The Greatest Sermon in History Part 17
Don't Worry, Trust Jesus
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
June 6, 2004

 

Main Passage: Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT)

 

Play “Don’t Worry, Trust Jesus” from One Way Street, Righteous Pop Music, Vol. 3 (http://www2.mailordercentral.com/oneway)

Don’t Worry, Trust Jesus. It’s a nice thought, a funny song, but is it realistic? I mean, we all have all kinds of pressures day in and day out. How could we possibly not worry? Well, this morning we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to look at why we worry and how we can overcome it.

Before we get to that, though, let me give you the “Top Ten Signs You Worry Too Much.”

 

Top Ten Signs You Worry Too Much

10. You have to replace your carpet annually due to excessive pacing.
9. Antacid tablets have become your sole source of nutrition.
8. You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have said it before.
7. You’re still stockpiling food in case that Y2K bug ever hits.
6. Your cell phone bill consists solely of calls made “just checking in.”
5. You made three trips home this morning making sure you turned the iron off.
3. You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that you have said it before.
2. Your dreams of what could be are replaced by fears of what might be.
1. You’re stressed out that I skipped #4.

 

Truth is, we all have a tendency to worry. So let me ask you, what are some things that can cause you to worry?

PARTICIPATION

What are the symptoms of excessive worrying?

PARTICIPATION
(uneasiness, anxiety, inability to relax, tension headaches, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, feelings of tightness in chest, belching, nausea, diarrhoea)

Worry is something that we all deal with at some time or other. What is it? Generally speaking…

 

Worry: an uneasiness about an uncertain future event; a fear of the coming consequences of a past event.

The type of worry Jesus was talking about in the passage we looked at earlier goes beyond planning for the future and having justified concerns, such as worrying about your kids playing in the middle of the road. That kind of worry or concern is good. The kind of worry He was talking about is the type of worry that can paralyze and seize control of your life. It’s the type of worry that consumes you and renders you powerless.

“Normal sensible concern is an important attribute of the mature person. But worry frustrates one’s best functioning.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale

I read one place that the Greek word translated as worry literally means “to be drawn in different directions.” So the type of worry Jesus was talking about is the kind of worry that tears us apart. In English, the word literally means “to strangle” or “to choke.” And it’s intimately connected to stress.

Now, when you say the word “worry” it actually sounds pretty harmless. But worry is the cause of many problems. 43% of all adults suffer health problems due to worry and stress. 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are worry or stress-related complaints or disorders. Plus, worry has been linked to all the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems, accidents, and suicide. Over a million people in North America are absent from work on any given day because of stress related complaints. 15% of us spend half of our waking hours worrying. And for the record, studies show that women worry more than men.

The main problem with worry is that it’s useless. It makes no positive difference. Usually, the things we worry about are fantasy, anyway.

“Worry is the advance interest you pay on troubles that seldom come.”
~ Barbara Johnson

“I’ve dealt with many crises in my life, but few will ever happen.”
~ Mark Twain

Earl Nightingale has made these observations about the things we worry and get all stressed out about...

 

Of the Things We Worry About…

40% will never happen.
30% concern the past which cannot be changed.
12% deal with criticism and petty problems.
10% is related to health which worsens with worry.
8% are real, legitimate concerns.

 

92% of the things we worry about are pointless. They’re not going to happen or there’s nothing we can do about them. But we do have that 8%. There are things that cause us to worry that aren’t totally unfounded. How do we handle that? In your notes… five tips for overcoming worry.

 

Tips for Overcoming Worry:

 

1. Accept that not everything will go your way.

Whether you waste your time worrying or not, stuff happens. That’s just a fact of life. In the passage Chris read for us earlier…

Matthew 6:34 (NLT)
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Jesus didn’t say we wouldn’t have trouble, He said we would! But in the face of that trouble, He tells us to relax… He’s got it all under control. He’ll provide for our most basic of needs, so there’s no point in worrying about them. And many of the things we tend to worry about coming down the road may or may not happen, and there’s nothing we can do about it. So don’t get all pre-occupied and fret over tomorrow. There are enough things that are a reality in the present that need our attention.

Job 5:7 (NLT)
People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire.

Troubles are a part of life. Not even followers of God are exempt. But there’s no point in stressing yourself out over it. Not everything’s going to go your way, and that’s okay. Sure, you can be disappointed, but don’t be surprised. Hopefully, things do go your way, but there’s no guarantee of that. You can’t go through life worrying about every little thing. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. I often say, “Life isn’t always fun but it’s always interesting.” Just deal with problems as they arise and move on. Worrying about all the conceivable possibilities does no good for anyone.

 

2. Focus on the Positive.

Focus on the Positive. Don’t get distracted by the negative.

One of the popular extreme sports that I will never try is Tree-skiing. I’m talking about skiing down a mountain between trees trying to avoid running into one of them. You watch it and you’ve got to wonder, “How do they avoid hitting all those trees?” Well, Kim Reichhelm who is a world champion Tree-skiier tells us how she does it. She says…

“Don’t stare at what you don’t want to hit.”
~ Extreme-skiing world champion Kim Reichhelm on Tree-skiing

Makes sense. If you’re skiing through trees, don’t focus on the trees. If you do, you’ll hit them. Instead, focus on the spaces between the trees and aim for them.

I have a problem on the eighth hole at Vista Bay Golf Course. Right in front of the tee, there’s a water hazard. Now, I know I can hit the ball over it. I can drive it that far. But more times than not, my ball lands right in the middle of the lake. Why? Because I tend to focus on the obstacle. I worry about not hitting my ball in the water and that’s exactly what I end up doing. Sometimes we cause the very thing we’re worrying about to happen because we focus on it!

So focus on the positive, not the negative. In the NIV, Jesus said…

Matthew 6:31, 33 (NIV)
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Put Him first… seek His will above everything else, and all those other things we tend to worry about will fall into place.

 

3. Keep Life in Perspective.

This is supposedly a letter that a freshman girl (freshgirl?) wrote to her mother. Maybe you’ve heard it before…

Dear Mom;
Since I have been away to college now for one full semester, I think it’s time that I bring you up to date on what is going on. Shortly after I arrived at college I got bored with dormitory life and stole $20 out of my roommate’s purse. With that money I rented a Honda bike and crashed it into a telephone pole a few blocks from college. I broke my leg, but was rescued by the young doctor who lives upstairs in the apartment house on the corner. He took me in and nursed me back to health, set my leg, and thanks to him I’m up and around again. We wanted to let you know that we’re going to get married as soon as possible, but we’re having some problems on the blood tests because there’s some disease that keeps showing up. We do hope, however, that we will be married before the baby arrives and will be home soon after to live with you and dad. I know that you will love the baby as much as you have me, even though it will be of a different religion. But please try to understand. The reason we are having to come home to stay is that my doctor friend has flunked out of medical school because of all the attention that he has had to give my condition.
Really mom, I didn’t steal $20 out of my roommate’s purse, or rent a Honda bike, or hit a telephone pole or break my leg. I did not meet a young doctor of a different religion nor are we gong to get married. There is no disease or test or baby to worry about. And I won’t be home to live with you and dad and he won’t be either. I am getting a D in Geometry and an F in Geology, however, and I wanted you to accept these grades in their proper perspective.
Your Loving Daughter,
Susie

Sometimes you just need to get some perspective. The problems may not be quite so big as they seem at first.

Jesus essentially told us the same thing: Keep life in perspective. Listen…

Matthew 6:25-27 (NLT)
“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.”

Notice how ineffective worrying is. “Can all your worried add a single moment to your life?” Worrying accomplished nothing… at least nothing positive. If anything, it complicates things and makes you lose perspective. What you need to do is relax and understand that God cares deeply for you.

“Worry is like a rocking chair. It will keep you busy but won’t get you anywhere!”
~ Vance Havner

Matthew 10:29-30 (NLT)
“Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”

Wow… a sparrow was only worth half a cent. Today, that means you could buy 187 sparrows for the price of a litre of gas. They’re cheap, but God cares for each and every sparrow. And He cares immeasurably more for you and for me.

The Apostle Paul went through all kinds of things in his life that could cause him worry and get him down. He had been arrested, he had rocks thrown at him, he had death threats. But listen to the words he wrote to the Philippian church:

Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

In spite of any problem or difficulty, he kept it in perspective. And we need to do the same. Get some perspective. Know where your hope is based. Know where your strength comes from. If it comes from God, you’ve got nothing to worry about. He loves you, and will care for your most basic of needs. So don’t worry ‘bout it.

 

4. Take One Day at a Time.

Don’t waste your time and energy getting all stressed out over things that may never happen. There are enough things to worry about today without worrying about things that may go wrong tomorrow. We looked at this verse earlier…

Matthew 6:34 (NLT)
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

A young boy was driving a hayrack down the road when the wagon fell over in front of a farmer’s house. The farmer heard the noise, came out, saw the young boy crying. He noticed the wagon and wanted to make the young boy feel better about what had happened. So he said, “Son, don’t worry about this, we can fix it. Right now dinner’s ready. Why don’t you come in and eat with us and then I’ll help you put the hay back on the rack.” The boy said, “No, I can’t. My father is going to be very angry with me.” The farmer said, “Now don’t worry, just come in and have some lunch and you’ll feel better.” The boy said, “I’m just afraid my father is going to be very angry with me.” But the farmer took the young boy and they went inside to have dinner. Afterwards, as they walked outside to the hayrack, the farmer said, “Now, son, don’t you feel better after that great meal?” The boy said, “Yes but I just know that my father will be very angry with me.” The farmer said, “I’m sure he’ll be fine. Where is your father anyway?” The boy said, “He’s under that wagon.”
~ from Michael McCartney http://sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?contributorid=&sermonid=55001

You know, we do need to address legitimate concerns without procrastinating. If your father’s stuck under a wagon, help him out. And the Bible does talk about making wise investments and preparing for the future. But what we’re talking about this morning is being controlled by worry and becoming preoccupied with the future, imagining all kinds of problems that may or may not happen down the road. Don’t create problems in your mind or focus on things that are out of your control.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day. This past week, there have been ceremonies and festivities all over the world. D-Day was a pivotal battle in the Second World War when the Allied forces landed at Normandy in the greatest amphibious invasion in military history. The planning for that battle took over a year! That was a reasonable and necessary process for defeating the Nazis. But the planning was based in reality, and the Generals who planned the attack had some control over the situation. They planned for the future. But worrying about the future is different. It paralyzes you, robs you of your ability to properly prepare for the future, and eventually destroys you. You see the difference? Between worrying about hypotheticals and things out of your control and legitimately planning for the future?

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch woman who suffered in one of the concentration camps during the Second World War because she helped Jews escape from the Nazis. You’d think that if anybody had cause to worry day after day it would be someone in a concentration camp. But this is what she said.

“Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
~ Corrie Ten Boom

Take one day at a time. Let God worry about tomorrow, and you deal with today.

 

5. Trust that God is in control.

Matthew 6:28-30 (NLT)
“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!”

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

God promised that He would care for you. And He always keeps His promises. So why would we ever doubt Him? When we worry, we are essentially telling God that we don’t believe that He will fulfill His promise to care for us. Our worrying tells Him that we don’t trust Him. You know what I believe? I believe it’s ridiculous that we sometimes get it in our heads that we can handle the pressures of life better than the one who created life.

“Worry is, and always will be, a fatal disease of the heart—for its beginning signals the end of faith.”
~ Tony Britt

“Worry is as wicked as swearing. Swearing is taking God’s name in vain, worry is taking God’s promises in vain.”
~ John Maxwell

One more passage…

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.”

 

Here’s your time to respond to the message this morning. Would you close your eyes? Think about your life and the degree to which worry controls you. If you find that you truly trust in God… and worry has no significant place in your life… then thank God for the freedom He has given you. If you find that you are constantly worrying about one thing or another, then take this opportunity to pray and ask God to help you overcome this bondage. Tell Him you trust Him. And decide this morning to stop worrying needlessly about the future, because you know that whatever comes down the road God is ultimately in control and you can trust Him.



 

 

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