Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Have you ever been at work, or been watching television, or maybe sitting in a worship service when, out of nowhere, this alien thought comes into your mind, something to worry about? You try to dismiss the thought, but it won’t leave; instead it grows larger and larger and larger until it drains every other thought and concern that you have. The word “worry” comes from a German word that means “to strangle.” And that’s what worry does: it strangles out the joy of life.
This worry can have a devastating emotional impact on us, but it also affects us physically. Did you know that during World War II, four hundred thousand Americans were killed in combat, but during that same period of time, two million Americans died from cardiovascular disease? Doctors say half of those deaths were directly attributable to hypertension induced by worry.
Worry affects us spiritually as well. In Luke 8, Jesus told the parable about a sower who went out sowing seed, and the seed fell on four different kinds of soil. Jesus went on to explain the seed represented the Word of God, and the four kinds of soil represented the four conditions of the human heart that received God’s Word. And in verse 14, Jesus said, “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” This seed fell on soil, and it began to grow, but then there was a weed system underneath that choked the life out of it. Jesus was saying for some of us as we try to grow, our spiritual interest is choked out. It can be choked out by a love of pleasure, or a love of money, but at the top of the list that chokes out spiritual growth in our lives is worry. Worry can strangle the spiritual life out of us.
What’s the antidote to worry? Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Christ’s gift to us is peace no matter what happens around us.
The way we experience peace, the conduit through which it comes into our lives, is faith. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is not some hope or wish–faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the assurance that God is in control of our lives no matter what is happening around us. But faith is an attitude we choose in life. We don’t get to choose our circumstances, and many times we can’t change our circumstances, but we can choose our response to those circumstances. That’s what an attitude is: it is our emotional and physical response to the circumstances of life. When troubling situations come into our lives, we must choose faith over worry.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Faith over Worry” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.