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Pilgrim reflections | The silent stealer and killer

It lives in your home and in mine. It accompanies you to work. It goes to bed with you at night (if you let it). And, it does its job well, robbing us of our joy and peace-of-mind while contributing to many of our health problems.

What is this deceptive, disruptive, deadly destroyer?

It’s worry.

You know, getting stressed or freaked out over something before or after it happens. Its causes are many, but thankfully there are some ways to successfully deal with it—which is the purpose of this four-week series on “Worry—Its Causes and Cure.”

An Anglo-Saxon word, the basic meaning of “worry” is “to choke or strangle.” Thus, when you’re getting anxious over something you quite often will notice a tightening in your chest, neck and jaw. That inward uptightness often leads to an unconscious, physical tightness of the muscles in those areas, as well as an elevation in one’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And, continual stress can lead to other physical problems like ulcers, acid indigestion, diminished immune system, etc.

That’s why it’s important for us to know its causes and cure (antidote).

There are a lot of reasons we worry: Family problems. Financial problems. Physical problems. The future (unknowns). We worry about what we’re going to wear, eat, how we look and what other people think. And, as someone once said, we know worry doesn’t change anything (except us) — for it’s like rocking in a rocking chair; we’re expending lots of energy but going nowhere.

Truly, we worry about the past, knowing we can’t change it. We worry about the future, knowing we can’t control it. And, all of these combine to rob us of our peace-of-mind and inward joy today.

So, how can we quit worrying and enjoy God’s incomparable, indescribable Peace? (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7)

The next three weeks we’re going to take a look at Matthew 6:19-34, which is a part of what’s known as Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” In those verses you’ll find what He has to say about “heart-treasures” and the importance of laying up Heavenly ones, not earthly ones (vv.19-21). He also had quite a bit to say about singularity of focus (vv.22-24, 33) and simplicity of Faith/trust (vv.25-32). And, He ends that section by reminding us to not “borrow trouble from tomorrow—for you’ve got enough to deal with today” (v.34).

Yes, Jesus knew well our propensity for worry. He knew how easily doubts and fears can enter our mind, causing us to worry over things that will never happen—or those things over which we have no control (e.g., the unrest in the Middle East, the economy, global warming, etc.)

So often we’re like the guy who fell overboard from his boat traveling down the Mississippi River. When he hit the water he disappeared from sight. A few seconds later he resurfaced, crying “Help me! Help me!” as he once again sank beneath the water.

After three or four times of this, he finally screamed “Someone’s got to help me and help me right now! I can’t hold this anvil much longer!!”

Quite a humorous anecdote, isn’t it?

But, in reality, it describes what’s happening when we’re hanging onto worry. It distorts our thinking and robs us of hope, which leads to despair.

Here’s hoping you’ll spend a few minutes this week reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-34 and then tune in again next week as we look more closely at “Worry — Its Causes and Cure.” God bless you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, “Morning Manna,” send a letter to P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail pressingon@hotmail.com.

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