“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 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 6:25-27, New Living Translation)
For days, Ella had not quite been herself. She sat on her bed in her hostel room, staring into space. She was thinking hard about the way her life was going. “All my money don finish ehn! So wetin I go come do now sef*?” she thought to herself. Her dad had just died last year, and her mum was struggling to keep up with the burden of caring for her and her three siblings. She had spent all her pocket money for the month, and the month was not over yet! Worse still, she still had some study materials to buy as the First Semester exams approached. And to crown it all, her store of food was empty! Life couldn’t possibly be any tougher. She was wondering how on earth she would be able to survive under these very unfriendly circumstances.
I am sure many of us can identify with Ella’s case. Sometimes, things just get so tough that we become so anxious about how we will survive. Of course, Ella was very worried about her wellbeing and that of her family, just as many of us would be. If you were in Ella’s shoes, won’t it be normal for you to worry yourself to exhaustion? Would there be anything wrong if you became fretful about the future when you don’t know where your next meal would come from?
First and foremost, what really is worry? In my own definition, worry is getting so preoccupied with an issue to the extent that it makes you uneasy. It is fussing about something continually such that you can’t really relax anymore. People worry about all kind of issues: what to eat, what to drink, what clothes to wear, what business to do, where to work, who to marry, etc.
But people don’t just start worrying without a reason. I have found out from careful observation that worry is closely linked to fear. When fear gets a hold of you it becomes easy to worry. We worry because we are afraid! The challenges of life which confront us may look so huge that we soon succumb to worry.
Parents get afraid that they won’t be able to pay their children’s school fees, so they begin to worry about how to get the cash. As years roll by, an unmarried lady may begin to worry about getting a husband or missing out of the whole fun of marriage. A loving mother is afraid that her sick baby will die, and so she becomes overwhelmed with worry. Youths look at the fashion in vogue and out of the fear that they may be mocked by their friends for not being up to date, they start to worry about the clothes in their wardrobe!
Another major cause of worry is the inordinate desire for money. If a man is under the control of the love of money, he will always find himself worrying when he doesn’t have money or the things money can buy. Money can either be a slave or a master in someone’s life. Woe betides those who have made money their master! While money can be a very good slave, it is a terrible master. Money loves to be a master over the lives of people. It can dictate the pace and mood of their lives, whether they are happy or sad. Those who live for money will live troubled lives because it can develop wings and fly away like an eagle! (Proverbs 23:5)
But then, what’s the big deal? You may ask, “Don’t I have the right to worry if I’m afraid of something”. Or you may remark, “You don’t understand what I am going through!” While some people don’t really see anything wrong with worry, others don’t know how to deliver themselves from its strong hold.
In His Word God has promised to take care of us (1 Peter 5:7). He assures us of His mighty love for us. He doesn’t promise that hard or turbulent times won’t come, but He promises to carry us through them. Jesus Christ in His famous Sermon on the Mount reiterated this truth. He made it clear that if God takes care of the flowers and the birds of the air, then we have no reason to be anxious or worried about life. Are we not more valuable to God than flowers and animals?
Therefore, when we worry we doubt God’s love for us. By worrying we tell God that He can’t be counted upon to deliver His promises. We make God look like a liar! Worry shows that we don’t count Him faithful to us. One painful truth which we don’t always realise is that worry is a sin! It is a sin because it is disobedience to God’s Word. We are commanded to take no thought for our life (Matthew 6:25). “Take no thought” means do not be anxious or worried.
Isn’t it interesting that worry appears harmless? But it aids the destruction of many. Worry weighs us down and it is detrimental to our health. Research has shown that worry interferes with our normal life causing depression and stress. It lowers the immune system thereby opening our bodies to infections and diseases. It also speeds up the ageing process. Surely, God knew about the dangers of worry!
It also weakens our spiritual immune system by destroying our shield of faith. We can’t worry and be in faith at the same time. This makes us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. A worrier will usually be weak spiritually. And pitifully, there are many children of God who are worry champions!
So how do I get delivered from the strong hold of worry? The antidote to worry is faith! Like I said earlier, you can’t be in worry and faith at the same time. Just as worry destroys faith, faith destroys worry. Faith is the assurance that God is faithful. It means that you can rely on His word and promises. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. When you are full of God’s Word, then you can be full of faith.
When next you are tempted to worry, remind yourself of God’s promise to take care of you. Someone once said, you can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting on your head. Also, though you can’t keep thoughts of fear and worry from coming to you, you can at least keep your mind from being overpowered by such thoughts.
There have definitely been times when you thought all hope was lost, but God came to your rescue. He made a way where there seemed to be no way. He supplied your need through someone you least expected. Instead of worrying, remind yourself of such times, believing that God will help you again this time. Learn to commit your fears and challenges to God in prayer. Mention those issues and ask God for His help. Then spend time to thank God for fulfilling His promises. You will be surprised at how the solutions will come out of nowhere! The Apostle Paul puts it aptly:
“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”. (Philippians 4:6-7, New International Version)
God is more willing to help us than we are to be helped! Worry never helps; it only makes us feel that we are helping ourselves. It never solves our problems, but it compounds them. Nobody has ever added any value to his life by worrying. Many of the things we worry about never happen! It is actually foolish to live in worry.
The wise man is he who knows the God who is interested in every detail of his life, and commits every single problem to His care. He knows that God cares for Him so He chooses to master his fears and worries with the Word of God. Conquer that worry and don’t let it lord it over you!