“Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life . . . or your body.” (Matthew 6:25)
Several years ago I was facilitating a study group called the Alpha program. One of the discussions centered around the topic of worry. When it was suggested that worrying was sinful, I distinctly remember one person’s startled remark, “What? Worrying is sinful; that just can’t be right.”
These words from Oswald Chambers make a strong point. “It is not only wrong to worry; it is infidelity because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives.” The meaning of infidel is “one who is not a Christian or who opposes Christianity.” No Christ-follower that I know would want to be known as an infidel.
Who among us has never worried? Worry is certainly a characteristic of human nature. When a teenager is late coming home, worrying about their well-being is certainly a natural parental concern. A diagnosis of an often-fatal disease is surely cause for worry. Certainly, that doesn’t cause a person to become an infidel.
Perhaps Chambers goes a bit far in his formal accusation of people who worry. Worry is not just a natural response to certain circumstances, but in many situations worrying is simply common sense. However, Chambers in his strong statement and Jesus in the verse above are noticeably clear about their condemnation of worry.
Worrying seldom, or should I say never, changes the outcome of a situation. Worrying about our own or someone else’s health issues will not change the outcome but praying often does. Worrying about a wayward child won’t convince the child to return to his/her Christian heritage, but praying does, even if it takes several years.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Chapter 6, Jesus uses the examples of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field to illustrate God’s care and concern that He gives to all His creation. “Do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all you need will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31 and 33)
So, if worrying is actually infidelity as Oswald Chambers contends, we must seek a solution to this very human condition. Chambers says, “the only cure for infidelity is obedience to the Spirit.” We must abandon ourselves to the will of God expressed by the Holy Spirit and abide in Jesus.
I am not condemning those who worry. I wonder if Chambers, himself, was able to rid himself of this very normal and natural, human characteristic. I have found that in my retirement years I do worry less. Even during times when we are experiencing health problems or financial doubts. We can depend on Christ’s promise that God will provide for our needs.
When we experience grief, loneliness, illnesses, depression, and all manner of suffering, it is impossible to avoid worry; however, we can all rely on the salvation given to believers by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When the very worst happens to us, our death, we will be forever freed from every type of worry in the presence of God and Jesus Christ, our redeemer.
Dear God, it is almost impossible for us humans to completely delete worry from our lives, even though Your word tells us that worrying is a sin. Help us, Lord, to always be mindful of Your presence in our lives and fully rely on You to meet our needs and acknowledge the salvation and eternal life Christ provides. In His name, we pray, Amen.
Jerry is just an ordinary Jesus follower
who is blessed to receive guidance from the
Holy Spirit in writing these articles. He is
also a retired high school counselor who
has learned many lessons from his students
and friends through the years. Jerry can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.