Saturday, October 28, 2006

“Don’t Worry, Have Faith” (Luke 12: 22-34)

Most women(certainly me) and especially moms tend to struggle with worrying. This is a great article I reveiwed in seminary for my couseling women class. His steps to overcoming worrying are very helpful.

Getting to the Heart of Your Worry,” by Robert D. Jones, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, (vol. 17/13, Spring 1999)

Dr. Robert D. Jones begins his article by stating that signs points to the fact that no single problem plagues people more than worry, and that worry is one of the most typical everyday sins. However, Jones states that there is good news, worry is a solvable. Through God’s spirit the Word provides Christians with all they need to overcome and fight worry and anxiety. He further explains how fortunate that Christians are to have God’ Word to be our guide and they are not left with human centered psychologies for answers to life’s problems. [1]

Jones then moves to discussing how and why worrying is a sin. Jesus says that worrying is wrong. In Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus forbids worrying three times when he says, “Do not worry” (verses 25, 31, 34); therefore, worrying is a sin. Furthermore, Jesus explains that worry is idolatry in verses 19-25. Jones states that worry expresses idolatry in the heart. He states that “your worry is a sign that in some way you are trusting in yourself, that you are building your life on things or people other than Jesus.”[2]

Jones states that worry expresses three main truths that are found in Matthew 6: 19-34. First, worry expresses that a person trust in competing treasures (verses 19-21). So much of a Christian’s worries involve earthly worries; however, Jesus states to not store up your treasures on earth but to store up treasures in heaven where thief and moth cannot destroy. Secondly, worry expresses that a person looks at life with competing eyes (verses 22-23). According to Jones, when Christians fail to look at life by setting their eyes on Jesus and his kingdom, their life will be filled with darkness and chronic worry. He further states that Scripture urges Christians to set their heart on things above. Thirdly, Jones affirms that worry expresses that a person is serving competing masters (verse 24). Jesus declares that a person can not serve God plus something or someone else. Jones quotes Stanley Gale who states, “instead of trusting God by submitting and yielding to his good pleasure, the worrier rebels and asserts himself in defense of autonomy, of independence from the God in whom he lives, moves, and has his being.”[3] At the end of this section, Jones urges the reader to repent from his false gods, and to renew his faith in God and his Savior.

Jesus explains that worry is unbelief, and the solution is faith. Jones states to worry is to deny God’s power, wisdom, and love for you in your situation. Additionally, to worry is to doubt His knowledge, goodness, and might toward you. To believe God’s goodness is to be freed from worry. Jones clearly states that “the remedy for worry is to seek the Lord, to believe His promises, and orient your life around His priorities.”[4] He also quotes John Piper who states that worry results when our remaining unbelief, our inadequate faith, gets the upper hand in our hearts. The remedy? Believe Jesus and His gospel promises. Trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus. Jesus plainly states to not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow has enough troubles of its own (6:34). Worrying cannot improve a person’s future.

At the end of the article Jones gives the reader a five step process to releasing his worries to God. First, Jones urges the reader to go talk to the Lord about his worries. Second, admit that worrying is sin. Third, ask God to help you identify the specific idols in your life. Fourth, confess your worries to him and repent of the ways that you have sought your own agenda, and not God’s kingdom. Fifthly, tell God that you are sorry for not believing in His promises, and ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you of all these things.[5] Jones urges the reader not to stop there. He urges the reader to turn to the Lord and worship, and trust in God’s promises of grace, even in worrisome situations.

This article’s strengths far out weigh its weakness. Jones does an excellent job of explaining how common worry is, and the fact that worry is a sin. Jones does not just come up with the fact that worrying is a sin from his own reasoning, but he gets his conclusion from Scripture and what Jesus explicitly stated on worrying. Secondly, he does a great job of clarifying the truth that worrying is idolatry, and the solution is repentance. Throughout his article, Jones does a great job of giving the reader practical applications. Thirdly, Jones states that worry is indeed unbelief, and the solution is faith. Jones states that one of the bottom lines is that your worry is a sign that in some way you are trusting yourself, that you are building your life on the things or people other than Jesus. Lastly, his conclusion is extremely applicable with his five step process on how to release your fears to God.

The only weakness found in this article is just one helpful piece of advice that Jones could have given. He could have urged the reader to pray to God, “Even if (name your fear) happens, You will give me the grace and strength to get through it.” He did not really touch on this step of releasing your fears to God, but he covered everything else in this very well written, clear, and comprehensive article.

[1] Robert D. Jones, “Getting to the Heart of Your Worry,” Journal of Biblical Counseling 17/13 (1999): 21.

[2] Ibid., 22.

[3] Ibid., 23.

[4] Ibid., 24.

[5] Ibid.

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