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Monday, November 2, 2020

Be Anxious For Nothing

By R. W. McAlister

    So many things are easier said than done. The advice, “Don’t worry,” is surely in that category. However, “Don’t worry” is not only good advice, it’s a Biblical command. The English word worry comes from an Anglo-Saxon root meaning “to strangle.” So, what will worry do? It will strangle you.
    The word used in the New Testament in Philippians 4:6, where Paul said, “Be careful for nothing; (be anxious for nothing – don’t worry about anything), is translated “careful” or “anxious” means “to tear in two.” Do you realize what worry will do? It will not make you taller, it will not make you live longer, but it will strangle you, and it will tear you in two.
    How can we be commanded not to worry? Isn’t anxiety an inevitable emotion we experience when certain things happen to us? “Anxiety” is defined: “ a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill ... an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked [1] by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), [2] by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and [3] by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”
    An overwhelming sense of self-doubt about one’s ability to cope should not overcome the Christian, who has been told, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). Let’s take a look at the Biblical counsel that helps us manage anxiety, and prevents it from overwhelming us. The apostle Paul’s prohibition against anxiety is: “Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4, 1st half of verse 6). Notice that Paul’s statement is a command. It’s a comprehensive command, because it tells us we’re not to be anxious about anything. Like all commands, we must choose to submit to it, thereby exercising a choice - not to worry. Furthermore, it’s a permanent requirement. Our lives should be characterized by confident trust in the Lord, rather than by worry and doubt. Philippians 4:6 continues: “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Instead of merely talking to yourself and others, talk to God. Instead of worrying about anything, talk to the Lord about everything. This is the antidote to being overly anxious, and we may not take advantage of it, because we worry that it will not help! Likewise, the Lord Jesus forbids worry. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Worry cannot improve circumstances, correct problems, or change the future. It is, therefore, faithlessness, self-centeredness, distracting, and debilitating.
    Worry has consistently been one of society’s most devastating problems. It has caused countless costs in health issues and causes many to need medication. It has crippled the effectiveness of Christians. Worry has inhibited growth in family, put loved ones in the grave prematurely, destroyed businesses, torn apart relationships and separated souls from God. Many of us worry about finances, social status, relationships, our jobs, and so on, totally ignoring Christ’s command and the command of Paul to cast off worry! Some of us even seemingly worry about getting out of bed! Remember the words of David: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
    Others spend most of their time creating stress for themselves, making mountains out of molehills! I want to ask each of us what Christ asks in verse 27 of Matthew chapter 6, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” In other words, “Which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to your height?” Now, we sometimes like to debate whether the Lord meant physical height or length of days on the earth. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter – because worry won’t make you taller and it sure won’t make you live longer. In fact, it will cause you to live fewer days. We even use the expression, “worry yourself to death,” don’t we? Jesus was saying worrying will not accomplish anything positive.
    Dear Reader, the only instance I can think of wherein one should worry is if one is not part of the body of Christ. Repent of your sins, confess your faith in Christ, and be baptized today and wash away your past sins. Worry about the future is completely unnecessary for the faithful child of God.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/

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