Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Now Let The Vault Of Heaven Resound"1 (Lyrics)
You've likely heard the phrase, "It's against my religion", used as an excuse to avoid unpleasant tasks. You'll also know that religions tend to have forbidden practices. That's true across the branches of Christianity. Can you think of any that apply to you now? Or does it seem that anything goes these days? Of course, that's untrue, if we consider Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, such as these words:
Matthew 6:25a – Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. (NIV)
There it is! Worry is against our religion! Yet, we do worry over our lives. We worry over daily needs. We worry over being accepted. We worry over future security. We worry over potential health risks. We even worry for those who don't worry, who show no concern over their irresponsible ways. Worrying can feel right: Why, if I don't worry, it means that I'm not caring enough!
Interestingly, Jesus did not coddle the worriers in the crowd. Instead, He criticized them, saying, "O you of little faith!" Worry, he said, is for unbelievers; that's why they run after material things — food, clothes, and such. God's children have no reason to worry because their heavenly Father knows their needs and cares for them. God's children are to be occupied with matters related to the kingdom of God: God's presence, power, and kingdom purposes.
Worry is "against our religion" for a good reason. As with any sinful habit, it harms us and accomplishes nothing. It also harms God's reputation. When we worry over temporal matters and chase after them, we convey the message that God isn't sufficient.
What about huge worries like climate change, pandemic, and global catastrophe? Such worries are definitely against our religion! Isn't God bigger than our entire universe? Can God's eternal purposes ever be overruled by human behaviour? Can God be outmaneuvered by political or corporate empires? Can He not sustain our earthly home as long as our presence here fulfills His purposes? Hasn't He got the whole world in His hands?
Jesus essentially claimed that worry-free living is a distinguishing mark of the Christian. Through resolute trust in Him, Christians convey to the world that God is sufficient, no matter what the circumstance.
By now, you might suspect that my thread title is woefully deficient. It is. It tempts us to focus more on what's forbidden than on what's gained in exchange. Our Lord didn't merely prohibit worrying. He pronounced something far better in exchange.
Can you see from the following text what's to be gained? Doesn't our gain make it worth surrendering all our worries?
Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, convict us of our needless worries. Inspire us to repent of our wobbly faith that we may receive Your inestimable peace and become available for Your higher purposes. Amen.