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How Should We Deal with Worry?

Many of us would probably admit that we spend too much time worrying about our lives.  We worry about many things, even though it turns out that much of what we worry about never happens. The dictionary defines worry as a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.  While a certain amount of worry is normal for us, excessive or chronic worry is not healthy and can lead to a negative outlook on life and reduced productivity.  Jesus told His disciples not to worry about their lives and their basic needs (Luke 12:22-30).


In Luke 10:38-42, we find the story about two sisters, Martha and Mary.  Martha welcomes Jesus into her home and becomes preoccupied with being a good hostess while her sister merely sits at Jesus' feet and listens to Him.  Upset that Mary is not helping her, Martha complains to Jesus.  Jesus replies "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it shall not be taken away from her."  Martha wasn't a "bad" person, but she needed to adjust her priorities.  Are we sometimes like Martha, worrying about many worldly things while forgetting the more important eternal things?  Jesus tells us that if we first seek God's kingdom, all of our earthly needs will be provided for us (Matthew 6:33).


Martha's story is an example of how we worry about the present, but we also worry about the past and the future.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  And in Matthew 6:34, Jesus says "So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.  Sufficient for each day is its own trouble."  In other words, we should just try to live our lives in the present.  The past is over, and we do not control the future.  This doesn't mean that we shouldn't prudently plan for our future, but we shouldn't worry about it.  And, looking forward, we should always remain prayerfully focused on our hope of eternal salvation.  But overall, we should leave the future and God's plans for us in His capable hands, knowing that He wants the best for each of us (Romans 8:28).


So, what are we to do? The Bible tells Christians how to deal with worry.  In Philippians 4:6, we are told "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done." It is a great comfort to know that we are not alone, that God loves us unconditionally, and that He is always there to help us.  We just need to remember to pray to Him in earnest, and in return, God promises us a sense of peace and relief from our worries.  "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).  This sense of peace will allow us to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying our lives and putting our faith into practice with good works.


So, we do not need to be burdened with worry.  Instead, we should have the attitude of the sister Mary when we feel worry creeping into our lives.  We should turn to God. The Disciple Group recommends that you go humbly to God with your worries and needs and pray for His miraculous peace so that you might live a positive, productive, worry-free life. Don't waste your time worrying! Rather, we should try to live by these words found in 1 Peter 5: 6-7: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."