Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Not to Worry

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matthew 6:27)
These are words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. He is talking about faith, and worry is not a manifestation of faith. To worry means to be anxious and troubled with cares. Worry is not life-giving, but something that sucks life out of you. It does not come from heaven. it comes from hell. It is not of God but of the devil, the accuser of the brethren. Be done with it. Jesus shows us how:
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the filed, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed life one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)
If you’re going to be thinking about things, don’t focus on your lack. Focus instead on the provision made for you by the Father. When the Lord is your shepherd, you shall not be in lack.
Now if God so clothes the grass of the filed, which today is and tomorrow is thrown not the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)
You see what the problem is? It is “little faith.” It is not faith totally absent, but faith ungrasped, unexercised, unactivated. Its one thing to have faith, but quite another to live by it.

Most people, even many Christians, have no idea where faith comes from and how to use it. In fact, they don’t even realize that faith comes from somewhere and that there are definite ways to activate it. To them, faith is something like a fog that rolls in and can easily roll out again.

But the Bible says that faith comes from somewhere, and in a specific manner. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Ah, faith comes by hearing — but not just hearing any old thing. It comes by hearing the Word of God. You see, God’s Word is life, an incorruptible seed. When we receive that seed by hearing and meditating upon it, it gives birth to faith in our hearts. That’s a work of the Holy Spirit, sowing that seed and brooding over it within our spirit. The life of faith comes from that seed, believing what God has said in His Word. That’s why the man in Psalm 1 is such a blessed man — He constantly meditates on the Word of God, believing the promises and receiving their benefit.

Many people meditate on the lies of the devil — that’s what worry is all about. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God; worry comes by hearing the lies and accusations of the devil.

There are also definite ways to activate, or exercise faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

The Word of God is a seed; faith is a seed. But it is not enough just to have them. You must plant them. The way you plant them is by speaking them out. You can say to the mulberry tree and it will obey you.

Many people speak out all their worries and fears. They are always talking about their problems and how things are getting worse. But nothing will ever get solved by worrying, and it will never get them anywhere with God.

The Bible says that, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In other words, faith pleases God. Worry does not. Faith pleases God because it comes from Him in the first place; worry does not come from God but from the enemy. Faith is believing what God has said; worry is believing the whispers of the evil one.

Worry cannot add one cubit to your stature. It cannot make you any taller, although it might make you shorter as you hunch and slump under the burden of care. But I heard of man who added to his stature, not by worry, but by faith. His desire was to be on the police force in his community, but he was too short to qualify. With a strong sense of call to this work, he began to exercise his faith, believing God to make him tall enough to meet the requirement. And so he was. Worry could not do that. But faith certainly did.

I heard another man who believed the promise of God in Psalm 103:5 and began to confess, “God satisfies my mouth with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” One of the visible results is that his hair, which had been graying, began to turn dark again. Worry can only turn your hair gray, but faith can renew your youth and vitality.

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles [pagans] seek. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. (Matthew 6:31-32).

“Do not worry, saying …” Notice that worrying is exercised by what you say, just as faith is. You have a choice about what you can say. You can speak words of worry, whispering fear over your life, or you can speak words of faith, confessing the Word of God over your life. (Hint: choose faith)

You see, it always comes back to God. That is why Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Faith is activated by believing the Word of God in your heart and speaking it with your mouth. Faith and worry do not mix. Therefore, speak only words of faith over your life.