Philippians 4:6-9 | Matthew 6:31-34
Don’t let the title make you nervous…
At the 1989 Grammy Awards, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” won song of the year. Look it up and stream it on your choice of platforms. (And good luck getting it out of your head!)
About 1989 years earlier, Jesus released his Sermon on the Mount, which included these words on the same topic:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”(Matthew 6:31-34 NLT)
Though arguably not as catchy, Jesus’ words must have been a huge hit with his audience. Think about it… The Son of God says, “Don’t worry.” That is a great thing to hear from the same person who tells us to “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile” (Matt 5:39).
Isn’t it good to know that God does not want us to worry? Especially about providing for our needs? Do you know someone who needs to hear this?
The Apostle Paul takes the next step and tells us how to thwart worry as it comes up.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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 4:6-7 NLT)
What should you do when you find yourself worrying? Pray.
“But I worry about every little thing. I can’t help it!” Then pray about every little thing, and see how God can help it. And you will find yourself unexplainably at peace.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But there’s more…
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.(Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)
Once you have prayed about everything…instead of thinking about the things that were worrying you, think about good things: honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy things.
Then take action by doing what you have learned in the scripture. (If you are curious about what they ‘heard and saw from Paul,’ read his other books in the Bible: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians, for starters…)
Most of all, remember Jesus’ closing statement on the subject:
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Matthew 6:34 NLT)
Questions for Group Discussion
- What do you worry about most? Academics? Your future? Your friends?
- Is it possible to stop worrying altogether? Is there a benefit to worrying?
- Why would Paul tell us not to worry about anything? Is worrying a sin? Can we still be conscientious without worrying?
Worry Warts: Challenge
Honestly, this might be more of an application than a challenge, but let’s not worry about semantics.
Here it is, should you choose to accept it…
- Get a sheet of circle shaped stickers. Search “dot stickers” in your browser to get an idea of what you might use. As an alternative, the little circular bandages would work well.
- Get a fine-tipped permanent marker.
- When you notice yourself worrying about something, write the first letter(s) of what you are worrying about on the sticker. For example, if it is school, write an ‘S’ on the sticker. If it’s money, write ‘$’.
- Put the sticker on your arm. If you are self-conscious, place it somewhere covered by clothing.
- Pray about your worry. Tell God what you need, thank him for every individual good thing in your life that you can think of.
- If there is something you need to do to make the situation better, do it. Leave the sticker on until you have done it.
- If you feel like you have done all you can do and have completely left the matter in God’s hands, take the sticker off. Otherwise, leave it on to remind you to pray more and/or do what you need to do.
You may end up with multiple “worry wart” stickers at a time. Do not worry about that. Give yourself some grace, and the benefit of the doubt about whether you have actually ‘left the matter in God’s hands.’
Also, if this exercise becomes worrisome itself, let it go. Pray about it, and then stop doing it.