As we turn the calendar and step into a new year, I want to share a “principle to live by” in each of my weekly blog posts for 2020. My focus in 2019 was “52 Great Prayers to Pray” and this year I want to focus in on some powerful principles that should govern our lives. The Word of God is packed full of incredible wisdom and my desire is that, together, we can harness the truth of Scripture and in so doing lift the level of our living.
The first principle of this new year that I’d like to focus on is “Winning over Worry.” The Bible says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Proverbs 12:25). Have you ever been weighed down by worry? You’re not alone; we all have. There is so much going on in all our lives and as I work with people I hear about many sources of worry: family, marriage, kids, finances, jobs, education plans, future uncertainty, health, spiritual welfare of loved ones, and more. How about you today? Are you high in anxiety or high in assurance?
As I write this blog post I’m sitting in a room in the Bible School in Tirana, Albania, teaching Bible School students who are training for ministry. It’s not easy here, but I’m buoyed by their resolve. This past weekend I preached in our daughter church in Durrës, Albania. This area, including the church and its pastor, was recently rocked by a devastating earthquake. More than 50 people were killed and many more were displaced. People slept in their cars for days, and fear and worry were palpable. Imagine living in an apartment five floors up and everything suddenly beginning to move and crack and break apart. You can understand the instinct toward fear and anxiety. I spoke on “worry” in Durrës this past weekend, and, more specifically, on how we can beat worry by trusting in God. As you might imagine, it struck quite a chord and as I called on people to give their worries to the Lord, many cried out to God and stood in a puddle of tears.
But worry is not only associated with earthquakes and Albania. I’m a husband, dad (army dad), and grandfather. I’m a pastor with financial concerns, people concerns, ministry cares and responsibilities, and more. I understand the “weight of worry” but I prefer to beat worry through Christ at every turn. Paul tells us to throw away worry. He literally says to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). Look at each word of this verse and follow it specifically: Cast. All. Your. Anxiety. On. Him. Because. He. Cares. For. You. Let that sink in. Practice what it says and feel the weight of worry lift. You are not meant to live with worry. You are meant to give it to Jesus and let Him carry your worry. Why? Because He cares for you and knows what’s best for you.
Winning over worry is not easy, but it is possible through Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 says that we can trade worry for peace through prayer. This is how we do the casting: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.” What is it that causes you to worry? What worries are you carrying now? Let me encourage you as I did our dear friends in Durrës, Alabania, to give your worries to Jesus. Trust in Him. He loves you and cares for you and will take the weight of worry off you and replace it with His peace. Determine to worry less and trust more in 2020. Jesus Christ the Lord is with you all day and every day. Amen.