Posts Tagged ‘worry’

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

He was vigorously pounding the pulpit. I was daydreaming. The commotion drew me back into the sermon which had not been particularly interesting up to that point. But the preacher’s next sentence caught my attention.   “Worry is a sin”, he bellowed, all red faced, voice straining to make his point. “Everyone who worries is a SINNER!” I remember thinking, “Well that covers just about everybody in the room.” And before claiming that you never worry, remember, lying is also a sin. I can recall little of the minister’s talk after that. I was too busy thinking about how much of our time we do in fact devote to worries and fears.

It might be health issues, money woes, or family problems. Perhaps it’s those troublesome infectious disease fears, terrorist threats, global economic instabilities, and the possibility of another world war. Toss in a few natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes and, well… as you can see there are plenty of reasons to feel uneasy about the future. But truthfully, none of these troubles are an excuse for living under a cloud of persistent worry and fear.

Anxiety will not solve a single problem (especially the ones that are either out of your control or only exist in your mind). And even those uncertainties that we might call reasonable concerns are never justification for unnecessary or obsessive apprehension. Granted, there are times when brief anxiety can be appropriate (uneasiness about an important meeting later today or experiencing the “butterflies” over an impending job interview, etc.), but when worry becomes a steady companion, that’s not so good.

In the field of mental health, a compulsive worrier might be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), people with GAD are exceedingly uptight about everything in life, even if there is little or no reason for them to worry. We used to call these people extreme pessimists but nowadays there has to be a clinical classification for every imaginable phobia in order to prescribe some drug or expensive therapy in an attempt to solve the problem.

The NIH claims that the person with GAD is often anxious about just getting through the day because they are terrified that anything can, and most likely will, go wrong. For them, Worry has taken control of their life.

According to the NIH, a person with GAD may:

  • Worry very much about everyday things
  • Have trouble controlling their constant worries
  • Know that they worry much more than they should
  • Have trouble relaxing
  • Have a hard time concentrating
  • Be easily startled
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feel tired all the time
  • Have headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
  • Have a hard time swallowing
  • Tremble or twitch
  • Be irritable, sweat a lot, and feel light-headed or out of breath
  • Have to go to the bathroom a lot.

Is it just me, or do some of those warning signs seem to be the same as those that appear on lists for a few hundred other “disorders”? Unless I’m mistaken, most of the population could identify with more than half of these symptoms. I sure can and (thankfully) I do NOT suffer with GAD or any other malady that I am aware of.  But I digress.

So let me ask you once again: how many hours of irreplaceable time do you invest in worry and fear? You’ll never get a single one of those wasted moments back. As long as you continue to focus on the endless stream of future uncertainties in life, you will remain trapped in a prison of your own creation.

You doubt me? Let’s talk.

Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur

First of all, I am well aware of the suffering that many people endure because of extreme anxiety issues. The mental health community does their best to manage an observed condition from a limited human perspective. But sometimes science and medicine can do little or nothing to effectively eliminate a problem. This is especially true when the cause is spiritual and not simply mental or physical. While a mental health practitioner may help you handle a disorder like GAD, only God can help you get to the spiritual root of this problem and set you on the road to true freedom.

In the Bible’s Newer Testament book of 1st Peter you will find these very encouraging words,

7 Let him (GOD) have all your worries and cares (anxieties), for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

To me that is so awesome. The creator of all things (GOD) knows who I am. He actually thinks about me. Every detail of my life here on this little orbiting orb is of personal concern to Him.  Since I actually believe this is true, I must ask myself, “How then can I justify worry?”

“Well now brother, I just cannot comprehend how this God you speak of can possibly know every detail of every human life and all at the same time. That is impossible.”

Listen, there are some things that I can’t comprehend either. That is why He is the All-knowing One and we’re NOT! Our Creator requires just one thing from us – faith in Him. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you know about the real (unseen) world in which He dwells and from which we are temporarily exiled. It will always come down to this:

6“…without faith it is impossible to please him (The Almighty). The man who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God exists and secondly that it is worth a man’s while to try to find God.” (Hebrews 11:6 – J.B. Phillips New Testament)

You may be going through a tough time right now. Unforeseen circumstances have swamped your little boat. You may be struggling just to find meaning in your day to day existence. That’s normal when you live primarily within the domain of your physical senses. It is within this natural realm of temporal reality that worry and fear form the clouds of doubt in your mind and blind your spirit from seeing the truth.

Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there.” ~Author Unknown

For the Christian, The New Testament is all about a brand-new arrangement between the Creator and His creation. The most prolific contributor to the New Testament was the Apostle Paul. In addition to the general Christian instruction found in his letters, Paul often included specific direction for the congregation to which he wrote the epistle. Listen to these words of instruction written to the Christians living in the ancient city of Philippi,

6“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 – Living Bible)

Let’s break that down.

  • Don’t worry about anything.
  • Talk to God about everything.
  • Let God know your concerns (what you need).
  • Thank God for His solutions.

Sounds naive, right?  Do I detect a bit of incredulity?   You’ve heard it all before?   Me too. And you’ve decided it doesn’t work? I agree, sometimes it appears that is the case. But we’re talking about developing an ongoing relationship with the Creator of all things here. This is not Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show. Merely reading the words of the ancient scriptures can make the process sound oversimplified. Working out this life changing truth – day by day – is not so easy. Every word we just read from the Bible is spot-on. But it will take persistent faith and patience to live it. Don’t forget the Payoff. If we make this our way of life, Paul said,

“…you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”   (Philippians 4:7 – Living Bible)

The supernatural peace that can only come from the Divine Spirit of God is what will calm you down. You will find rest for your soul when you put your absolute trust in Jesus, the liberator. Now, check out these words of wisdom from the Bible,

4-5 “If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself alone. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 TLB)

Get it? When you put your complete trust in God, there is no longer a valid reason to worry. There will still be plenty of opportunities to worry, but they will not be effective at immobilizing you through fear. Here is a promise from the pages of scripture that you can claim as your very own:

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (2 Timothy 1:7 – Amplified Bible)

When our creator visited this water world in human form, He was disguised as a meek and humble man called Jesus. He grew up among His own creation until that precise moment when it was time to introduce us to a personal and relevant God – not a Religion. The Almighty One, clothed in humility and living in obscurity, went about doing good and healing the sick and oppressed. As Jesus of Nazareth, he demonstrated to mankind how to talk directly to the Divine Spirit about our concerns and ask for His help. The liberator Jesus assured His devotees that when we strive for the otherworldly Kingdom of God – above everything else – He will make all things work together for our good.

Let me ask you one more question, “has all the energy you’ve wasted on anxiety and fear ever changed your grades in school, improve your job performance, or protected your family from harm? Will worry keep you free of contagious diseases?” If you are at least willing to be honest with yourself, the answer is NO. So then tell me again, “Why do you worry all the time?”

It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. For the needs of today we have corresponding strength given. For tomorrow we are told to trust. It is not ours yet. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.” ~ George MacDonald

One more thought from the New Testament.  Jesus was talking with some of his followers one day and he said to them,

30 “…O you of little faith. 31 Do not worry and be anxious, saying, what are we going to have to eat? Or, what are we going to have to drink? Or, what are we going to have to wear? 32 For the heathen wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. 33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things (that you need) taken together will be given to you besides.” – (Matthew 6:30b-33 Amplified Bible)

Why not give all of your worries and fears to the One who formed you? He really does care about you and He knows you far better than you think you know yourself. Our Liberator and Creator is a great listener. In fact, He is listening right now. Go ahead, talk to Him… say what you need to say… and please, stop worrying.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher. © 2016 by Joseph A Cerreta,
all rights reserved. For more information write to: Insight Today, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, FL 34656
Everywhere, people are discovering that doing things more slowly often means doing them better and enjoying them more. It means living life instead of rushing through it.”Carl Honore –

Florida has been my home for nearly a quarter of a century now. Like so many hybrid Floridians, I arrived in the land of palm trees and beaches full of mistaken expectations about this paradise. My first bumper sticker read “I wasn’t born in Florida, but I got here as fast as I could.” I quickly learned the local vernacular, like responding to the greeting “How are you doing” with the empty reply “living the dream” or “Just another day in paradise”.

Florida is indeed a delightful place and I really do like living here. Our state is known around the world for its balmy weather. Floridians enjoy 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. We have 1800 miles of coastline with over 1200 miles of sandy beaches. There are roughly 760 species of wildlife that exist nowhere else in the world. A panther is our state animal and we have the largest population of bald eagles in the Continental USA. Palm trees, beaches and the exotic abound. But for those of us who live, work and raise families here in the Sunshine State, Florida is no Garden of Eden.

Floridians face the same perilous uncertainties as every other traveler on spaceship earth. Many live overloaded and hurried lives. Some haven’t been to a beach in years – decades even. No time for that. Palm trees? At times we hardly notice them. Welcome to paradise lost.

In the early 1990’s Christine Dente & Charlie Peacock (two heavy weights in the inspirational music genre) wrote a song called “Taking My Time”. Three outstanding talents – legends really – Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker and Christine Dente recorded the song which can be found on the album entitled Along the Road. There are just two verses in this song and one thought-provoking repetitive chorus.

Here’s the first verse:

“The world is turnin’
Telling me to hurry on
You gotta run to get ahead
Try to take the things you want
But when the sun begins to set
So many things I haven’t done yet” *

Looking back to when I first heard the song, I remember thinking, “That just about sums it up.”  We hurry through our life time, running to get ahead, taking what we want, and there never seems to be enough time in the day.

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” – Walter Hagen –

If I were asked to define modern life in two words, my response would be – hurry and worryThe evil twins. They work together and yet they are at war with each other. Hurry will trouble your heart. Worry will make it afraid. Together, they will ruin your life.

  • Hurry always runs out ahead of things; Worry hesitates and lags behind.
  • Hurry is often reckless; Worry is overly cautious.
  • Hurry sees only those things that speed him on his way; Worry sees only those things that are in the way and therefore are sure to cause a problem.
  • Hurry never sees the countless little things that make life truly worth living. Worry sees nothing but countless little things to be afraid of, most of which have nothing to do with your life at all.
  • Hurry never thinks about the consequences of making hasty choices. Worry never makes a choice at all – for it might be the wrong one.

And so, these two destructive powers are forever pulling you in opposite directions. God have mercy on the man or woman who is consumed by hurry and worry.

That brings me to the second verse of the song, Taking My Time:

“The weight of worry
is never worth the price
of a world of treasures
that can never satisfy.
But I know Heavens up ahead
where the best is yet to come”*

How simple and yet so insightful. The deceitfulness of materialism is hidden in the false promise of satisfaction at the high price of worry.

I don’t worry about being in a hurry anymore, because my faith in God will always deliver me right on time.” – Martha Reeves

I can’t put my finger on exactly when it happened. One day, in the midst of all my hurry and worry, I hit a wall. It was a mini-meltdown. I remember thinking – I am so done with this merry-go-round life. I believe in God. I am a follower of the Liberator Jesus. I accept as true the peace that passes all understanding. So, why don’t I seem to have it? It must be my own fault. So I made a decision. I will no longer live my life trying to meet the expectations of others at the expense of the real me.

That day a significant change occurred– a new beginning. I stopped holding on to the handrail firmly at all times; stood up when I wasn’t supposed to and jumped off the ride while it was still in motion. I was now more determined than ever to understand and follow the Divine plan for my life.

So, how am I doing? Good days and bad days. I have been at it long enough now to know what I should do, but sometimes I get it all wrong. No worries though, one of my mentors had the same problem. His name is Paul. He also was a writer. In fact, He penned almost half of the Newer Testament of the Bible. Like me, Paul struggled with the curse of being human. Listen to what he said,

15 “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate. 16 I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. 17 But I can’t help myself because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.

18 I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. 19 When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20 Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp.

21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; 23-25 but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.

So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.” (Romans 7:15-25 TLB)

Do you see the great paradox? We know what to do but we can’t always do it. We know what not to do, but often we do it anyhow. So what’s the point? That question my friends has a very simple answer – Since we cannot meet the standard of Almighty God on our own, we need a knight in shining armor.  Enter the Liberator Jesus.  He can save us from… well… from ourselves (and the curse of the human condition). That is the message of Christianity in a nutshell.

Through the Liberator Jesus, our creator devised a rescue mission for the lost human race. Jesus came to planet earth to set things right in this life of contradictions where we want to serve God with all our heart and mind, but we are pulled away by the influence of wickedness to do something totally different. He came to set the captives free. He called himself the truth, and promised that to know the truth is to attain genuine freedom on the road to real life!

The paradox of faith is that when we conform our lives to Christ then we gain our true freedom. And its fruit is profound and lasting happiness.”Vincent Nichols

I’m still trying to get my arms around all of this freedom stuff. But, I have slowed the pace of my life considerably. Less hurry and worry. Breathing deep and enjoying each day – no – each moment. I have a renewed appreciation for my friends and family. I see the beauty once again in a palm tree swaying in the breeze and I make time to enjoy walks along the beach. A seagull sitting on a piling makes me smile. It’s the simple things that keep me going. Do I have questions? Yes, I still have many. But, in due season, God will answer them all.

Oh, I never did share the chorus from that life changing song – Taking My Time. Here it is:

“So I won’t worry
‘Cause there’s no hurry
The world’s not passin’ me by
‘Cause the Lord he knows
Just where each day goes
I know He won’t leave me behind
And I won’t be bringin’ a single thing
That my heart can’t carry inside
Lord, I’m goin’ home
And I’m only takin’ my time”*

To me these words are very therapeutic. I will not worry because there is no hurry. My God knows where each day of this life will lead me. When all is said and done, he won’t leave me stranded. The Liberator Jesus is my way, my truth and the foundation of my life.

Someday, we will all stand before the Divine judge to give an account for our days on spaceship earth. On that date with destiny, we won’t be bringing a single thing – except the record of how we used our time.  And so, I leave you with this thought from the pages of the book of life,

15-16“Be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to. 18 Don’t drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and controlled by him.” (Ephesians 5:16-18 TLB)

Almighty God, Creator of life throughout the Universe, please help me to make the most of every opportunity. I heard you call me today. Here I am. Show me the way. You have brought me this far. Guide me forward now. I want to know what the Liberator Jesus came here for. Help me to break free from the chains that bind me. Lead me and guide me into the truth that is found in The Liberator Jesus. Amen.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

*© 1994 Sparrow Song / Andi Beat Goes On Music (BMI)

You can listen to the song “Taking My Time” here: https://youtu.be/0uKlOoCI7S0

“My life really sucks”

I hear that a lot from people that I meet. Many seem to live with endless drama and uncertainty; hanging onto emotional and spiritual sanity by a thread. Some complain about being trapped in the status quo. Others are exhausted, anxious, and feel like they are running out of options. They often feel helpless, with little control over their state of affairs.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered if it was time to throw in the towel?

Let’s talk.

When you reach the end of your rope, you just may find the hem of HIS garment. Author Unknown

So you’ve reached the end of the rope and you’re slipping fast. Some would tell you to hold on to that rope for dear life. Re-claim control of your circumstances. Not me. Here’s my suggestion. Let go of the rope.

The burden of life’s uncertainties were never yours to carry. I’m not saying that letting go of the rope won’t hurt. Some things in your life may even get worse. But once you let go of the worry and give up the struggle to control everything, God can take over.

Check out this verse from the Bible,

6-7”So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 Phillips)

Isn’t that awesome?  God is always watching everything that concerns you. He will grip you in His strong hand and hold on to you as long as it takes. The French say, La vie est dure mais Dieu es bon si bon. In English it translates, Life is hard but God is good, so good.

But God is more than good. If you will trust Him, in time, He will lift you out from under the mess you’ve made (or the one you got sucked into). In the interim, you will learn all about endurance.

Every calamity is to be overcome by endurance. – Virgil

Endurance is the capacity to withstand hardship or stress. In the New Testament letter written to the Hebrew Christians, the writer encouraged them by saying,

35-38”Don’t throw away your trust now—it carries with it a rich reward in the world to come. Patient endurance is what you need if, after doing God’s will, you are to receive what he has promised. ‘For yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him’.” (Hebrews 10:35-38 Phillips)

When you remain determined in the face of a struggle and trust God to deliver you from your current miseries – that too is endurance. As a Christian, I have learned that no matter what I face in this life, I can confidently wait with patient endurance for God to act. He can do the impossible. I cannot.  

20”God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 The Message)

Stressed out people have generally allowed inward or outward pressures to consume them. For some, constant anxiety is a way of life. But the Scriptures admonish us to have a single mind; an undivided resolve. We are to press in and learn God’s unique purpose for our lives. And when troubles come, God wants us to welcome the challenge as an opportunity to test our trust in Him. The New Testament writer James put it this way,

2”…is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience (endurance) has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience (endurance) is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.(James 1:2-4 TLB)

It always comes back to this: Who do you trust? Yourself? The doctrines of the cultural, social, and political elite? Or is your trust in God and His word? Where you place your faith is critical. When you really learn to trust in the Lord, you can let go of your rope and with confidence enter life’s endurance run.

The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials.  – George Muller

1-3”Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message)

Get it? Life is an endurance race. The joy of knowing that you will come out a winner in the end should motivate you to endure every test and trial. No, it isn’t easy – nothing of any real value ever is. One day we will all pass through the veil of death. It is then we will cross that great and glorious finish line into eternal rest. But first, this earth will enter a time of great sorrow and extreme tribulation. So expect bad days, but remember, Jesus made a promise to everyone who endures the trying times,

10“Because you have kept my command to persevere (endure), I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Do not grow weary in the struggle. Learn to find your rest in the God. Stay focused on the truth that Jesus shared. And always run with patient endurance the race that lies before you. One day, you will reap the harvest of God’s faithfulness – if you do not quit!

Just hang in there baby!

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

“I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”

– Henry Ford

The year was 1833. A pair of Presbyterian ministers, John Jay Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart signed a covenant to form a Christian perfectionist community in northern Ohio. The settlement was envisioned to bring together the spiritual and physical worlds of its residents through a simple and holy lifestyle. They named the town Oberlin after Jean Frédéric Oberlin, a French minister whom they both admired. At the same time, they founded Oberlin College. Among the early faculty was the renowned Charles G. Finney, an American Presbyterian minister and leader of the Second Great Awakening in the United States. Finney began teaching at Oberlin College in 1835. He served as its second president from 1851 to 1866. The School of Theology at Oberlin was non-denominational and remained in existence until 1966. The board of trustees, believing that the Theology Department had outlived its usefulness on the campus, voted to discontinue graduate instruction in theology at Oberlin in 1965. Part of the Great Apostasy? Perhaps. But we’ll save that discussion for another time. Fast Forward. Now let me tell you about Thomas S. Kepler (1897-1963). He was a respected biblical scholar, prodigious author and Professor of New Testament studies at Oberlin College. Kepler also wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column on religious issues. He published a story about a woman who came to the realization that fears were ruining her life. According to Kepler, she began to keep track of what was worrying her.   This is what she found:

  • 40% of the things she worried about never happened.
  • 30% of the things she worried about already happened (i.e. – it’s the past, get over it).
  • 12% of the things she worried about were the opinions and criticisms of others.
  • 10% of the things she worried about were unnecessary health concerns, which actually made her health worse through anxiety.
  • 8% of the things she worried about were “reasonable concerns,” since life does have some real challenges to overcome.

“If we spend our time with regrets over yesterday, and worries over what might happen tomorrow, we have no today in which to live.”

– Author Unknown

So, if just 8% of her fears were actually reasonable concerns, how legitimate are your “worries”?  I’d say there is a high degree of probability that you’re wasting a significant amount of time and energy fretting about things that are best left alone. No wonder you’re so worn-out. Anxiety is zapping your energy. And for what benefit? Habitual and needless worry does not solve problems. And, even “reasonable concerns” are not an excuse for high anxiety. Most likely, your circumstances are not as ominous as you perceive them to be.

Worrying Accomplishes Absolutely Nothing

I will assume that you are familiar with the Bible. The New Testament is a grouping of 27 books.  For the Christian, this collection of writings is all about a new arrangement between God and humanity through the mediator Jesus. Most of the books are actually letters (also known as “epistles”). The most prolific contributor to the New Testament was the Apostle Paul. His letters total at least 13 of the 27 books, almost half of the New Testament. In addition to the Christian teachings found in his epistles, Paul often included specific instructions for the congregation to which he wrote. One such letter was addressed to the Christian community living in ancient Philippi. According to The Book of Acts, Philippi was “a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony” (Acts 16:12). Listen to these words of instruction, 6  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” Let’s break that down.

  • Don’t worry about anything.
  • Talk to God about everything.
  • Let God know your concerns (what you need).
  • Thank God for His solutions.

Sounds simple, right? So why do I suspect a possible skeptic or two (hundred)? Because as easy as it may sound, walking it out day by day is not so easy. Every word we just read is the absolute Truth. But it takes faith and patience to live it. Don’t forget the Payoff. If we incorporate this truth into our lifestyle, Paul said, “…you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”   The peace of God will calm you down. You will find rest when you put your absolute trust in Jesus, the liberator. Now, check out these words of wisdom from the Bible, 4-5  ”If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself alone. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 TLB) Get it? When you put your complete trust in God, there is no reason to worry. Remember, Jesus came to this planet to introduce us to a personal and relevant God – not a Religion. You can talk to God directly about your concerns and ask Him to help you. Put God first and He will make you a success at this thing called life. Worrying accounts for hours and hours of invaluable time that you will never get back. Can all the energy you’ve wasted on anxiety change your grades in school, improve your job performance, solve the budget shortfall or protect you from identity theft and contagious diseases? Has it ever?   If you are at least willing to be honest with yourself, the answer is NO. One more thought from the New Testament.  Jesus was talking with some of his followers and he said to them, 30 “…You have so little faith! 31 Do not worry. Do not keep saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘What will we wear?’ 32 The people who do not know God are looking for all these things. Your Father in heaven knows you need them. 33 First of all… Be right with Him. All these other things will be given to you also.” (Matthew 6:30b-33 NLV)

Why not surrender all of your worries and fears to God? He cares about you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He is a great listener. In fact, He is listening right now. Go ahead, Talk to Him… And stop worrying…

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, popular Bible teacher.
© 2015 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.

#1 Get in the Game

It is our responsibility to discover and develop our unique aptitudes and apply ourselves in developing our full potential.

10 “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither you go.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10

God expects us to use our talents in profitable and productive ways here on earth.

22 “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22

  • POINT: Be a DO what the word says person, not someone who sits on the sidelines of life. This is NOT a spectator sport.

13 I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength.”  – Philippians 4:13

  • POINT: I can do all things. All things? That is what he said – ALL THINGS!

Why? Because, my strength comes from God; it isn’t up to me to be strong on my own.

#2 Maintain a Positive Focus

Negative emotions often result from focusing on mistakes of the past. If God has forgiven our sins, then why should we not forgive ourselves? Dwelling on past blunders perpetuates negative thought patterns and emotions. We must live for the day and focus on the future, not the past.

13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.  – Phil. 3:13-14

Paul made some mistakes in his past. He said that he chose to forget what is in the past and focus instead on the future. The goal of fulfilling our calling is in THE PRESENT and THE FUTURE, not the past.

#3 Ask God for His Assistance

If you find yourself spiraling downward into depression, ASK God to help you.

First: Remember:

  • God is the source of our strength.
  • He knows the proper responses for our particular situation.
  • He has given us His Spirit to overcome negative forces impacting our lives.

Since God is the source of all good things, we must ask for His aid.

7 “Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look and what you are looking for you will find. Knock and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you. 8 Everyone who asks receives what he asks for. Everyone who looks finds what he is looking for. Everyone who knocks has the door opened to him. 9 What man among you would give his son a stone if he should ask for bread? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, would he give him a snake? 11 You are bad and you know how to give good things to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”  – Matt. 7:7-11

#4 Get Your Thinking Straight

What are your mental debates like? What contemplations fill your mind?

  • The worries of daily life?
  • The emotional pain you are suffering?
  • Hurt feelings?
  • Physical pains?
  • Your economic circumstances?

If so, your’ thinking stinks!

  • Instead, set your mind on THE truth!
  • Focus on the kingdom of God above everything else!
  • Live as a man or woman who is true and transparent before God

Jesus put it this way…

33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”.  – Matt. 6:33

Everything we need comes to us when we fix our mind on things above and focus on God’s kingdom while we live within a right (i.e. righteous) relationship with Him.

Paul told the Christians at Colossi…

1 “If then you have been raised with Christ, keep looking for the good things of heaven. This is where Christ is seated on the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds thinking about things in heaven. Do not think about things on the earth.” – Col. 3:1-2

Paul’s instruction to God’s people makes it crystal clear that we must refocus our thinking to a different level, to have an optimistic view in this mundane evil world.

8 “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. 9 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”. – Phil. 4:8-9

Truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good reports, virtue and praise are not views upon which the world commonly focuses. The news media, business community, governments and educational institutions do not generally bring about this type of thought pattern. Therefore, to remain positive in a negative world, we must sidestep this world’s agenda and reflect on God’s point of view.

#5 Obedience Promotes a Positive Outlook

God’s Word tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice (I Sam. 15:22). Obedience to God’s Way brings many blessings, not the least of which is an optimistic view of our life. Being in harmony with God’s laws brings confident assurance that our lives have value and that God will guide us. Notice the tangible blessings that bring contentment into our lives when we obey God:

  • Peace: “Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
  • Vision: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18).
  • Favor: “My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of your heart: So shall your find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:1-4).
  • Requests Granted: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21-22).

As we walk with God, we will recognize our need to claim more of His promises. Our faith will increase as we see God actively helping us each day. We can overcome the blues; deal with bad attitudes, solve unresolved problems, settle disputes, and calm our anxiety and fear.

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.