We tend to think that there are big sins and little sins. Murder, rape, and bank robbery are big sins. Anxiety, anger, and arrogance are little sins. They’re not. Sin is sin.
When I drive 38 miles-per-hour down a street that is posted as 35 miles-per-hour, I’m exceeding the speed limit. I’m just a little over. I’m not recklessly driving a hundred, swerving into oncoming traffic, but still, I’m breaking the law.
When I rebel against God’s faithfulness, when I fail to trust His goodness, when I fear and fret, when I worry that our All-Powerful God is incapable of meeting my needs, I’m sinning. Worrying is sinful. The eleventh commandment might be, “Thou shalt not worry!”
Jesus devoted a fair chunk of the Sermon on the Mount to the issue of anxiety. “Don’t worryabout your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).
Peter addressed the issue, beseeching the “elect exiles” (1 Peter 1:1, ESV) to cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7, ESV). That’s sounds easy. We just pile our worries onto the broad shoulders of our Savior and let Him carry the load.
Paul also preached about the futility of worry. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). Again, that sounds easy. Don’t worry. Just pray.
David sang, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you... In God I trust; I will not be afraid”(Psalm 56:3–4) and “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The Lordis the stronghold of my life—whom should I dread?” (Psalm 27:1).
The opposite of worry is faith. The antidote for anxiety is faith-filled, trusting prayer. When we’re tempted to stumble and fall into a mud-hole of worry, fret and fear, we must turn our attentions away from the troubles and temptation and focus our affections on God. His “grace is sufficient!” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.