Jack Graham - Trusting God
Matthew chapter 6, begin finding it, Matthew chapter 6. And in the heart of this message Jesus talked about a very important subject, and that is overcome our fears and worries and anxieties, a toxic trinity: fear, worry, anxiety, a toxic trinity. But when you are trusting in God, you're not overwhelmed or overcome by these enemies but you are able to overcome! And Jesus tells us how we win over worry and face our fears down. Verse 25: "Therefore I tell you". This is a command! It's good spiritual counsel, but it's also a biblical command.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is today alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious", three times He says it! Don't be anxious, don't be anxious, do not worry! "'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But", and here's a key verse in Scripture, "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you".
What things? All the things we need in life whether you're talking about your health, your wealth, your family, your future, your body, your soul. God says trust Me in all of this! Simple words! Trust in God. Jesus looked at His disciples one day and exclaimed "Have faith in God"! Trust God! Now I need to be clear that when Jesus says take no thought or do not be concerned about your life, He's not suggesting that we not care about life or have concerns about what is important, whether it be our careers or our health. He's not encouraging laziness here or not to care about thing that matter. But he is saying in all of these cares and concerns that we have in life, things that are necessary and important in our life never worry! No fear! Because worry doesn't work! It is unnecessary, it is useless and it's ungodly. Yes, I say ungodly because Jesus said, "Oh you of little faith"! If you are living in fear, you're not living in faith. "Oh you of little faith".
The Bible says whatever is not of faith is what? Sin! So this is not just a little weakness or something chronic or something you're worrying grandmother passed on to you. Worrying, chronic worry and fear and anxiety can consume our lives if we allow it, and rob us of our joy and our peace and make us absolutely miserable. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7: "God has not given us a spirit of fear". We are not to be controlled by fear because fear will paralyze you and neutralize you. Jesus said, "Therefore, don't live in fear any day, but every single day live your life trusting in Me". He said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil of each day".
Now worry is such a waste! It's such a waste of time. It's as though you're in your car, putting it in neutral and revving the engine, and you know what happens when you do that, right? You're just wasting fuel and you're stressing the motor and you're going nowhere. That's what worry does! It does nothing! It wastes energy, it stresses you, going nowhere! Physically, psychologically, emotionally. In fact, the word for worry in the Anglo-Saxon, the old English language is wurgen, which is a word which means strangulation. Worry, anxiety is emotional strangulation. It will paralyze you and keep you from achieving God's best in your life. And yet fear has so gripped the world. This is a scary world. We have terrorists. People are afraid about the economy. Sort of hunkering down and waiting for the next recession. The problems with healthcare in our country. Of course, politics. Violence is rising. Unemployment, increasing crime, diseases, now we have to be concerned about the Zika Virus.
There's always something, right? It's a scary world. And many of us face personal fears and worries. And some of these, of course, are very irrational. In fact most of these are irrational. I read one study which indicated that over 90 percent of the worries, the things we worry about, either don't ever happen, or they are things we can't control. There's an old poem that says, "For every problem under the sun there's either a solution or there is none. If there be one, seek till you find it; if there be none, never mind it". It's amazing! How irrational is it for us to worry about things that we either can't control, can't fix, can't change or the things most of which never even happen?
I heard about a couple, they were sleeping upstairs in the bedroom and they heard something in the kitchen, awakened both of them. The wife was afraid. She'd been afraid all these years that someone was going to break into the house, and now it seemed like it was happening. So the husband went downstairs to confront whatever was going on with a lot of fear and trembling. And sure enough there was a burglar in the house. And the husband walked up to the burglar and said, "Sir, I'm glad to meet you. But I want to take you upstairs to meet my wife. She's been looking for you for forty years"!
It's sort of like Thomas Carlisle who was complaining about his neighbor's rooster that was crowing at night, and he was so upset about this rooster, and so he finally complained to his neighbor and the neighbor responded by saying, but the rooster only crows maybe two, three times a night, and Carlisle responded, "But if you only know how I suffer, waiting for him to crow"! That's worry! But beyond just the emotional strangulation and the physical problems, and yes, doctors tell us that all kinds of physical ailments are related to stress and worry and anxiety, including heart problems, indigestion problems, and even arthritis. And you can just take a list of physical problems. And doctors will tell you, physicians will tell you that most of the problems, the physical illnesses they face are at root from worry and anxiety and fear, or anger. The most toxic emotions that strangle us; that tear us apart.
James said, "A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways"! But not just physically destructive and emotionally damaging, but spiritually destructive! That's why Jesus said don't do it because it demonstrates that you are not trusting in God! Listen to me, church! Worry is an insult to God! I define worry as assuming responsibility that God never intended for us to have. When we worry, when we fret, when we are fearful, we're saying something like this, "God, I think this could be too big for You! I need to either handle it myself or at least I can worry about it. Why pray when I can worry"? It's an insult to God! Oswald Chambers the great devotional writer called it infidelity to God!
Now I don't think you would want somebody to call you an infidel but Chambers says worry is infidelity to God! He said, "All our worry is caused by calculating without God"! Max Lucado, great writer, has a quote about worry and fear that I brought to you. Let's put it on the screen. He says, "Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty or cured a diseased. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or business. Courage did that! Faith did that! People who refuse to consult or cower to their timidities did that! But fear itself, fear herds us into a prison and slams the door"! Fear! Spiritually, emotionally, physically. Do not fear! Do you see why I mention that this not only great spiritual counsel and psychological counsel, but it is God's command. It's a biblical command.
Our friend, Zig Ziglar said this about fear - F-E-A-R: False Evidence Appearing Real. We live with this tension between what is possibilities and reality. What is real and what is possible! Or we project "what if" and "how could this happen"? And fear, you know, Charles Mayo, the great doctor founded the Mayo Clinic, he said, "You can worry yourself to death, but you can't worry yourself to a longer life". Exactly what Jesus said. We just read it! He said, "You worry about whether or not God is going to take care of you, if you can pay your bills, if your financing is going to hold out, if your career", He said, "God takes care of the birds, and don't you know if God takes care of the birds, He's going to take care of believers"! And then He said, "Don't worry about what you wear, your clothing, but trust God for your provision".
Remember, Jesus was talking to people in that day who were down to the very bottom, the bottom of the economic span of people. He was speaking to Jewish people who were under the tyranny of Rome, and the oppression of Rome. They were mistreated and beaten. They didn't have enough food. Many of them, most people died very young in that era. And so they were facing death and their children were dying, and there were heavy taxes among the Jewish people. And so he's talking to people who had a lot to worry about who lived in a very scary world! So don't put this off as, "Well, you know, that was then, this is now. I've got a lot of real things to worry about"!
Every generation has things to worry about! And here's the interesting thing, God knows that we're going to be tempted to worry, that there will be some scary things that we have to confront in life. And I admit there are times when I have been afraid and when I have worried about things unnecessarily. But the psalmist said, "When I am afraid", God knew that there would be times we are afraid. But He said, "When I am afraid, I will trust in God". So we don't allow our fears, our anxieties, our worries to become chronic, or to control us. And the antidote to anxiety is faith in God, trust in God. Don't be a worrier, be a worshipper. Be a prayer warrior. More about that in just a minute. But whatever you're facing: fear, failure, death, career problems, family problems, problem with your children, those things that we tend to worry about.
I would never tell you that there won't be problems in life. I would never tell anybody, "Come to Jesus and all your problems will be done". It's just not true. In fact God may choose to send us into storms and we've seen that before, or allow tribulations and trials in this world. He said, "In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world". Trust God. You know some people are so afraid and so neutralized by their fears that they can't even utilize their spiritual gifts in serving God. Jesus told a parable about this. He talked about a master, wealthy man who was going away to a country and so he brought his servants together and he said, "I want you to take care of my property and I'm going to give you an investment". To one servant he gave five talents.
Remember this story in Matthew chapter 25? "...five talents. To another servant he gave two talents, and to another servant, one talent, based on their ability", Jesus said. So the master went away, and while he was away, the man that had been given five talents invested it, worked hard and he reproduced five more talents. He doubled the investment. Same thing with the man with two talents. He worked hard, he invested it and it gained two more talents. But the man who was given one talent, he buried his talent in the ground. Put it in a hole and covered it up! So when the master returned from the long trip and he called his servants together to ask, "What did you do with my investment", each one reported. The five, he now had ten; the two, he now had four; and the one, he had only one. He said to the wise investors, the good investors, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful in that which was a little. You're going to be faithful in that which is much".
Investment, the principle of investment. But to the one who had buried his talent, he said, "Why on earth? What have you done"? And he called him "a wicked and slothful servant". That's a word we should bring back into our vocabulary. Slothful! It even sounds bad, doesn't it? "You wicked and lazy servant"! And he condemned him. He said, "Why did you do this"? And do you know the answer? He said, "I believed you were a hard taskmaster, that you were requiring too much of me, so I buried my talent! I was afraid"! Afraid! Some of you have talents and gifts and abilities and time and energy and resources, but you're burying your talent because you are afraid to step out in faith. You're afraid to do what God has called you to do.
How many teams have lost because they played not to lose? How many Christians, how many churches fail because we play not to lose? No, we play to win! And it takes courage and conviction and knowing that God will provide for all that we need. Philippians 4:19 says that "My God shall supply all of your needs (not your greeds, but) all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ". So glad it doesn't say out of His riches in glory; it says according to His riches in glory. God gives to us according to His riches in glory. You say, what's the difference? Big difference.
If you walked up to me and said, "Jack, you know, I got some hard times. Could you help me out a little bit? Could you help a brother"? I say sure, and I reach into my pocket and I pull out some bills and there's a twenty and there's another twenty, and maybe a hundred is in there. And then here's some ones. And I peel off a one and I give it to you and say, "God bless you". Well, that would be giving out of my resources, out of what I have. But if I pulled out my wallet and gave you my debit card and gave you the pin number and said, "Okay, take it, use it. Everything I have is available to you".
That would be giving according to my riches. And that is the way God has given to us and does give to us. He provides abundantly for us to meet all of our needs! And we can trust God because God only knows that He provides for us abundantly but because everything that we face in life is filtered through the Father's hands. He cares. He cares deeply about what we face and therefore His providence protects us, His love never let's us go. He never turns loose. Jesus said that we are in the Father's hand, the grip of God, and nothing, "no one will be able to pluck us from the Father's hand".
Maybe you're wondering am I going to make it? What if I slip and fall? What if I do the wrong thing; am I going to get to heaven? What if I don't make it? God says, Philippians 1:6 "He who began the good work in you will prefect it, perform it, complete it unto the day of Jesus Christ". What God starts He finishes. He is the author and finisher of our salvation. He will never quit on you. You can trust Him, you can believe Him. And remember this: the word oops is not in God's vocabulary. He never makes a mistake.
Again, I'll never tell you, you won't have problems, you won't have struggles, you won't face fears, but I will tell you this: that God is faithful through and through. And you can trust God through it all. He will keep you, He will hold you, He will sustain you. He will strengthen you. Whether in life or in death, we are promised His protection. We are immortal in the will of God! 1 John 2:17, "He who does the will of God (John says) abides forever". Trust God! Let go of your worries, let go of your fears.
One more scripture, Philippians 4:6-7, "Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything and the peace of God which passes understanding (the supernatural peace of God) will guard protect your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ". You know I like to say that we have the God of peace to guide and the peace of God to guard us. Because the word there, the peace of God will guard your hearts means there will be protection and God will give us peace in the midst of the storm.
Do you ever wonder is God sleeping in my storm? The disciples wondered that. Jesus was asleep below in the boat and the storm came on the Sea of Galilee and they were fighting for their lives, and they wondered where is God? Where is Jesus? And they woke Him up and said, "Lord, do you not care that we're dying here? That we're going under here"? Jesus spoke to the waves and said, "Peace, be still". And then He challenged their faith. He said, "Could you not believe? Could you not believe"?
Do you ever wonder if God is asleep while you're awake? No, the Bible says, "He who guards Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers". He's always awake so you might as well just go on and go to bed, go to sleep. No use staying up worrying all night because God's got it! You can trust in Him. Occupy your minds with those things which are pure and holy and good and godly, Philippians 4:8. In that same passage it talks about focusing on those things which are good and pure. Don't allow worry to control your thought life, but rather replace.
The only way I know to overcome worry is to replace worries with songs of praise, and scriptures, God's Word and promises from God because here is a fact: you can't think two things at the same time, and if I'm thinking faith, I can't be thinking fear. Meditate on what builds you up and God will deliver you. Yes, it's a scary world, but God will give us grace and God will give us peace when we trust in Him.
And the key is verse 33 of Matthew 6: "Seek first the kingdom of God". That's trusting God. Trust Him first, seek Him first and He will take care of your todays and your tomorrows. Here's another way of putting that verse. You take care of God's business and He'll take care of your business. You concentrate your life upon what matters to God and He'll take care of what matters to you. "Seek first the kingdom of God"! Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Is He first in your life? Is Christ on the throne of your life? Have you surrendered your all to Him? Have to taken those fears, those worries, those anxieties and have you given them to Him? Trust God.