A Child’s Question
God has gifted one of my children with a tender heart towards others. She is genuinely concerned about their welfare and desires to see everyone succeed. Her struggle arises when fear turns her sincere concern into worry. A sister with a tummy ache recently turned her concern for the well-being of her sibling into worry. She fought back tears and tossed and turned in her bed that night, worried that her sister would wake up with the flu, or worse, she would catch the illness herself. As I talked with her late into the night she asked me an important question, “Mom, is it a sin to worry?”
“Yes,” I replied, “Worry is a sin. God has given you a tender heart that cares about others. That is a special gift. It is good to have concern for others and to show concern for troubling events but it is a sin when our concern turns into worry. Worry is saying to God that you don’t believe He can handle the situation or that His ways are not the best. You are worried about your sister and you getting sick because you are not trusting God’s perfect plan.”
“But mama,” she responded, “how do I stop worrying? I don’t want my sister to get sick and I don’t want to get sick either.”
“When we have a concern, we need to pray about it and then trust that God will be with us no matter the outcome,” I said. “Let’s pray right now, that God will keep your sister healthy and that if she does get sick that God will show you ways to help her to be as comfortable as possible while she is ill. Let’s let God know that no matter what happens, we will not worry but trust Him.”
Truth Even Adults Need to Hear
Even adults need to remember that worry is a sin and not just a personality trait. That is actually good news! Why? Because we can overcome sin through the power of Christ but we can’t do much to change our personality.
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
It is important to recognize the difference between genuine concern and worry. We see in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29, that the apostle Paul had concern for his fellow believers. It is when we allow our concern to turn to worry that we find ourselves in sin. Worry happens when we focus on the possible outcomes of the future instead of relying on God for our present situations. It reveals a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty and it is usually driven by fear.
When worry begins to take hold of our lives we can look to God’s Word for help. Philippians 4:4-9 says,
4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Scripture instructs us to do three things when worry (or anxiety) strike.
- Pray. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to bring our requests to God with thanksgiving.
- Get our thoughts in line with God’s Word. Philippians 4:8 tells us to set our minds on what is excellent. That means that we need to root out lies that we are believing and fill our minds with the truth found in scripture.
- Put God’s Word into practice. Philippians 4:9 encourages us to take action on the truth that God has shown us through His Word.
The outcome is found in verse 7 and at the end of verse 9. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…And the God of peace will be with you.”
Let’s teach our kids to trust in the sovereignty of God by bringing their worries to Him in prayer and filling their minds with the truth of God’s Word. And perhaps we should do the same.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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