WINNING OVER WORRY, THE SECRET TO LASTING PEACE

Read the newspaper, watch the news, listen to the radio … or browse the Internet … and you will discover plenty of things to worry about.

Add to that the constant barrage of worries coming at you from every direction within your own home (your children’s well-being, that unexpected doctor’s report, bills you just can’t pay, tax season fast approaching) … WHEW! There are a lot of things to worry about.

The Bible is clear: you are going to have problems at your job, in your family, with your finances, in your church, and with your health. You can bank on it! Being a Christian does not exempt you from problems. Jesus was up-front with His disciples about the trials they would encounter, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33, NASB).

I love the way the apostle Peter said it, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). Problems are the price we pay for living in this world. Whenever conflict arises in your life, whether within yourself, with other people, or as the result of adverse circumstances, you have a choice to make. You can respond with worry or anger, or you can allow the peace of Christ to have the final say in your life.

I believe that worry is one of Satan’s favorite tools to use against a Christian. The word “worry” comes from an Old English word which means “to strangle.” Perfect definition, right? That is exactly what worry does — it strangles us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. The late Corrie ten Boom once observed, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” There is good news and that’s what I want to talk to you about today. Jesus wants you to experience victory over life’s problems. He wants you to let go of the anxiety and the worry that is consuming your heart and mind. Remember what Christ proved on the cross and through the empty tomb: “Take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, He gifted you with a supernatural peace of mind that allows you to cope with life’s uncertainties (John 14:27). But wait — here’s the possible “glitch”— peace is not only a gift, it is a command. Jesus gives you peace. But YOU must apply it to your life. The only way to experience the supernatural gift of peace is to make a conscious decision to allow peace, instead of fear, to rule in your heart.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s stop for a moment and take a pop quiz. How would you respond to the news that …

  • Your retirement account has been wiped out through a bad investment?
  • Your home has been lost in a fire?
  • You have been fired because of a false allegation by a fellow employee?
  • Your spouse has been killed in a car accident?

Obviously, no one would welcome such devastating and life-altering news. But could you honestly say that God’s gift of peace would govern your life (“rule your heart” as Colossians 3:15 commands) as you journeyed through the shadow of such adverse circumstances?

I can hear you now, “Easier said than done!” So how can you do that? How do you experience the peace of Christ in every area of your life, regardless of what’s going on around you?

If you want a firsthand account of someone who allowed the peace of Christ to rule in his heart in spite of adversity, read Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul was imprisoned, possibly facing death, but he refused to allow his circumstances to rob him of joy.

What was Paul’s secret for experiencing the peace of Christ? He gave two powerful antidotes to worry: the first is prayer. “Be anxious for nothing,” the Bible tells us, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

The second powerful antidote to fear? Meditation on God’s Word (please see Philippians 4:8-9). There is something about meditation on God’s Word that allows peace to rule our lives. It’s not hard to understand why. In many ways, the Bible is simply a record of God’s faithfulness to His people. Just as God has been faithful to those who have obeyed Him in the past, He promises to do the same for you today.