Is Worry an Idol?

Worrying is something that comes natural to us all.  As parents, we worry about our children.  As employees, we worry about job security.  Lack of financial stability brings worry.  Marital issues give birth to worry.  In general, potential lack in any area brings worry.

Is it possible for worry to become an idol in our lives? My answer to this question is yes!  Anything that comes before God is an idol.  I can make an idol out of anyone or anything, but worry becomes an idol when it becomes exalted to a position of obsession.

What Does the Bible Say?

worry 1God’s word has a few things to say about worry.  Jesus spoke of worry at least twice during his time on the earth.  In Matthew 6:25-33, He addressed our concern with having our needs met.  Jesus told those around Him to avoid worrying about what they would eat, drink, or wear.  He went on to say that our heavenly Father knows we have need of those things.  In verse 33, Jesus exhorted those listening to seek God’s kingdom first and His righteousness, then all other necessary things would be added to them.

If you back up and read verse 24, Jesus stated that no one could serve to masters.  One would serve either God or money.  I find it interesting that Jesus discusses money right before He says not to worry.  He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knew that money is an issue for many people.  It takes money to have food, clothing, and other necessities.  However, seeking God above all else will result in everything else falling into place.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes that believers should be anxious for nothing.  In other words, rather than worry, we should commit everything to prayer.  He further states that by presenting our requests to God, we would be allowing God to guard our hearts and minds.  Worry begins in the mind, then, proceeds to the heart.  These areas must be guarded in prayer.

Another Area of Worry

Jesus addressed another source of concern for believers.  Of course, at that time, He was directly addressing His disciples. Now, we can apply His sayings to our own lives.  The source of worry that He addressed was worry over what His disciples would say to their persecutors when handed over to them.

In Matthew 10:19, Jesus stated for His disciples not to worry about how they would answer government officials when arrested.  Jesus gave assurance that He would give them the words they would need to speak.

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Although we might not be persecuted as the disciples were, this type of worry can consume us.  For example, if I have to confront someone (this should always be done with much prayer, fasting, and humility), I often rehearse what I am going to say, and I have even planned what I would say if the person responded in certain ways.  When we have to confront issues, it is best to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our words.  If we have to face someone who is belittling us, we must trust God to give us the words to say, or, trust Him if He tells us to say nothing.  He knows what is best.

The Fruit of Worry

Has any good thing ever come from spending time worrying about various matters?  Someone once said that worry is like a rocking chair.  It will take you back and forth but get you nowhere. I have found this to be true in my own life.  When worry surfaces, prayer should be the result.  Once the matter has been committed to God, thank Him for what He is going to do about the situation.

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In Exodus 4, Moses worried about what he would say to Pharaoh.  God assured Moses that He would be with Him.  In Genesis 16, Sarai worried that she would not have although God had promised that she would.  Worry resulted in Sarai taking matters into her own hands and giving her maid, Hagar, to Abram as a secondary wife so they could have children through her.  This was a custom that took place in the East during that time period, but it was not God’s will.  As a result, Abram and Sarai had to deal with the consequences of their actions.

What has you worried?  A child?  A job? An enemy?  A spouse?  Even if the source of your concern is your ministry or church, God has the answer.  Do as the word says, and by prayer and supplication make your request to God.  Allow His peace to guard your heart and mind.  It is not easy if you are addicted to worry, but it is the only way to tear that idol down.

Why do we think we can take better care of issues than God?  We might never make such a statement verbally, but when we worry excessively, refusing to give our concerns to God, we make an idol of our worries and think they are best left in our own hands.  Do not be deceived.  Give your cares to the Lord and let Him give you perfect peace.

 

Pursue Holiness

What is true holiness?

In Hebrews 12:14, we are told to pursue holiness.  How does one pursue that lifestyle?  Of what does holiness truly consist?  Although much of the Christian teaching we hear would have us to believe that holiness is what we say, what we do, and how we behave, holiness is so much more!

Where is my righteousness?

During my experience as a Bible teacher, I have heard people make the following statement: “I would love to give my life to Jesus Christ, but there is no way I could live it.”  My reply is always this: “You are right.  You can’t.”  I have received some priceless facial expressions with this reply, but the fact is, I am right.  In myself, I am completely unable to live the Christian life as the Bible commands, and so are you.No Confidence in the Flesh

What is a person to do?  Should you just give up and sin recklessly because you are unable to live the life the Bible instructs you to live?  No, not at all.  It is at this point that you should look and see the source of your righteousness—Jesus Christ!

Christ in me!

Galatians 2:20 (MEV) contains an important truth about pursuing holiness.  It states the following: “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  What happens when I come to Christ?  My sinful nature dies, and I come alive to a new nature—Christ in me.  He is the one who makes me righteous.  It is impossible for me to make myself righteous, and that is why many Christians are in such religious bondage–from pursuing righteousness by their own merits.

No Confidence in the Flesh 2If you are in Christ, you will walk free from sin, but it will not be of your own goodness.  It will be Christ in you (see Romans 6).  If you or I were capable of living without sin on our own, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to leave heaven and come to Earth to live and die, then, live again.  We were hopelessly enslaved to the power of sin, but God gave us Jesus.  He is our righteousness.  He is holiness.

Pursue Christ!

Since Jesus Christ is my righteous, my holiness, then to pursue holiness as Hebrews 12:14 says is to pursue Christ!  Go after Him!  You will not have to go far.  He is waiting on you to draw near.  Because of the cross, you can approach Him with confidence.  He is in you if you have accepted Him as Savior.  If you haven’t accepted Him, there is no time like the present.

What good is it to try to pursue self-righteousness?  No good!  Self-righteousness is a pathetic attempt to glorify you.  The righteousness of Christ glorifies God, the Father.

If you pursue Christ, you let go of yourself and allow Him to live through you.  As a result, your life will display the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  The life you live will be a result of Christ in you, and nothing of your nature! Amazing Grace is More than Enough for me!

 

Pursue Christ Himself!  Seek Him.  Love Him.  He will change you, completely transform you.  You will never be the same.  You will lose your self-righteous attitude because you will clearly see that your righteousness in Jesus Christ!

 

No Confidence in the Flesh

Once we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it seems that we should realize we have no righteousness in ourselves.  Deep down, we know, but our human nature tends to push the correct knowledge somewhere in the mind where we are not confronted with the facts.  Although we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we begin to think that we are responsible for our own righteousness, conveniently overlooking the fact that we are saved by grace through faith.

Paul’s Confidence

No Confidence in the FleshIn Philippians 3, Paul discusses the subject in great detail.  In verse 3, Paul states that he puts no confidence in the flesh as many Jews of his day did.  Insisting that new converts to Christ follow the Jewish law was a popular trend in Paul’s day.  Although popular among some Jewish people, it was controversial, and it was not biblical.

Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a Pharisee of Pharisees. He followed the law to the letter.  He crossed all his t’s and dotted all his i’s, so to speak, before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Although he had great credentials, Paul acknowledged that his greatness was nothing compared to the greatness of Christ.

Our Confidence

Romans 3:23 clearly states that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Why is it that when we begin to gain victory over sin in our lives, which, by the way, only comes through Jesus, that we begin to get pride, a sin within itself?  Any accomplishments we make spiritually are only because of the grace of God poured out on us.  The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and helps us.

My confidence cannot be in my good works.  No matter how many good deeds I do, they will neither make atonement for my sin nor allow me entrance into heaven.  If that were the case, Jesus would not have come to be the sacrificial lamb for our sins.  The good I do should be a result of my love for Jesus, not a pathetic self-righteousness.

Confidence in Christ

I clearly believe that we can be confident in who we are in Christ, but we also must have a realization of who we are without Christ.  This will keep the balance.  We will have godly confidence without self-righteousness.  We can be confident of who we are in Christ, who we are because of his death and resurrection.  Our confidence should not be in our works which represent a false ability to save ourselves.No Confidence in the Flesh 2

Just as the religious leaders of Paul’s day thought that being circumcised along with following the letter of the law made them righteous, we often think that we are righteous because we do good deeds.   No, our confidence is not in our flesh, but in who Jesus is through us.  We should not be doing good works to be righteous.  We will do good works as a result of the change that has been made inside of us because of Jesus Christ.  Anything else is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

 

What about you?  Where is your confidence?  Place your confidence in Christ, rather than yourself.  The righteousness of Christ is one that does not fail.

Mercy Seat

I don’t know about you, but I need God’s mercy every day.  For the past week, I have been reading in the book of Hebrews.  Throughout several chapters, the Old Testament priesthood is compared with the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  I will share with you some portions of what I read.

Behind the Veil

In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was located inside the most holy place of the temple behind a veil, or curtain.  No one could enter certain places of the temple except for the priests.  The priests, who were from the tribe of Levi, made sacrifices and atonement for the peoples’ sins.

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The mercy seat was surrounded by cherubim.  In Hebrews 9:5, the writer speaks of the glory overshadowing the mercy seat.  The writer goes on to say that he could not speak in detail of the things concerning the mercy seat and the holy place.  I find that statement compelling.  Of course, he was most likely referring to the magnificence of the tabernacle, yet, we can take his words to heart because it is often difficult to express the details of our gratitude to Jesus for what He accomplished at the cross.

The Veil Torn

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil to the most holy place was torn, not by human hands, but by the power of God.  Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, the complete atonement for our sins.  The veil was torn because we were no longer restricted from an intimate relationship with God, the Father.  People no longer had to go to a human priest to be absolved of sin.  After the cross, people could go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ.

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Unfortunately, it seems a veil is still up for some people.  It is not because God does not love them.  It is because they have not accepted Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as the atoning sacrifice for their sins and the only way to God, the Father.  Once you accept Jesus for who He is and follow Him wholeheartedly, you have direct access to the mercy seat.

Receive His Mercy

God’s mercy is available to everyone, but it requires a personal choice.  He forces nothing on you.  Each person must choose Jesus.  Each person must come running to the mercy seat, so to speak.

I know and love Jesus, but I still must come running to the mercy seat.  I need His mercy daily.  No, I do not intentionally sin, but I will fall short of His glory.  You will too.  That’s where mercy comes in.  Am I suggesting that you can be careless and reckless in your sin without consequence?  Certainly not!  However, I am suggesting that when you do surrender to Jesus, you will be changed forever, not perfect, but changed.  Then, you will be humbled by His wonderful mercy, and you will not take it for granted.

What about you?  Have you accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?  If not, you can do that now.