Faithlife Sermons

Overcoming Worry in the Pandemic

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:35
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Introduction

Here we are again, doing this as the church scattered.
I love the meme of Satan saying to Jesus, “See, I’ve closed down all your churches.” Jesus replies, “No, I just opened hundreds of home churches.”
So once we come back together, we will have a big party.
Because the church is meant to be a “gathering” or a “family”, we need each other.
I feel that since we aren’t able to get together we may be missing out some encouragement.
I read recently, worry is taking its toll on the world today.
Late last month, a poll by the American Psychiatric Association noted that nearly half of Americans were anxious about getting COVID-19.
Close to two-thirds were concerned about a family member catching it.
Two-thirds of people also feared the long-lasting implications for the economy.
To add for some is a perception that the government is over reaching or not going far enough.
I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you.
You’ve noticed the worry in the people of our community.
But have you taken stock of your own worry?
It can get overwhelming.
As believers, we want to help our neighbors and friends and family, but before you can help others, you need to let God deal with your worry.
I want to share with you this word of advice: Worry won’t help you.
Jesus told us this in Matthew 6:27, “Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?”
New advertisement, “Live Longer, Worry More!
Of course, the answer to Jesus’ question is no.
You can’t keep yourself from catching COVID-19 through worry.
It won’t keep your family from getting sick.
And for me, it won’t help us keep our church open either.
Worry just makes your problems worse because you can’t move a step closer to solving them.
Worry can’t change your past.
It can’t change your future.
It won’t change anything you don’t have control over.
All it can do is mess up your present.
Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs a person down” (NLT).
You weren’t made to endure it.
In fact, it wears you out more than just about anything else.
To effectively survive during this time, you need to be at your best.
Worry won’t get you there.
So how can you overcome worry during this stressful season?

Let Jesus be your Shepherd.

We must remember that we have a shepherd.
A shepherd takes the responsibility to feed, lead, and meet the needs of his sheep.
They are God’s responsibility.
Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
as long as I live.”
That’s why you should start every day by saying, “The Lord is my shepherd. You’re a good God.”
Then I repeat that throughout the day.
If you start saying that phrase on a regular basis, your worry will decrease.
Reminding yourself that you have a good shepherd who cares for you cuts down on worry
In John 10: 14, Jesus tells us, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Just as the shepherd calls his sheep and they follow only him, so Jesus knows his people.
And his followers, in return, know him to be their Messiah, and they love and trust him.
Such knowing and trusting between Jesus and his followers is compared to the relationship between Jesus and the Father: “as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”
And Jesus repeated his point—that he is the Good Shepherd and that he will lay down his life for the sheep.
This relationship, in turn, will be patterned after Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
Jesus’ relationship with his followers (“know”) is portrayed as an intimate, trusting relationship in which Jesus, the good shepherd, cares deeply for those in his charge.
This relationship is patterned after God’s relationship with OT Israel
Since He knows us intimately, he’ll watch over, care for, and protect us.
Thus no need to worry, just trust the shepherd and keep on grazing.

Give Jesus control over every area of your life.

Worry is a warning light that you have an area you haven’t fully given over to God.
When God isn’t number one, you’ll worry in that area.
When you love something more than God, it becomes a source of stress and anxiety in your life.
Even good things—like our marriages, our children, and our ministries—can become sources of worry if we give them first place in our lives.
When anything becomes an idol in our lives, it creates insecurity and worry.
What’s an idol?
Anything that takes precedent over God.
Exodus 210:1-3, “Then God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.  Do not have other gods besides me.”
God wants to be first in lives and when He’s first He takes care of us.
Look at history of Israel, when they were obedient, they were at rest.
When they went their own way, they had problems: famine, oppression, slaves, war.
Put God first and only worry about how to please Him if you must worry.

Relax and give God your worries in prayer.

You need to count their blessings.
Aunt Clyde, count your blessings and fall asleep before you get through them all.
In times like these, you must continually remind yourself of all God has done in your life.
But I also think it’s important to count your worries.
Often, we just have a general sense of anxiety, but we don’t know what’s causing it.
Before you can give God your worries, you need to have a clear idea of what they are.
Once you’ve written them down, you can hand them over to God in prayer.
Peter says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).
You weren’t designed to carry your worries.
It’s unnatural.
God is big enough and strong enough to handle all your worries.

Trust God for one day at a time.

Don’t steal your whole future by bringing its worries into today.
Jesus said it this way, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
You have enough on your plate today.
Don’t add anything else.
It’s okay to plan for tomorrow.
Right now, we’re going through one of the most unique experiences in church history.
You need to make plans for what you’ll do in the days, weeks, and months to come.
You can plan for tomorrow without living in tomorrow.
You can only live in today.
God is constantly testing how much we trust him.
God wants us to decide whether he really holds first place in our lives.
We must be clear about it ourselves.
David and Goliath - Israel was trusting in themselves and their ability
As David approached the giant they began to mock him
“Then David said, “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37.
This unique period of history is one of the biggest tests we’ll ever face when it comes to trusting God.
Pastor, God has promised to care for us.
He will meet our needs.
A little child was at play in a lower room, and as he played away by himself, amusing himself, about every ten minutes he ran to the foot of the stairs and called out, “Mother, are you there?” His mother answered, “Yes, I am here,” and the little boy went back to his sport and fun, and was as happy as happy could be, and until again it crossed his mind that his mother might have gone. So he ran to the stairs again and called, “Mother, are you there?” “All right,” she said, and as soon as he heard her voice again, back he went once more to his play. It is just so with us. In times of temporal trouble we go to the mercy seat in prayer, and we say, “Father, are you there? Is it your hand that is troubling me? Is it your providence that has sent me this difficulty?”
And as soon as you hear the voice that says, “It is I,” you are no longer afraid. Happy are they who, when they are afraid in this way, trust in the Lord.
I hate to tell it won’t be Trump, or Inslee, or any politician, economic stimulus or anything that’s going to help us,
But it will be God
Will we trust him?
Pray

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