Ridge MOPS kicked off the new year hearing from Brad Thomas, Lead Pastor of Austin Ridge Bible Church. Brad laid out a vision for A Year of Peace.
Peace is freedom from worry and living in joy.
Worry is the inordinate anxiety for something that may or may not occur. We all tend to worry about things we can’t change or do anything about. In fact, on average
- 70% of what we worry about is either in the past or not even able to happen
- 12% of what we worry about is our health
- 10% of what we worry about is people or things we have no control over.
That means only 8% of what we worry about is anything we can even try to affect.
The word “worry” comes from the Old English word that meant “to strangle” and the Greek word that meant “double minded.” So worry is literally a conflicted mind which is strangling you. Worry makes us incapable of being wise.
Joy is not simply happiness. It is not the result of our external circumstances. Joy is an attitude of knowing who is in charge. And of knowing that He is good and all powerful, that He is stronger than your circumstances.
What does Jesus say to do with worry? When worry sets in, get yourself with God. In Luke Chapter 10, when Jesus visits Mary and Martha’s home, as Martha worries about the house being perfect and Mary rests at Jesus’s feet, Jesus says to Martha “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
How can you get yourself with God when worry sets in? Turn to His word. Psalm 34 is a good psalm for when you’re worried.
Verse 4. I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. The answer may be “not yet,” but God always answers.
Verse 7. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
Verse 9. Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! If God’s answer is ‘no’ or ‘not yet,’ then you don’t need it yet.
Verse 18. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Verse 19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Not some. All.
Are you a worrier? Are you an “if only”? You need to know that your joy has nothing to do with your circumstances. In life, something WILL go wrong. Decide now where your joy comes from. If your joy comes from your circumstances, then you WILL be devastated when something goes wrong. What are common “joy stealers”? –
- Living in the past.
- Living in the future. God is the great I am. Not I was or I will be.
- Stress. How do you handle it? What does it look like for you to release stress to the Lord?
- Fear. Fear is the presence of danger or the thought of the presence of danger.
When fear sets in, get yourself with God. It’s hard to be worried when you’re focused on God. How did Daniel survive the lion’s den? Daniel was in a foreign country, harassed, and then there was a law that you couldn’t pray to anyone but the king. But Daniel openly prayed to God. The king loved Daniel but had to give him the punishment of putting him in the lion’s den. The king was torn up about it and didn’t sleep at all that night, even though he was safe and sound. But Daniel, inside the den, slept great. And in the morning, he was still alive. Why did Daniel sleep great in the lion’s den?
How can you get yourself with God when fear sets in? Pray.
Prayer is ongoing dialogue with God. Pray without ceasing. Prayer is not rubbing the lamp for genie wishes.
Setting your mind on Jesus brings joy and worry-free living.
Jesus tells us: If you have your sights set on me, you should not be fearful.
It is impossible for God to be cruel. So, if you are knocked against a rock, know that God has a purpose.
Finally, remember the effect stress and worry will have on your children. Stress and worry can be passed down and modeled. Maybe some of us inherited our current methods of handling stress and worry, but that doesn’t mean we have to pass it down to our children. Do you go to God throughout the day with everything? Or do you go to God when nothing else works?
“I have learned to kiss the wave that strikes my face because it pushes me closer to the Lord.” -Charles Spurgeon.
Brad Thomas is the Lead Pastor of Austin Ridge Bible Church.