The Answer For Anxiety

Scripture: Luke 12:22-30

22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.
23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.
24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than any birds!
25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
27 “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.
30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.”
31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

INTRODUCTION

In the very beginning of chapter 12, Jesus is teaching some fundamental principles of the Kingdom: integrity, courage, security and He mentions hell and the unpardonable sin. These are very serious issues that Jesus is addressing but go back and look at verse 13…

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Someone in the crowd interrupted Jesus with this question, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

This rude interruption prompts Jesus to tell the Parable of the rich fool found only in Luke’s gospel {12:13-21}. Now, everything that has happened in this chapter is related to Jesus teachings in the verses above. The key is Luke 12:31, “Seek God’s Kingdom first or above all else.” Nothing, in this world, should be more important to you than the KINGDOM OF GOD. Unfortunately, the rich fool, nor the fool who interrupted Jesus gave God’s Kingdom no thought, let alone make it a priority and that is why they were fools.

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When a person understands who he/she is and where they are going, they have the ability to take the high road or higher ground. In John 13:3, the scripture reads… Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. {Jesus knew who He was and where He was going. He had a perfect sense of security} This sense of security gave Him the ability to take the high or noble ground… so Jesus took off his coat and picked up a towel and began washing the disciples feet.

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We understand that we were created in God’s image and redeemed at the highest cost known to man. That fact that Jesus died for us gives us infinite worth. The value of an object is determined by the price people are willing to pay.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have a glorious future beyond this life and world.

The rich fool did not understand this truth: he thought life consisted in the amount of things that one owns or possesses. He was dead wrong. Property is temporal and so are barns filled with grain or banks filled with money. Some of the things we value most are worthless in the world to come which makes us look pretty foolish in God’s sight.

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Since our time here on earth is so brief and nothing endures other than our soul and that which we do for His kingdom, should we be wasting our time worrying and fretting over these lesser and trivial things that so often occupy our mind. Twice in this passage, Jesus says, “Don’t worry.” He also says, “Don’t be concerned about the temporal things,” and He also said, “Don’t be afraid.” As I stated last week, fear is our greatest problem.

Tonight I want to ask you some probing questions that I hope will stimulate your mind

I.WHAT CAUSES WORRY?

  1. Lack of Faith or unbelief. Jesus nicknamed His disciples “Little-faiths”. In the Greek, “men of little faith” is one word. My advice to you is: feed your faith and starve your doubt. Stay in the word of God, not the news paper. The word will feed your faith but the daily news will stir your doubt. How many of you believe every word in the bible is true? How many believe every word in the news paper is true? Feed on the truth.
  2. Skewed priorities. The Rich Fool will be our example throughout the message. The fool had the wrong priorities. He was seeking his own personal kingdom. He was an ego maniac, everything was about himself. His chief worry was how to save all his goods for himself. He was worried about maintaining his wealth. If you will get your priorities in order and put the Kingdom of Christ first, the last thing you will be worried about is keeping earthly wealth. People worry because their priorities are not in order. {They are focused on the wrong kingdom}
  3. Fear and Insecurity. Years ago, a little 8 year old girl was acting out in our Child Care program. It had become such a problem that the director was considering termination but due to pitiful need she didn’t want to do it so she called and ask if I would help. I sat down with her and begin talking gently, asking questions mostly. It took some time but finally she began telling me the truth. Her mother was very young [middle or late 20’s] and very attractive. The child’s father had abandoned them a couple of years prior and she and her little brother were spending 12 hours a day in our WEE Care. The mother was working hard to provide but she was also lonely and had a man friend who was there for one reason. The children felt threatened. Beth, the little girl, was afraid that her mother would eventually abandon her and her brother just as the father had done. This constant anxiety was strangling Beth and causing her to act out. {Twice in this chapter, Jesus assures us that we are more valuable to God than the birds, and He takes care of them}

These are not all the reasons we worry but these are some. Let’s move on to the second question…

II. WHY IS WORRY A SIN?

  1. Worry is a gesture of unbelief–doubting God’s word and benevolence. God is our heavenly Father and primary provider. When we worry, we cast doubt on His character. Do you really want to cast doubt on God’s faithfulness? When has He failed to provide. Remember, Jesus says “Don’t worry,” He does not say “Don’t work”. We will address this later.
  2. Worry indicates a preoccupation with this world. What do we worry about? What we are going eat or wear? Maybe or it could be our job, our 401-k, our house payment, etc. We are worrying about the same things that unbelievers worry about. When we worry, we identify with the unbelieving world and our worry is proof that we are preoccupied with this world instead of the world to come. Worry is worldly.
  3. Worry is destructive to us. Worry not only does not help, it hurts. Worrying will not add a single minute to your life but it can take time from your life because it is possible for a person to worry themselves to death.
  4. Worry robs us of joy. Worry does not change tomorrow but it will rob you of the pleasure of living today.
  5. Worry is horrible stewardship. Worry is a waste of time and energy. It gets you absolutely nowhere. Worry carries you in an endless circle. There is no end in sight and no progress. When you are through worrying you are right back where you started. Activity is better than anxiety for this reason.

Now for the most important question…

III. HOW DO WE OVERCOME WORRY?

  1. Make God’s Kingdom your highest priority. Simply comply with verse 31, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need. I challenge you to find me a worrier who had put God’s Kingdom first. You cannot do it.
  2. Make Jesus Christ your Master. This means, we relegate ourselves to the role of a servant. Servants don’t worry, they serve. It’s the master’s job to worry. A servant only has one thing he must do–obey the master. What is one of the biggest sources of our anxiety? Is it not control? Put Jesus in charge and stop worrying about control. Did you hear about the man who was a chronic worrier. He was so bad his doctor told him that without help, worry was going to kill him. So the man went out and hired a professional worrier. For $100,000 dollars a year, this man did all your worrying for you. His wife ask him immediately, “How are you going to come up with $100,000? He said, “I don’t know, that’s not my worry.” Jesus can handle your anxiety, cast all your care {anxieties] on Him.
  3. Make an effort: Apply yourself in every situation. The sin Jesus is forbidding is to worry; To be active, to work, or to prepare are not sin. {STORY} A man who hated work joined a monastery to get out of work. He was devoting himself to meditation and prayer. When the other monks went to fields to work, he stayed in his room. When they ask him for an explanation, he said, “I came here to get away from the world and devote myself to spiritual things.” When meal time came, no one called him to eat. A day or so later, he is getting really hungry and so he ask them “What is going on? Why don’t you all call me for meals?” Their reply was: “We thought if you were too spiritual to work that you would be too spiritual to eat.” There is nothing spiritual about being lazy or irresponsible.
  4. Keep your future in mind: set your affections on heaven. Jesus said, For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Wow, what a gift!

 

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