or soon you will have no time. No one can add a single hour to their lives by being anxious according to Matthew 6:27, and yet it comes naturally for many of us.
Why do we have such a hard time believing that worry has no merits? First of all, many of the things we worry about do not come to pass, which makes it seem like our worry is being rewarded, thus giving it credibility in our minds. We do not allow that these might be coincidences, (or God’s mercy) and yet the many small (and sometimes large) miracles we receive from God daily, we so easily put down as coincidences. This is trickery from the enemy; we are misplacing our faith.
Pride may be a factor as well. We want to play God’s role, and control everything. We think we can achieve this end through worry, though ironically if we were that powerful, we would never have to worry. It is amazing what we believe we are in control of, but Proverbs 16:9 says, “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ESV
Some may take a cynical view and condemn this idea as repressive, but I believe the opposite is true. When we look to the Lord for what He promised, instead of taking the task on ourselves, there is freedom on the other side, but if we choose to play the role of God, we will find ourselves wrapped in chains of anxiety, and worry.
Let’s circle back to the idea of misplacing our faith. That is a phrase that puts things gently, or may even be politically correct. There is a better term to describe this that cuts to the chase: idolatry. In the Old Testament, idolatry was something the Israelite fell into time and again. They had craftsmen make literal idols they paid homage to, sometimes by sacrificing their babies, and having orgies around it. When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the law and covenant of God, it took the Israelites less than 40 days to turn to idolatry, despite having seen mighty works by the hand of the living God. We can see, that idolatry had a strong draw.
The reasons were numerous, but at the heart of it was a strategy from the enemy to counterfeit the very core of the Israelites’ purpose. Their fundamental purpose as humans was to worship their Creator, so anything that would shift the focus of the Israelites off the living God, was a victory for the enemy of God, even if it simply meant bowing to an inanimate object with less power than those worshiping it.
Where does that leave us, centuries later? Idolatry is not dead, and our purpose has not changed. As our worship has turned from the temple, to worshiping in spirit, and in truth, our idolatry has turned from the material to the abstract. There are still forms of Old Testament style idolatry taking place today, but by and large we live in an age where everything is far subtler and more nuanced. This includes idolatry. Everything that misplaces our faith, including worry, is an idol.
What is the solution? Listening to Bob Marley’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” while puffing on a joint is not an adequate fix. Neither is yoga, prescription pills, or any number of other solutions our secular culture would give you. Many things will cover the symptoms, but we are not looking for that. Instead, let’s look at what the people of Israel did when they returned to the Living God. They devoted their idols to complete destruction in repentance and sorrow. So let’s imitate them by casting down the idol of worry, which is faith in self. In doing so, and placing our burdens in the hands of the Father, we can find freedom in His strength and ability to provide for our every need, in Jesus’ name.
For the unbeliever this means beginning with the burden of finding eternal life, which can only be found by faith in Jesus, and the work He did for us in His death and resurrection. For a believer, it means reminding ourselves daily that our lives are no longer ours but belong to the One who purchased us at a price. To Him we can trust our daily burdens, from the minute to the colossal.