Psychologists tell us that 90% of the things people worry about never come true. How crazy is it that many of us spend vast amounts of our lives worrying about things we can’t control and most of them don’t happen anyway? Think about the time we waste and stress we put ourselves over because of worry. Worry is obviously a problem that effects all us, but how do we stop?
There are many things we can do to overcome worry, but in this article I want to focus on two that have helped me defeat worry over the years. These are meditating on the truth and staying focused on God’s perfect love for me. I believe if you apply these truths they will help you defeat worry in your life!
The Importance of Meditating Truth
What we mediate on can put faith in our heart or cause us to worry. A great example of this is found in Genesis 37. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery and then dipped his tunic in blood and brought it to their father, Jacob. Look at Jacob’s response to the lie he believed:
33 And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.”
The lies Jacob believed caused him to assume the worst and grieve. He created a story in his head about how a wild beast must have torn Joseph to pieces. Many of us are currently grieving because of stories we have created in our head based on evidence we have seen that aren’t true. We do this when we believe fearful thoughts based on circumstantial evidence like Jacob did. I’ll admit the circumstances looked bad, but ultimately the conclusion Jacob drew from them wasn’t true. The lie Jacob believed caused him to experience the negative emotions of the death of his son even though Joseph was alive and well.
The lies we believe will create worry in us. This is why we must endeavor to focus on the truth of God’s word. I know the example of Jacob and Joseph is an extreme example, but hopefully it drives home the point. When we assume the worst, it will drive us into grief which is why we must focus on the truth of Gods’ word. God had given prophetic promises to Jacob about Joseph’s destiny through Joseph’s dreams, but Jacob chose to not believe the word. If he would have believed God’s promise over Joseph’s life, he wouldn’t have responded the same way when his other sons brought a negative report. We need to endeavor to remember and meditate God’s promises over our lives so when we can combat the negative reports we receive.
Perfect Love Drives Out Fear
1 John 4:18 says 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Worry (the nice way of saying fear) involves torment. Think about it, when you think the worst is going to happen, it leads to severe physical and mental suffering. 1 John gives us the key to overcoming this kind of torment. The key is to let God’s perfect love cast out fear. Notice what this verse doesn’t say. It doesn’t say to get more faith. Many people have gotten into torment because they feel like they don’t have enough faith. The truth is there is enough power in the word of God to fulfill any promise He has given us. A revelation of His perfect loves is what activates our ability to believe the promise! Why? Because He is a good Father and it’s His good pleasure to give us the kingdom!!! When we get our eyes off of our situation and whether or not we have enough faith and simply get our eyes on Jesus who loves us perfectly, our faith works and worry leaves!!!
When we let the love of God wash over us by beholding Jesus, worry leaves without our striving! I want to emphasize we don’t have to get rid of fear so we can receive perfect love, we simply receive God’s perfect love and it drives out the fear. There are a variety of ways to experience this love. We can put on Christian music and let ourselves go in worship, study the miracles of Jesus in the scripture, confessing the promises, and receive communion to remind ourselves of what Jesus accomplished at the cross. The key isn’t striving, it is rest in His goodness and to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit!!!
I hope this article has given you some practical steps about how to overcome worry. God hasn’t called you to fret; He has called you to peace and He wants you to experience that peace by focusing on truth and letting His love for you empower that truth! Below is one of Jesus’s foundational teachings on this topic out of Matthew 6. I’m going to close by letting you read that so you can remind yourself how much God loves you!
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.