Worry, Worry, Worry! The song of Worry is the song of too many Christians today. I’m afraid, I also, sing in the Chorus of Worry. The Chorus of Trust is inhabited by the birds of the air. They sing their chorus of praise every morning to the Heavenly Father who feeds them every day! As my cousin says, “We should follow the example of Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine. His motto was, ‘What me worry?’” Let us remember; the Narrow Gate leads to a difficult way of existence for all who enter in. Remember, these two facts.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV-Words of Jesus
Why does it trouble us if a difficulty hits us in the narrow way? Why are we irked if a disease overtakes us in life? How mean we become to someone who is in a difficult straight. How non-compassionate we are to those who can’t find healing in prayer. Why, we say, “They don’t have faith!” Have we ever heard these statements before? Have you told someone this?
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NKJV
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 NKJV
My fellow Christians, it is easy not to worry when the sky is blue all around you. However, what are we like when we are in the Job crucible? Will we fall into angst, worry and blasphemy to the God who saves you? What will we be like, if the affliction of cancer or mental illness or poverty hits you or a fellow righteous one? We need to stop thinking nothing will ever happen to us but flowered beds of roses. Yes, who doesn’t want this, and we should seek it also. However, God is sovereign and wants to show us our true colors in the difficulties along the narrow way. The selfish Christianity of “No Problems for Me,” is a one-degree view of the ways of God. We must open our hearts to a three hundred sixty-degree Scriptural understanding of the Word. The Apostle Paul was fully 360 degrees as a Christian. Listen to his testimony.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NKJV
These are mighty words from an Apostle who was not a one verse Christian but a 31,102 verse Christian! The birds of the air have a better sense of faith and trust than many of us. They must face the same earthly problems we do, famine, droughts, storms, and diseases. However, the fowl of the air, neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns! The birds know the Heavenly Father will feed them through all. Birds know how to be real. Many believers do not! The Scripture is not subject to any private interpretation!
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation!” 2 Peter 1:20 NKJV
One verse Christianity leads to great worry. As the walls of your one verse theology crumble, so will all crumble on the difficult way to eternal life in Christ. Many of us have faced the one-verse dogmas in some way or another. What a battle it is to be set free from it. Oh, the agony and worry this one-verse brings to you as you seek the other 31,101 verses. We need to take this into account, from the mouth of Christ.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV
In my early stages of following Christ, I had to overcome a few one-verse theologies and false picture Christianity. As any good Christian would do, we subscribed to Christian magazines and such. As we received issue after issue, my wife and I began to be filled with anxiety and worry. In many subtle ways, the magazines were bringing a picture of Christian perfection. The pictures of men were images of handsome flawless men. The images of women were of perfection with everything under control; their looks, clothing, houses, and children, all in perfect order. The pictures spoke a thousand words, telling us something was wrong in Christian Ville for us. Many of the articles expressed a delusion of Christian life of perfection. Wow! This made us feel like crap! We must be sinning badly for our household, not measuring up to the magazine’s standard of Christianity. Relief came to us when we obeyed the Lord. We canceled every magazine and threw out the ones we had. The vision of 31,102 verses was beginning to come into our life. We lost the worry of imperfection in our lives. As I later expressed this to a friend, who was shocked at my statement, “I have stopped trying to be a Christian, I am a Christian!” Yes, here I am, a wart and all Christian, working out 31,102 verse salvation to eternal life in Christ. The birds of the air are smarter than me. It is funny how false Christian perfection creeps into life. When the truth is Christ makes us perfect.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
Without sounding like Mr. Doom and Gloom, the point is Christianity is a very intricate, dynamic, fascinating and sometimes fearful walk. However, the call of Jesus, is for us not to worry about our lives. He didn’t say, Christians will have stress-free lives. He said don’t add worry on top of everything. There are many ups and downs, joys and sorrows along the narrow way. I believe Jesus suffered and died for us. God is looking for His people to be authentic and real, just like Jesus. Maybe, we must sweat great drops of blood like Jesus, to go through the Father’s will. Lately, there has been a small epidemic of high esteem Christians walking away from Christ. I don’t know the reasoning in their mind to do such a thing. However, from personal experience and coming close myself, I dare to speculate; their image of God and Christianity was warped. As soon as the rug was pulled out from under their feet, they had nothing to hold on to. Worry, overwhelmingly, crashed down and disappointment in God came rushing in. The God they imagined was not the real God. Therefore, no answer to prayer comes, and they leave the faith. Do you notice how the birds of the air always seem to disappear when storms come? They take cover and ride it out. Afterward, they are seen and heard again, getting ready to eat the feed from the Heavenly Father. They don’t fly away from God.
Once at work, In the early 1980s, I passed a fellow Christian in the hall. She was very sullen. I said to her, “Don’t be so sad, you’re not in a communist gulag!” She gave me the evil eye. Worry was all over her face. The next day, she stopped by the pharmacy and said to me, “I went home and thought about what you said, and yes, I’m not in a gulag; I’m free, thank the Lord.” Christian joy was all over her. Her problems were still there, but now she was flying like a bird of the air. She remembered; God was still in control and with her. A realistic understanding brought her out of despair in a difficult moment.
The problems are real in our life, but the problem solver is greater. It is hard for me to bring up the past. About thirty years ago, the rug was pulled out from under our feet. The fall seemed like we were in a bottomless pit. Two or three years passed with no answer to prayer for our problem. One night on an exercise walk, my wife and I were complaining to God about the situation. I foolishly yelled to God, “How long must we wait!” The answer came immediately. We both heard it. In a voice matching my own anger, God said, “You can wait a long time!” The narrow way from that moment really became a very difficult path. I won’t be boring with the details. The last thirty years were far from fun. I became envious of the birds. It seemed God cared more for them than me. Learning the 31,102 verse Christianity was a big parental discipline to us. Through much pain, sorrow and suffering God always taught us His ways. One by one, God is tearing down one verse doctrines of faith. He wants us to see like Paul in 360 degrees. Therefore, we wait on God, and it is a long wait.
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
We wait to become like the birds of the air. We are waiting to fly high above the narrow way. I have learned worrying doesn’t solve one problem. The trusting faith brings us through all our difficulties.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV
Friends, we are in this together! Let us exhort each other in compassions of understanding to trust God, no matter how long or deep our trials are. You are walking on holy ground.
Let me give one final warning about one-verse Christianity. This Christianity fails to recognize the great spiritual battle with the adversary the devil or blames every ill on the devil. Some Christians, even think the devil is undefeatable, the 31,102 verse Christian knows better. He understands; we are in a battle. Nevertheless, he comprehends, the greater One, lives in them!
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
In conclusion: Christians, live a real Christian existence, in all the difficulties of the narrow way! Get rid of the grumble-worry and replace it with praise and thanksgiving, to the Father, who spared not His Son for us!
|New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.|
Guy Calandra – Author – The Inside Word – Available at Online Retailers