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"ANXIETY ATTACKED: Winning the War with Worry"

HOW TO DEAL WITH HOW YOU FEEL  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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TEXT : MATT. 6:25-34
INTRODUCTION
I think you agree with me when I declare we are living in some seriously stressful times. This pernicious pandemic, this vicious virus has robbed us of 500,000 people. These are stressful times:
· when burdens become too heavy to bear
· when pain becomes too severe to endure
· when hills become too steep to climb
· when bills become too much to pay
· when problems become too many to handle
These times in which we live are characterized by the words hurry, worry, and bury. I heard about a lady who wrote the advice columnist Ann Landers, She said, I'm engaged to be married. "I'm worried sick, because I've just discovered my finance has a wooden leg”. (Then she asked a rather interesting question) Do you think I should break it off?" I am not sure if she meant the engagement or the leg.
In the text before us in the towering theology of Kingdom living we know as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses Himself to the issue of anxiety and worry. What I want you to see is that worry and anxiety is not only debilitating it is also disobedient.
As stressful, and difficult these times are we Christian people can win the war with worry. God has empowered us with what we need to attack anything that would seek to make us worry and be anxious.
As we unpack the passage to uncover the principles there are three truths threaded into the tapestry of the text. They are the substance of the sermon and offers the homiletical hinges on which this message swings. Notice WORRY IS UNFAITHFUL BECAUSE OF OUR WONDERFUL FATHER, WORRY IS UNPRODUCTIVE BECAUSE OF OUR DUTIFUL FAITH, and WORRY IS UNNECESSARY BECAUSE OF OUR BEAUTIFUL FUTURE.
I. WORRY IS UNFAITHFUL BECAUSE OF OUR WONDERFUL FATHER
On some ancient documents a strange name was found. The name was Tidideus Amerimnas. The first name is a common name, the second is an epitaph like Alexander the Great or Ivan the Terrible. That second word in the name means “the non- worrier.” Could that be your name? William the Non-Worrier, Mary the Non-Worrier.
The word that is translated “take no thought” in the KJV is the Greek word merimnaho. The word means “to worry anxiously.” Jesus is not discussing showing proper concern about life. Planning and preparation is proper. Jesus is talking about being overly concerned about material things. The “therefore” of verse 25 connects the verse to verse 24. There we are warned against divided loyalties. Jesus declares, “no man can serve two masters…”
The English word worry comes to us from a German word that means “to choke, or strangle.” That’s what worry does:
· it won’t solve today’s problems, but it will choke tomorrow of its potential
· it won’t lift today’s burdens, but it can strangle tomorrow of its blessings
· it won’t overcome any of today’s obstacles, but it may choke tomorrow of its opportunities
The critical truth that is presented to us by the Master Teacher is that worry on the part of the children of God demonstrates a lack of faith in our heavenly Father.
A. GOD’S CONCERN FOR HIS CREATURES- Jesus uses 2 physical illustrations to give us spiritual insight. Matthew 6:26 (ESV) 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Jesus says birds don’t worry about food, what they will eat, so why do you. Birds don’t stress about their jobs, they don’t have social security, they don’t have unemployment insurance, they don’t have 401 K’s. Let me tell you what else birds don’t have. They don’t have high blood pressure, they don’t have hypertension, they don’t have nervous breakdowns.
Then Jesus says look at the lilies they don’t worry about fashion, what they will put on, why do you. Matthew 6:28-29 (ESV) 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Jesus says lilies don’t punch a clock, they don’t work overtime trying to make enough money to clothe themselves. Yet we are told to consider their magnificent glory. Glory that King Solomon arrayed in the royal regalia of his station as king, couldn’t compare to the fragile and temporary lilies on the side of the hill.
B. GOD CARES FOR HIS CHILDREN- The point of both illustrations is that if God is concerned enough for birds and for lilies to provide for them, surely, He can be trusted to take care of His children. Notice that the text does not say “their heavenly Father”, it says “your heavenly Father.” God takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and they are not even his children.
To worry and anxious about anything as a child of God is a personal affront to our heavenly Father. Through lack of faith or because of little faith we don't trust God; therefore, we worry. We fail to recognize that because He is the God of pre-vision it is unnecessary to worry, and because He is the God of provision it is unworthy to worry. Yet we still worry, and such worry is sinful.
Said the robin to the sparrow,
I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.
Said the sparrow to the robin,
I think that it must be
They have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.
Oh my beloved North G. family, child of God you don’t have to worry we have a Father who cares. Yes, oh yes, hallelujah yes, we have a Father who cares. He cares:
· His mercy is everlasting,
· His love is genuine.
· His joy is unspeakable.
· His peace is unsurpassable,
· His promises are sure.
· His blessings are abundant.
· His grace is STILL sufficient.
· When your load is heavy
· When your eyes are wet with tears
· When sickness or sorrow strikes
“Casting you cares on Him because He cares for you.” II. WORRY IS UNPRODUCTIVE BECAUSE OF OUR DUTIFUL FAITH
I think I ought to tell somebody worry for the child of God is no small thing.
A. THE DISTRUST- Worry for the child of God is an act of distrust. It is declaring that God can’t be trusted to take care of you. The truth is if you know anything about the Lord, you know no matter what, God can be trusted. Trust Him:
o The road may be rough but trust him
§ The climb may be steep but trust him
§ The battle may be bad but trust him
§ The case may be difficult but trust
· him
§ The night may be dark but trust him
§ The situation may be stressful but trust him
§ The cross may be heavy
§ He has never lost a battle
§ He has never failed a test
§ He has never come up short
Perhaps your distrust could be understood if God had ever failed you. The truth is God has never failed us even when we have often failed Him. “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you”(Psalms 9:9-10).
B. THE DEFEAT- The crazy thing about worry is that no matter how hard you work at worry, worry doesn’t work. Someone said worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.
Worry and anxiety have hounded men and women since the very dawn of creation. Worry is universal. Great people worry, and so do not so great people. We worry about all sorts of things: the past, the present, and the future. The Greeks, for example, pictured worry as two opposing forces trying to tear people apart. The Saxons described worry as a wolf clutching at the throat of a lamb, about to snuff out its life.
Worry has robbed multitudes of happiness broken up homes, caused hearts to bleed needlessly, crucified radiant personalities, dispelled joy, caused sweet people to turn bitter, strongmen to become weak and nervous souls. Worry has bruised friendships, stripped hearts of hope, confidence and love and has replaced it with insecurity, distrust and hate.
Worry has increased our crime rate, divorce rate, enlarged our mental institutions, placed more beds in our hospitals and sent our suicide rate higher among all races than any other nation in the history of our world.
Some of the leading afflictions of the human family today are heart attacks, high blood pressure, and nervous disorders. All of these and many others can be traced back to that one word--worry. Physicians tell us that 70 percent of our illnesses are imaginary. These are caused largely by distress or worry. Worry has been listed by cardiologist as the number- one cause of heart disease in the United States today. Psychiatrists tell us that worry breeds nervous breakdowns and mental disorders. I’m just trying to tell you worry is defeating.
III. WORRY IS UNNECESSARY BECAUSE OF OUR BEAUTIFUL FUTURE
Worry is not only unfaithful and unproductive it is unnecessary. The cure for anxiety and worry in this text is for us to “seek first the kingdom…”
A. THE PRIORITY- Jesus tells us the way to win the war with worry is to make sure the rule, and the righteousness of God is our priority. He preceded these words by pointing out that the Gentiles make the object of their pursuit the very things that create worry. What that means in a practical sense is that when we worry as the people of God we acting just like the folks who don’t know the Lord. I think I can understand people who don’t know our loving Father being anxious. They are:
· Strangers from the covenant of promise
· Without Christ and without God in this world
· Outside of the ark of safety
We Christians on the other hand are the children of God and we never have to worry we just have to make Him our priority. The word “seek” is the Greek word Zeteo, and carries the idea of “constantly pursuing.” The word “first” is the Greek word proton, it carries the idea of making something the most important out of several options.
Many Christians make God a prominent part of their agenda. Jesus declares that is not enough. God does not want to just be prominent, He wants to be preeminent. Why shouldn’t God be first?
· He saved us when we were lost
· He heals us when we are sick
· He lifts us when we are fallen
· When we are falling to pieces He is the one who puts us back together
· When our souls are battered by the strong headwinds of grief and bereavement, He is the one who is our anchor out on life’s story seas
· When death comes creeping into our rooms He is the One who will bid our souls safe passage across the chilled stream and grant us a home where the sun never sets and the soul never dies
God not only demands first place, He not only desires first place in the lives of His children, baby He deserves first place. Yes, oh yes, hallelujah yes, God deserves to be first.
B. THE PROMISE- Jesus says if we have the right priority all the things people of the world chase after and worry about, He will give to us. My God what a promise. Paul declares “be anxious for nothing…”
Somebody ought to hear me when I tell you if you are going to worry, don’t pray. If you are going to pray, don’t worry. Why worry when you can pray, Pray:
· God will put food on your table
· God will put clothes on your back
· God will bless the bills to get paid
· God will heal and God will help
· God will protect and God will provide
Conclusion
When I was young my family would often journey from Racine down to Memphis in the summer to visit family. At that time there were a whole lot things that had to be considered. My sister and brother and I didn’t sweat about any of that. We wasn’t concern about where we were going to gas up or to eat. We didn’t worry about anything. We had a simple job, get in the back seat and trust the one who was driving. That was ok because the one who was driving was our father. Child of God I’m trying to tell you we don’t have to worry about anything, I don’t know how you feel but I’M GOING TO GET IN THE BACK SEAT AND TRUST THE ONE WHO IS DRIVING;
· WHEN I CALL GOD ANSWERS
· WHEN I PRAY GOD DELIVERS
· WHEN I LEAN ON HIM HE SUSTAINS ME
· WHEN I’M EMPTY HE FILLS ME
· WHEN I FALL HE LIFTS ME
· WHEN I’M LOST HE FINDS ME
· WHEN I’M SICK HE HEALS ME
· HE TURNS MY
· DARKNESS INTO LIGHT
· MY DEATH TO LIFE
· MY FEAR TO FAITH
· MY DESPAIR TO DELIVERANCE
· MY BURDENS TO BLESSING
· MY SORROW TO JOY
· IF YOU CALL GOD ANSWERS
· IF YOU PRAY GOD HEAR
· IF YOU WAIT HE WILL COME
· IF YOU SERVE HIM HE WILL BLESS YOU
· IF YOU FALL HE WILL LIFT YOU UP
· IF YOU ARE LOST HE WILL SAVE YOU
· IF YOU ARE SICK HE WILL HEAL YOU
· IF YOU LOOK TO GOD HE WILL SMILE ON YOU
· IF YOU TRUST HIM HE WILL DELIVER YOU
· IF YOU HOLD ON TO HIM, HE WILL KEEP YOU
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