Over the last 6 weeks we have been unpacking a topic that is really appropriate for these days when we are coping with lockdown and the pressures and stresses that it brings. Our current circumstances are putting a microscope to the condition of our hearts, our emotions, our mental health, our flaws and failings. Emotions are what make us human – our ability to feel and experience and so many of our emotions are fantastic – joy, hope, pleasure. But our emotions also have the capacity to be toxic and to direct our lives down a path that is unhelpful and damaging and in this series we have been sking the question do you want your emotions to be in control of you?
Today we are talking about an emotion that all of us feel – worry. What are you worried about today?
Jesus told his followers (and through them speaks to us) to not worry. But that is easier said than done isn’t it? Fortunately Jesus also goes on to give some antidotes to worry. You can read what Jesus had to say about worry in Chapter 6 of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life from the New Testament. We are particularly interested today in verses 25 to 34. You can read those by clicking here.
There is a difference between appropriate care or concern and inappropriate anxiety or worry. Really important, Jesus isn’t saying don’t care about these things. He isn’t saying don’t care about what you put in your body or how you will earn a living or feed your families. He is saying don’t get that out of proportion, don’t misdirect it, don’t obsess about it, don’t spend so long thinking about it and getting anxious that you divide your mind or strangle the life or goodness out of things.
This would have been a really big challenge to many of Jesus’ listeners who were poor and for whom every day was a search for enough to eat. Jesus is challenging them and us to a daily trusting in God’s care and provision.
In these verses Jesus introduces us to four antidotes to worry:
The emotions we have been talking about in this series – fear, anger, envy, guilt, worry can feel like some pretty big dogs that bark at us, chase us and tear at our souls. But God has some pretty big dogs of his own…goodness and mercy. And they will follow us all the days of our lives if we seek God and ask him to be with us.
To find out more about Next Steps at Andover Baptist Church check out the NextSteps web page.
Questions to reflect on in your small group or on your own:
- What do you worry about?
- When Jesus says “do not worry” what do you think he means?
- Do you agree that there is a difference between appropriate care and concern and worry? What are some of those differences?
- When Jesus challenges his listeners to trust God, how easy do you think they would have found that? How easy do you find it?
- Read verses 30 to 34 again, what really strikes you? Which of the four antidotes to worry feels like the most important for you?
- What are you going to do differently or start doing as an antidote to worry?
- How does it make you feel to know that God is pursuing you all the days of your life with goodness and mercy?
Listen to the full talk on our podcast below…