It’s easy to worry in times like these. With Christmas just a few days away and many out of work due to Covid, the climate is unsettling. Worry is much like a pandemic – contagious, sickening, and potentially deadly. The word “worry” comes from an old English word wrygan, meaning “to strangle, to harass, and to seize by the throat.” Worry tears and suffocates the soul till all you’re left with is a lifeless existence. Every day we face this unholy invitation to darkness often disguised as stress or concern. It’s time we expose worry for what it is and discover the life God has called us to live. Before we explore what worry does, let’s define what worry is.
What is worry?
Oxford Dictionary defines worry as, “to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” Jesus defined worry as “taking thought” in Matthew 6:25.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry (take thought) about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles (those who don’t know God) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 31-34 NKJV)
The word used for worry in this scripture is the Greek word merimnáō, meaning:
- to take thought
- to be anxious
- to be troubled with cares
- to care for, look out for (a thing)
- to seek to promote one’s own interests
- caring or providing for
Here we can see that worry is fearful thought processes that do not line up with God’s Word or will. Worry takes God out of the picture and creates a false reality where God is neither present nor cares.
Worry – False Confidence in a False god
Not only is worry negative, God-void thought processes, it is also mental submission to a false god. I realized this as I was studying the previous verse, Matthew 6:24.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on…” Mathew 6:24-25
Context is so important. This whole passage makes more sense after reading verse 24. What is mammon you may ask? According to HELPS word studies, mammon is a Semitic term for, “the treasure a person trusts in”. It represents the riches, wealth, or possessions people hope in. Jesus was clearly stating that you cannot serve God AND possessions. By worrying about finances or your life, you submit to mammon, not God. Mammon wants you to trust what you have and not the Lord. Those who serve mammon feel a sense of security or power the more money they have. Mammon may also keep people in line by telling them not to spend their money on things they need or to bless others. They are always afraid of running out of money. This is false confidence in a false god.
Mammon will have you believe things like, “If I only had more money or a nicer home I would be happier. My clothes are not a cool enough brand. Once I reach this goal I will be financially secure and have accomplished something with my life. My job is great and pays the bills, but I need MORE. I cannot afford to tithe. God doesn’t need my money as much as I do.” With mammon, no matter what you have, it will never be enough.
Money’s not the Problem
Let’s be clear, I am not saying that money and wealth are bad. It is important to be wise with your money and work hard. What I’m actually saying is what Jesus said – they make terrible gods. We are not called nor created to seek possessions. We are called to seek Jesus and His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy regarding the snare of mammon in 1 Timothy 6.
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10
The love of money will cause you to stray from the faith. Those who love money will come to discover mammon provides much sorrow. The Kingdom does the complete opposite. Those who seek Jesus and His Kingdom discover righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! (Romans 14:17) There we find all our needs met. Mammon can never provide the things that matter. Jesus provides both.
Rest or Stress?
Scripture teaches us not to “trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17) What a kind God! He gives us RICHLY all things to enjoy! Money and things are fleeting. (Proverbs 23;5) All these things that we toil and hustle for will be added to us if we simply seek the Lord. The choice is clear: Jesus provides rest. Mammon provides stress.
Jesus covers the main concerns life. Notice the things He wants us NOT to worry about:
- Our lives
We must recognize how mammon enlists worry to keep us toiling as if God doesn’t care for us. Remember what Jesus said? “Your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:32. This is a promise we can lean on and pray! God never breaks His word and He cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18)
Seeking first the Kingdom doesn’t mean we quit working and providing for our families. In the beginning, before sin entered the world, God created Adam to work and steward the garden in faithfulness. (Genesis 2:15) Like the first family, there is a space God has called you to occupy and steward. This could be your workplace, your business, or your gifting. Whatever it is God has called you to do, be faithful with it and He will do the rest.
God knows we need to eat, pay rent, and stay warm. Whether we lose our job or have it all, this is the question we must ask ourselves, “Do we trust God or our ability to provide?” This is where our freedom lies. This is shows who we serve. God is calling us take ownership of our agreement with worry and mammon. No more excuses. God’s Word is clear. “Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” It is time we decide – God or mammon? Peace or stress? Choose today whom you will serve. I promise He will come through, if you only believe!
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19