it means to be holy. The original word for holiness in the Hebrew meant to be “set apart” or to be “separated from” something. As it applies to God, we see that He is exalted above and completely separate from any type of sin, flaw, or moral imperfection.

It’s interesting to note that God’s Word actually proceeds from His holiness. The Scriptures are perfect and infallible, and they can be trusted in every way. It is the fact that God is holy that allows Him to be able to produce such a document.

The Scriptures also indicate that, even as God is holy, so should we be holy in all manner of lifestyle. We are to follow that divine example. Now, on this planet, we certainly will never attain complete holiness, for we are ever warring with our old, sinful nature. But holiness is the target for which we are to direct our actions.

Sin puts a barrier between us and God. Holiness brings communion and fellowship with Him.

As we grow in our journey with God and become stronger in our own personal holiness, we will actually begin to dislike sin and its effects. We grow intolerant to those things that interfere with our intimacy with God and those things which bring so much pain to others here on this earth. And we will seek to avoid those things with a passion.

If we seek to live a holy life, we will enjoy an amazingly-close relationship with the Holy God.

Pray that God will help you to see those areas in your life that are unholy and that He will help you to turn away from those things … toward Him!