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Major Causes of Worry

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
–Isaiah 32:17

As I look through Scripture, and after forty years of talking to people who worry constantly, I’ve identified three major sources of anxiety in our lives.

The first cause of worry is a wrong value system. Most worry involves a fear of losing something important to us. It may be losing a person: a mate or a child through death or desertion or unfaithfulness. Some people are fearful of losing a position like a job and the prestige that goes along with it. Some people are fearful of losing a possession such as money or their health. Somebody has said the cause of worry is building your life around the temporal instead of the eternal. Whenever your affections are built around things that can be taken from you, a low-grade anxiety will consume your life.

A second cause of worry can be unconfessed sin. Whenever we are consistently and willfully disobeying God, the byproduct of that disobedience is anxiety. We may be afraid that our sin may be uncovered one day. That was certainly true of David. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then killed Bathsheba’s husband. For six months, he tried to hide his sin. In Psalm 32:3-4, he said, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Other times, our disobedient lifestyle produces the sense that God is going to punish us. We don’t know how He is going to do it, but we are fearful that disaster is going to come into our lives at any moment because of our disobedience. Conversely, righteous living produces a peace of mind. Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.”

Some of our worry is the direct result of satanic attack. In Ephesians 6, Paul described the spiritual armor that is available to every Christian to fight against Satan’s attacks. Paul said that our struggle in life is not against other people. We think our struggle is against our mate, or our children, or our employer, or somebody else. No, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, Paul said, but against the unseen forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Spiritual warfare demands spiritual weapons. In verse 16, Paul described “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” When you are under attack from Satan, hold up that shield of faith with which you can extinguish Satan’s flaming arrows. I think Satan has a number of flaming arrows he shoots into people’s lives. One of them is labeled “Greed.” Another one is labeled “Lust.” But I think among his favorite arrows is “Worry.” He loves to send that flaming arrow of worry. Whenever worry drives you away from God, you can know it is not coming from God; it is coming from the evil one.


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.


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