It’s two o’clock in the morning and nearly everything wrong with the world floods our minds. We worry about a pandemic, protests and politics. We worry about death tolls, disasters and division. We worry about our families, friendships, fellow-believers and finances. We’ll even worry about who’s going to water our plants or feed the dog when we’re away for a few days. We worry about nearly anything or anyone, and it can be overwhelming, even debilitating. Thankfully, unlike other maladies that might afflict us, there is a Bible cure for worry.
The English word “worry” comes from an old German word which means “to strangle” or “to choke.” Worry is an emotional chokehold on our lives. A biblical definition is found in the Sermon on the Mount, where the Lord Jesus repeatedly admonishes us not to worry (Mat 6:25-34 NET). In the middle of these admonitions, He charges those who worry as “people of little faith” (v30). Thus, worry is a lack of faith in God. To support this definition, Jesus says that when we worry, we act like “unbelievers” (v32 ISV). Therefore, if worry is a lack of faith in God, the cure must involve instilling faith.
The apostle Paul gives us four things we can do that will produce faith. The Bible cure for worry involves the right kind of reading. Paul says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17 NKJV). There is no substitute for regular Scripture reading. Hearing God speak through His Word will be a faith-building exercise as we learn of His ways, character, sovereignty and faithfulness to fulfill His promises. As we read God’s Word, we gain confidence that He is in control of all things and is able to work all that is happening in our lives for good. The right kind of reading establishes trust in the Lord and causes our worries to go into remission.
The Bible cure also involves the right kind of praying. Paul writes, “Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving” (Php 4:6 ISV). Rather than mulling over in our minds the many things that cause anxiety, bring them to the Lord and leave them with Him. Don’t miss Paul’s words “with thanksgiving.” When we thank God for answers to past prayers, we gain confidence that He will answer our present prayers.
The prescription also includes the right kind of thinking. Once we bring our minds’ worries to the Lord, replace them with worthy thoughts. Paul tells us to think about these things – whatever is true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or praiseworthy (v8 NET). Where these hold a place in our minds, there will be no room for worry.
Finally, Paul’s treatment plan includes having the right kind of example. He tells the Philippians to do those things they saw in him (v9). Surround yourself with people whose trust in the Lord is evident and imitate their faith (Heb 13:7).
The Bible cure for worry doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be asleep at two o’clock in the morning, but Paul tells us that when we do these things, the God of peace will be with us (Php 4:9). And I’ll take that no matter what time of the day (or night) it happens to be.