By Jill Briscoe
Matthew 6:25 starts, “Do not worry.” Then it follows with a list, just in case I’m using the excuse that my particular worry isn’t mentioned in so many words. Do not worry about:
- Your life (You can’t add or subtract one birthday!).
- What to eat and drink.
- What to wear.
Jesus gives an example of the birds that do not worry but let God do the worrying for them. He says: “So, do not worry about all these things” (Matt. 6:31). He then gives us three reasons we shouldn’t’ worry:
- Pagans worry like this, and we are not pagans.
- Our Heavenly Father knows our needs. (Not wants…needs.)
- Anxiety will hamper our Kingdom work, the main reason He has left us in this worried world. Read John 17:18! Again Jesus said, “Therefore DO NOT WORRY about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:33-34).
So how do we tackle worry? You mind your mind, and God will mind your heart. Philippians 4 tells us we can choose what we think about. “Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). And the God of peace will be with you.
1. Have a plan for today. “Sufficient unto the day.”
One of the things that helps me the most in reducing worry is to have plan when worry appears on my mind’s radar screen, calls me on my cell phone, or sends me an email. I try to identify which part of time this worry belongs to – past, present, or future. Then I tackle the part of the worrisome situation that has to be tackled that day and ONLY that part. I harness my mind, which keeps bolting out the door of today into either the past or the future, and give Him the reins.
In The Message by Eugene Peterson, Matt. 6:34 says: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
2. Memorize Scripture. “Think on these things.”
Memorize a verse or verses that have helped you today. For example, Peterson’s paraphrase of either Matthew or Philippians. I committed both to memory. You can do this – however old you are! Scribble the verse out on a piece of paper and take it with you. Put it above your mirror in the bathroom or in your kitchen, or over your work desk. Chew it over. That’s what meditate means.
3. Don’t steal the worry back. “Pray about it, commit it to Him, and then don’t steal it back.”
Enjoy. Be a bird. “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds” (Matt. 6:25-26, The Message).
Lord, so often my peace is destroyed by the things I choose to keep on my mind. Thank You for being such a source of comfort when I come to You in prayer. Place your guard around my heart and my mind to keep me close to You, and to keep away those worries and distractions in my thoughts that steal Your peace from my life. Amen.