Jesus says: You love to worry

If Jesus ever had anything to say to us in America today, I think He would talk to us about worry.  Worry is something we excel at as Americans. 

We worry about our children.  We worry about our finances.  We worry about which political parties will get elected into office.  We worry about our constitutional rights being trampled on.  We worry about global warming.  We worry about radical Isalmic terrorism (and actively contemplate shooting a bunch of them dead). 

We worry so much and so often, I believe Jesus would tell us that we are a people who love to worry.  Otherwise, why would we worry as much as we do unless we love to do it so much? 

Worrying may feel like something of an involuntary action.  We feel like we can't help but worry.  It's just something mothers can't help but do, right? 

But Jesus is of another opinion on the matter. 

Worry is a choice.  Worry is something you voluntarily choose to do.  Worry gives us the illusion of control.  Worry invites us to play out little war games in our head as an attempt to solve our problems and to take control over our destinies.

Jesus says such is a losing battle.  Instead of attempting to war game our way through life, Jesus teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  ~ (Matthew 6:34; NASB)
Jesus commands us not to worry.  "Not worrying" is something we can and must actively do in our life and mind.  And by not worrying, we open up the opportunity in our lives to actively watch God work in our daily life, as we trust Him to put food in our stomach, pay our bills, and put clothes on our back. 

Jesus says that when we worry, our imagination is fundamentally no different than that of the pagan idolator, who deifies inanimate objects and sees imaginary forces as the root cause of all his ills.  And like the idolator, we think if we can but appease all these things and forces, with a little luck, we might just see things work out in our favor.  As a result, we start putting our trust in things other than the Lord to rescue us from all of our problems. 

Now, in saying all of this, I'm not dismissing the reality of the problems we face on a day-to-day basis.  Yes, absolutely, there are problems that we face that are very much real.  Jesus never dismisses the harsh reality of the world we live in.  We are in need of food, drink, clothing, shelter, and protection. 

But instead of war gaming our way through life and attempting to mitigate all of our risks, Jesus encourages us to stop fighting losing battles in our minds, and to transform all of our worries into thoughts and prayers that we take to God.

At the end of the day, when you really think about it, worry is all about worship. 

We will either deify the objects and forces in our imaginations, and go the way of the idolator, or we will find ourselves taking everything in our lives to our Heavenly Father, who knows what we need, and promises to meet us in the midst of our need.

It is no wonder that Jesus ended His teaching on worry in the Sermon on the Mount with an exhortation to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)  

For it is only in seeking first the kingdom of God and turning away from the idolatry of worry that we will overcome the fears and doubts about the future that plagues our minds.  Worship allows us to encounter the Great I Am in the trouble of every moment as we live out our lives in this world.

For only by turning to God will we avoid the trap of worrying like an idolator, and trying to solve our problems and the problems of this world exactly like an idolator would.  And instead of implementing paganized solutions in our world and the world around us, maybe our imaginations would dream up solutions that are in keeping with the teachings of Jesus and the reality of the kingdom of God. 

And in a world currently plagued by the worries associated with things like Islamic terrorism, I can't help but feel the church could dream up better solutions than doing things like bombing Muslims to hell and arming students at places like Liberty University with guns.  Such solutions seem birthed out of worry instead of solutions birthed out of actively trusting God to intervene in our daily affairs.

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