Greg's Blog

Trading Worry for Worship and Panic for Prayer

by Greg Laurie on Oct 16, 2020

I have a bird feeder outside my kitchen window, so in the morning I’ll watch the birds at the feeder while I eat breakfast. And although it’s a squirrel-proof bird feeder, there’s also an acrobatic squirrel that manages to steal seed from the birds.

We can learn a lot from birds, which is a point Jesus made 2,000 years ago. He said, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:26–27 NLT).

Then Jesus illustrated with flowers: “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are” (verses 28–29 NLT).

He concluded, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (verses 33–34 NLT).

Now, Jesus isn’t saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about the needs of life. He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about having food on the table, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads. Rather, He’s saying that we shouldn’t worry about these things.

Have you ever seen a stressed-out bird? Birds just go out and live their lives, even though no bird has ever been promised eternal life. Even so, what do birds do every morning? They wake us up with their singing.

This doesn’t mean that birds neglect to take action to get food. They come and get seed out of birdfeeders like mine, or they hang out at a McDonald’s and wait for a fry to hit the ground. They do their due diligence, but they don’t worry about it.

An old poem puts it well:

Said the robin to the sparrow,
I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.

Said the sparrow to the robin,
Friend, I think that it must be,
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.

If God takes care of the birds, then He will take care of us.

Worry doesn’t make your life longer; it just makes it more miserable. In fact, worry can actually shorten your life. Medical experts have determined that worry can disease the nervous system and the digestive system.

In addition, worry and anxiety actually can cause deep depression. The experts are telling us this today, but the Bible has already said it: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression” (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV).

Sometimes we think that worry is a virtue of some kind. But let me say something that might surprise you: worry actually can be a sin. That’s because worry is a failure to trust God. Nothing touches the Christian that has not first passed through the loving hands of God.

You will live as long as God wants you to live. No one changes that. A virus doesn’t change that, and a threat against your life doesn’t change that. The Bible gives us this promise: “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5 NKJV).

If you want to grow in your faith instead of worrying, then read your Bible and believe what it says. Romans 10:17 tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (NKJV).

Most Americans have a Bible in their homes. In fact, the average American household has four Bibles. Interestingly, The Center for Bible Engagement conducted a study and found that if you’re not reading your Bible four or more times a week, then you won’t make significant choices or changes any differently than someone who doesn’t read the Bible.

The study goes on to show that if you read your Bible more than four times a week, the propensity for pornography goes down 61 percent, the propensity for substance abuse goes down 57 percent, and the propensity for gambling goes down 74 percent. And even obesity goes down 20 percent.

Also, the researchers found that if you read your Bible at least four days a week, then you’ll have a 228 percent greater chance of sharing your faith, a 231 percent greater chance of discipling others, and a 407 percent greater chance of memorizing Scripture.

So let the Word of God bolster your faith, and trade your worry for worship. Put God first in your life. Put God first in your priorities, in your marriage, and in your singleness. Put God first in your career and in your finances. Honor the Lord and let Him have His way in your life.

In what we often call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2 NKJV).

Yet as Alan Redpath pointed out, “We cannot pray, ‘Thy kingdom come’ until we first pray, ‘My kingdom go.'”

God’s plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. So don’t be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. Put God’s kingdom first, and turn your panic into prayer.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

This article was originally published at WND.com.

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