“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” Matthew 6:34 (TLB)
Listening to current events on the news can raise your anxiety level and cause most of us to worry. If you’ve ever wrestled with worry, you’re not alone. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus declared war on worry because He understood how destructive an emotion it can be. In fact, the Old English word for worry literally means to strangle or to choke. Worry will choke the life out of you and rob you of your peace. In verse 27, Jesus asked a great question that puts anxiety in perspective. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” The truth is, worrying can’t change the past or control the future, it just messes up today! Wrestling with anxiety is like revving up your engine. It doesn’t get you anywhere, it just burns a lot of gas. If you want to move forward and get going, you have to shift into gear. This week we want to check out four gears we can shift into that will enable us to win over worry.
First, shift from fearing the future to praising in the present. Jesus put it like this in His Sermon on the Mount. He said, “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” Matthew 6:34 (TLB)
Sometimes we do face frightening events that can easily cause us to wrestle with worry. One of the best ways we’ve discovered to overcome fearing what may happen is to pray “just for today” prayers. When we pray, “Just for today, Lord, give us our daily bread; just for today, Lord, give us the strength we need; just for today, Lord, give us the peace we need; just for today, Lord, give us the faith to trust You,” we shift from fearing the future to praising Him for all He has supplied in the present. We begin to recognize all that God is doing sustaining us in this day, and we begin to live one day at a time. We begin to appreciate the gift of one day. That’s the power of praise!
When the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians, he was facing an unknown and frightening future. Imprisoned in Rome and chained to Roman guards, he didn’t know if he would be killed or ever be released. Yet, rather than wrestling with worry and anxiety over an uncertain future, he chose to rejoice in the present day he was alive. His letter to the Philippians is filled with the words, joy, rejoice and rejoicing! In Philippians 4:4 (NIV), he writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
If we want to win over worry, we must shift from fearing the future to praising in the present. It’s a choice to rejoice. What is it that causes you the most anxiety? When we live in fear of what may happen tomorrow, more often than not, we can look back and realize that most of those things never happened anyway. What a waste of time it was to wrestle with anxiety over those fears. Maybe it’s time to shift gears. Begin praising God for the things He has done and the way He has provided. If I can trust Him for today, I can trust Him for tomorrow too. The God who is with me today will be the same God who will be with me tomorrow. When I trust His power and control, I can live one day at a time worry free! Praising God in the present restores my peace and rests in the confidence that He is God and I am not.
Tomorrow we’ll shift into a second gear that will help us win over worry.