Worry. Worry. Worry. There is more than enough to worry about in the world today! On both macro and micro levels, the potential for worry presses in 24/7 on all sides. Can you feel the pressure?
There is just one problem with worry. The Scripture tells us that worry leads to no good. In particular, God tells us that worry…LEADS ONLY TO EVIL (Ps.37:8b).
We can see the how worry leads only to evil:
1) The root of worry is fear which is not of God (2 Tim. 1:7). When we worry we are giving Satan the reigns of our mind and thus our resulting actions.
2) Worriers are usually controllers and manipulators. Control and manipulation are spirits that worriers entertain which the Bible calls witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). Explore this topic further with questions for self-examination at daily bread missions.
Worry might be a trait we learned from our family of origin.
Worry might be a habit that we developed after a trauma.
Worry can certainly be contagious.
Worry is ever-present in the media.
Worry zaps our energy, steals our time, focus and thoughts.
Worry generates negative energy and solicits demonic spirits.
Whatever the case, worry can present a problem for us simply because we have never acknowledged it and replaced it with something else. When we release a bad habit, we must replace it with a good one as reinforcement, otherwise the habit will fight to reclaim its old place (Luke 11:24). Looking to Scripture for guidance about worry, what does it say?
Obviously, Scripture instructs us not to worry. But what does it instruct us to do instead? Philippians 4:6 is clear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”
Replacing the worry with prayer, petition and thanksgiving to God is one sure way to defeat it. However, the prayer, petition and thanksgiving must be consume more time than the worry ever did and be practiced as a preemptive habit to protect us. Replacing the worry this way enables us to walk in agreement with God (Amos 3:3). When the mindset of prayer, petition and thanksgiving is established and practiced consistently, the worry habit carries less power and thus is defeated more easily.
When worry threatens to harass us, we can choose to enforce an internal boundary and refuse to entertain the worry. When we resist worry we are choosing to obey the following:
1) Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”
2) James 4:7 “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
3) Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
4) Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Yes, worry is a dart from the enemy.
Some of us may have identified with worry at such a young age or at such a deep level that we have incorporated it subconsciously into our identity. That makes it especially hard to break. If so, we might need to focus on anchoring our sole identity deeply in Christ alone, thus demoting the worry habit in submission to Him. Once identity in Christ is firmly established the worry habit will be much easier to defeat.
A hoola hoop can offer a helpful illustration of turning the habit of worrying around. Imagine a hoola hoop circling horizontally around your head. This standard position illustrates worry: around and around your head it goes wasting your time, energy and thoughts. And as we all know, the hoop of worry can grow gradually smaller in size until it finally threatens to strangle you.
On the other hand, we can choose to flip the horizontal hoop to a vertical position. Imagine the hoop circling vertically from your head upward toward heaven. This alternative position represents in obedience to Scripture the “prayer, petition and thanksgiving” mentioned in Philippians 4:6. As the worry approaches, you automatically take your God-given authority over it and turn it into a prayer. Instead of revolving around your head anymore the worry is cast on to God who is ready to receive it.
The vertical hoola hoop position is a mindset which can become an S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) for your soul. But it takes practice. Notice that Philippians 4:6 says “in every situation.” That means without exception. That phrase denotes a permanent mindset which takes grace and time to develop. Give yourself grace and time.
When we decide to make thanksgiving instead of worry the base attitude of our lives, we are on our way to establishing new and helpful habits –and a burst of spiritual growth. On top of thanksgiving in all things (1 Thes. 5:18), we add prayer and frequent petitions or requests. The vertical hoop position takes the burden of worry off of us and puts it on God where it belongs. Thus, the vertical hoop position allows us to operate in the freedom (Gal. 5:1) of a worry-free mode as we were designed to.
Flipping the hoop, so to speak, can be done relatively easily. However, keeping it vertical is the challenge. That’s where James 4:7 submitting and resisting comes into play. Definitely a process, flipping your hoola hoop from horizontal to vertical can be accomplished and maintained by God’s grace, your momentary choice and persistence. The support of a small group during your process will increase your learning curve exponentially as James 5:16 is applied to gradually heal you of the worry habit.
Worry. Worry. Worry. It doesn’t have to be that way!
You are the only one in control of your mind.
God has given you complete dominion over it.
It is your choice to takes the necessary steps to submit your mind to God and train your mind to work effectively for your good, His kingdom and glory.
In addition, going deeper…one core issue we must deal with is the question:
Do I truly believe deep down that God is in absolute control of my life–the big things, the details and everything that concerns me? This is a deep root that you must take up with the LORD face to face or with the help of a counselor, small group or close friend. Worry usually relates to control which reveals a root of fear, an enemy stronghold. Extreme entrenchment in worry may require breaking unhealthy soul ties with individuals, such as family of origin members, which can be done with an experienced spiritual counselor or in programs such as Living Waters.
Release from worry was a core issue in my growth process and is laid out in my book, My Journey Through the Cross. Just as God showed me, He will show you the blockages so you can release them and move forward. Ask Him: “Show me, LORD, where and why I don’t trust you. Then give me your peace and strength to learn to trust you. Thank you for all your insights and provision.”
Don’t waste another day wasting your thoughts in the waste of worry. Flip the hoop! And keep flipping until it stays that way.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us not a spirit of fear; but of power and love and discipline.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”
Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
1 Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’
1 Thessalonians 5:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?
For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.