March 13, 2020

Shifting from the Urgent to the Important – 21 Days of Peace Day 5

“So don’t worry at all … your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.” Matthew 6:31-33 (TLB)

This week we’ve declared war on worry. For many, this destructive force has held them hostage and prevented them from experiencing the peace Jesus came to offer. The peace of God is not like the peace that the world gives. The world enjoys peace only when there is an absence of trouble. God offers a peace in spite of trouble. The world’s peace depends on the externals that are temporal and will pass away. God’s peace depends on the things that are eternal and will never pass away. The world’s peace is associated with possessions and resources. God’s peace is connected directly with His presence and the intimate and personal relationship we can share with Him daily no matter what is going on in the world.

In John 14:27, Jesus told us that His peace was a gift freely offered to anyone willing to receive it. He said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Have you received that peace, His peace?

Fear and faith can’t occupy the same space. When we worry, it’s an indication of misplaced priorities. If you’re wrestling with anxiety it doesn’t mean that you’re not a Christian. It simply means you’re human. Jesus understands your emotions. He felt the same emotions we do. Feeling an emotion is neither positive nor negative. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s what we do with those emotions that becomes good or bad. That’s why it’s so important to shift our thinking when we feel anxiety attacking. This week we’ve examined three shifts to make to win over worry. 

  1. Shift from fearing the future to praising in the present.
  2. Shift from worry to prayer.
  3. Shift from control to surrender.

The fourth gear we need to shift into is one of the most practical and powerful of all because it is so measurable and dynamic.  We must shift from the urgent to the important.  Worry often interrupts our thoughts when crisis come or the things we didn’t expect happen. All the sudden those things take precedence in our minds and we grow anxious trying to figure out how everything will work out. We begin to lose sight of what really matters most. Before long, our priorities become misplaced and we are overcome with worry and fear. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “So don’t worry at all … your Heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you IF you give Him FIRST PLACE in your life and live as He wants you to.” Matthew 6:31-33 (TLB)

I love this passage because it’s a promise with a premise. It’s a promise with a condition attached in the word “if”.  The promise is that God knows our needs and will meet them. The condition is we must give Him first place in our lives. How do we give God first place? Let’s get really practical so we can win over worry once and for all. Here are four ways to keep our priorities aligned with God’s will so that He has first place in our lives:

1. Give God the first part of every day in private and personal worship reading His Word and praying. Begin your day with God. Get your fix in His Word and you won’t freak out when the world tries to steal your peace. His peace will anchor your soul and guard your heart and mind.

2. Give God the first day of the week in worship at church. Whether it’s a Saturday or Sunday service, make corporate worship with the church a priority so you don’t have to wake up on those days and decide if you’re going to worship. Settle it once and for all. Make it a spiritual habit.

3. Give God the first part of your income. Practice tithing 10% of all that He blesses you with as your gift back to God. Let that become the starting point and begin to stretch in your giving and see if God won’t supply all you need.  You’ll discover that you can never out give God and you won’t have to worry about money ever again!

4. Give God the first consideration in every decision. Seek His will in prayer. Search the Scriptures to see what He would have you do. Determine to obey out of love, trusting that God loves you more than you could possibly imagine and has your best interest at heart.

When we shift from the urgent to the important, we experience the peace Jesus came to offer us. We win over worry.