Worry … most of us have worried about something at some point in our life … some more than others. At the same time, most believers understand and realize that Jesus commanded us ‘Do not worry’.
Having personally just come out of a season of worry and anxiety, it was interesting for me to discover some of the consequences of worry that Scripture reveals.
Some of the consequences of worry include:
- Worry is born out of fear (or in some cases probably begets fear) and fear and doubt are both counter to faith thus resulting in Jesus declaring ‘You men of little faith!’ (Luke 12:28) in the midst of His teaching on worry …
- According to the parable of the sower, worry chokes out the word of God and it becomes unfruitful in the life of person who has heard that word (Matt 13:22)
- Based on Martha’s outburst to Jesus regarding Mary, worry takes us away from the feet of Jesus … from the abiding presence of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)
- The worries of life may cause you to miss the return of Christ (Luke 21:34-37) … hopefully none of us have experienced this one yet.
- Over time worry can beget anxiety … anxiety being a more permanent state of worry … a constant anticipation of some impending misfortune in virtually all things (This based on the voice of personal experience.)
- Then the obsession with anxiety can keep the believer from praying and offering thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6) … we basically become so focused on the storms surrounding us, we lose sight of Jesus and begin to sink into the depths of darkness (Matthew 14:28-33)
My own experiences confirm to me what Scripture reveals about the consequences of worry (except for the one regarding the return of Christ). Fortunately in my recent season of worry, my beloved brother Adam challenged me over lunch one day as to why I was struggling with my faith and sinking into the depths of darkness … my response was I had basically taken my eyes off Jesus … all these consequences were driving me to anxiety and away from Jesus.
Note what happened to Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus … and note how Jesus responded to his cry for help …
Seeing the wind, Peter became frightened, and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him (taken from Matthew 14:30-31)
That day at lunch, my beloved brother Adam challenged me, encouraged me and prayed for me. And almost immediately my worry … my anxiety began to fade as Jesus took hold of me. It still took weeks before the physical problems prompting the worry and anxiety would begin to be resolved, but that day I began to reconnect with my Lord and Savior.
Note these words of wisdom offered later by Peter … that very same Peter who began to sink …
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8 (NASB)
Cast ALL your anxiety on God … BECAUSE He cares for you!
And I can’t help but wonder if when we choose to hold on to our anxiety, we don’t, in our weakness, become easy prey for the devil to devour. While not listed above, that seems like a pretty significant consequence of worry to me.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
God, thank You for caring for me!
Jesus, thank You for continuing to rescue me!
Father, thank You for taking on my anxiety!
Lord, thank You for the peace that surpasses all understanding!