Take 5 (Feb 27 – Mar 3, 2017)

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Chad Cowan • Pastor of Care Ministries

Worry: The Christian Drug of Choice
With a failing economy and the worst drug epidemic in the nation, times are tough in WV. The temptation is to take a hit from the only socially acceptable drug: worry. While the alcoholic may say, “I need another drink,” worriers often say, “I need another think.” It turns out, God has much to say on this subject. The most frequent command in the New Testament is not to be holy or to love one another, but to not worry. This week, we’ll look at 5 passages that address the issue of worry.

MONDAY: An Unwanted Load

Matthew 11:28-30

I hated carrying sod. I briefly worked for a landscaper, and during that time, I learned that sod was much prettier to look at than to carry. It was awkward and made my back ache; I concluded that human beings were just not meant to carry sod.

Like that sod, many of us carry unnecessary burdens in this life–burdens that we were just not designed to bear. Christ commands His audience in Matthew 11 to Come…and…rest, and to Take [His] yoke..and learn. In doing so, you’ll find rest. Let’s shed that horrid load that God does not intend for us to bear. Past mistakes, guilt, shame–drop them, and put on Christ’s yoke, so that we can learn from Him.

What loads are you carrying that the Lord does not intend?

TUESDAY: Don’t Misplace Your Faith

Matthew 6:25-27

Yes, things look bleak–church attendance isn’t going up nationally, and our country is becoming increasingly secular. So does God expect me not to worry? Well, evidently, the answer  is “yes.”

A verse that we’ve probably all seen a thousand times, yet never loses its relevance, speaks to this very idea. We see in Matthew 6:34: So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Do we need to prepare? Sure, as our resources allow, but not to the point of worry. I like how Trevin Wax says it: “Seeking first the kingdom comes after we have been sought by the King. The root cause of worry is not misplaced priorities. It’s misplaced faith. It’s a failure to grasp the gospel of a God worthy of our trust.”

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

WEDNESDAY: Isn’t There Something I Should Worry About?

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about some things?” No, wait, what about “Do not be anxious about anything (except maybe kids, finances and your doctor’s diagnosis…).” Hmmm. Not right either. Yes, you read it right there in the Book of Philippians. Do not be anxious about anything. Period. Easy to say, right? The alternative that we’re given to worrying is to pray about whatever the issue may be. Think about it. How many times have you fretted and worried over something that never happens, over an “internet diagnosis” that was completely wrong, or over a child that turned out to be okay? God gives us permission to give our problems to Him, and He knows us better than anyone.

What are you worried about right now? God commands you to give it to Him!

THURSDAY: A Better Option

Hebrews 13:5-6

Facebook is a blessing and a curse. What I’ve found is that if you look hard enough, you’ll always find someone who has more than you–a bigger house, a nicer car, etc. It’s very easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, and comparing yourself to others always leads to bad conclusions.

Instead, the author of Hebrews says to be content with what you have because God is enough. Are you caught up in what others have? Do you catch yourself being upset at someone who is younger, but seems to have accomplished more? Try making the pursuit of God the object of your affections, and let your desire to know Him more replace your unmet wants.

How can you grow closer to God today?

FRIDAY: Wasting Your Energy

Luke 12:22-31

Weight gain, acne, hair loss, if you’ve ever wondered what you gain from worry, it’s nothing good. A cursory internet search reveals that not only is there no benefit, there are actually many negative health impacts.

Knowing that His disciples would face difficult times and opposition, Christ explains that you cannot add one day to your lifespan by worrying, but you can actually subtract from them. Have you ever considered that man is God’s only creature that has a care in the world about the future? Ravens don’t store up food, lilies don’t sweat about how they’ll grow if there’s not enough rain. If God cares infinitely more for us, then why should we worry?

Take a walk outside, or look at a starry night. God cares more for us than any other part of His creation.