Four Gifts for Christmas

Friday: The Man Who Never Worries

Matthew 6:25-34 In this week’s lessons, we learn that not only does Jesus warn us not to worry, but he also provides us with a cure in commanding us not to do it.
The Man Who Never Worries

Now I know that at this point someone may be saying, “I can see from the reasons you have been giving that I ought not to worry. But still I do worry. Is there an answer? And if there is, what is the solution for me personally?” I believe that the answer to this question is a simple one. It has three parts.

First, you must recognize that all of the promises that Christ is making in the Sermon on the Mount are for Christians only. If you are not a Christian or are uncertain whether you are a Christian or not, you must begin by straightening out this question. Every so often, someone says to me, “If God has promised to take care of all our needs, how come there is so much poverty and deprivation in the world?” The answer is that the promises of God’s care are for Christian people only. They are for those who have accepted the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the one sufficient ground for their salvation. If you do not believe these things, then the promises of God’s care are not for you.

Second, if you are a believer, you need to add to your initial experience of salvation all you can learn about God’s nature and His ability to care for His people. Most Sunday mornings in my church, I begin the worship service with a passage that teaches this exactly. It is Matthew 11:28-30. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In other words, you are to learn all you can about Jesus Christ. For as you learn about Him you will grow strong in faith, knowing that He is able to do the things He has promised.

Finally, you need to get in the habit of turning to God whenever you feel worry approaching. Your reaction in trouble should be something like a conditioned reflex. We all know what a normal reflex is. If you are working in the kitchen and accidentally get your hand too close to the stove, your body will jerk the hand back. You do not need to think about it; it comes naturally. A conditioned reflex is exactly the same, except that it needs to be learned. A conditioned reflex may be illustrated by the reaction you have in stepping on the brake when you see a red light suddenly, or rising to your feet when someone begins to play “The Star Spangled Banner.” These reactions are almost automatic, but they do not result from instinct. They result from training or practice. In the same way, we need reflexes that will turn us to the Lord at the first sign of trouble.

Most persons have reactions of one sort or another. Some persons turn in upon themselves whenever they see trouble approaching. Others turn to some other person. Your task, as a Christian, is to supplant these or any other reactions with a behavioral pattern that turns you toward God. If you do not, you will worry. If you do, you will increasingly come to know the divine tranquility that passes all understanding and is able to give you peace even in a time of great storm.

In one of the early Greek manuscripts from the first centuries of the Christian era, there is a record of a man whose name was Titedios Amerimnos. The first part of that name is a proper name, but the second part is made up of the Greek word for “worry” plus the prefix meaning “not” or “never.” In other words, the second name is a descriptive epithet like the second part of “Frederick the Great” or “James the Just.” In this case, many have thought that the man was originally a pagan who constantly worried, but who, after he became a Christian, stopped worrying. He was then called Titedios Amerimnos – “Titedios, the Man Who Never Worries.” Can you add that statement to your name? You should be able to write “John Smith,” “Betty Jones,” Charles Miller,” “Susan Moore” (or whatever it may be) and then add, “The One Who Never Worries.”

Study Questions
  1. What is the second part of the answer for how to be free from worry? What steps will you take in response to this part?
  2. Explain what Dr. Boice means by a conditioned reflex in response to worry.
  3. Contrast how unbelievers try to deal with worry with how Christians are commanded to handle it.

Prayer: Do you know anyone who is struggling with worry, but who does not appear to be a Christian? Pray for the opportunity to explain to them how only by having salvation in Christ can they have peace in such circumstances.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s two-part message, “Why Worry?” (part one) and “Why Worry?” (part two). (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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