Worrying About Tomorrow (5-30-15)
Grab your Bible and let’s go deeper into James 4:
Today I want to talk about worry.
Worry is also known as anxiety.
No doubt, worry is a big issue in our culture today. Consider it for yourself…
How good are you at worrying about life?
The most staggering fact we are given about anxiety and worry is:
It is the most common mental health disorder in America! — with over 40 Million people diagnosed.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety loosely defined is this:
Anticipating the future in a variety of possible negative outcomes and then FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT.
Jesus says, “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34
Here, Jesus brings up one of the areas we are prone to worry about which is tomorrow!
Jesus says, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW.
Today has enough trouble that you don’t need to borrow from tomorrow.
One of our older saints in our church told me once, “When you worry about something in the future you are only making yourself go through hardship that hasn’t even happened yet and if it does actually happen, then you are choosing to go through that stress twice- once when you worried about it in advance and once when it happened!”
Our future is what we are talking about today.
Do you find yourself worrying about your future?
How will the kids turn out? Will you be able to pay next month’s rent? Will you ever fall in love?
What will the results show when you meet with your doctor? What is the future of your chapter?
We are a society that is professional at worrying about our future.
With this in mind, turn with me to James 4:13-15:
James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
- Plan Making
13 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit.’”
First, who is this talking about? Any of us that make plans!
Second, we have to ask: is making plans a bad thing?
–No, God calls us to steward our lives well.
Stewardship is our privileged opportunity to be faithful managers of God’s provisions for God’s glory!
This is actually an area that many of us can work on. Being a good steward is making a plan for tomorrow. Planning your schedule in such a way that you plan to finish the things God has set before you.
God did not trust us with the gospel so we can sit back and just wait to see what comes our way.
We need to manage it well. To be good leaders or stewards of our lives, we must plan to the best of our ability.
That being said, there is planning that we can do that puts an unhealthy dependence on our plans.
When we make our plans more important than what God is doing at any given moment, we can really get worked up and worried about it.
We can even get resentful at God for not causing the things we planned to work out the way we want them to.
So, how do we have a right practice of plan making while not making them an idol in our lives?
We trust in the one who knows the future and has our best interest in mind!
- Future Knowing
James 4:14– “…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.”
Here is the TRUTH. You and I don’t know how tomorrow will turn out.
This is where our worry comes in to play.
We set in motion in our mind the plans we have and our heart begins to long to see those plans lived out.
Examples: education, career, kids, marriage, vacation, and health which are all good things.
But, again, the problem is WE don’t know how it will come out.
We can’t see ahead in the future. But, there is someone that can.
Not only can God see what is ahead, but his will for how that future plays itself out is always better than yours and mine. Not only because his PERSPECTIVE on what is to come is better, but because often our plans are about us- sometimes with good outcomes and sometimes with bad.
His plans are always for his glory and our ultimate good.
So the question is: Do you trust in the one who sees our future and who’s plans are always better than ours? Or do you overvalue your plans and end up worrying about their outcome.
We don’t have to worry about tomorrow if we trust in the one who sits on the THRONE!
à Do you trust God with your FUTURE?
Do you trust Him enough to keep doing the things He has called you to do even when in man’s eyes it’s not producing the change you wanted?
- Correct Understanding
James 4:14- “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Do you see and understand that this life and world are fading away? We are only here for a short time. Our future, our hope, our home is with God in His eternal kingdom.
So if my plans are only about the temporary, then I am going to be riddled with worry as I have placed an overemphasis in the here and now.
If we can embrace that we are here for a moment compared to the eternity that awaits us, we will be much more ready to embrace God’s will for us and not OVER-CLING to the things we have set in our mind that we want to happen still.
Now, when we really begin to get this we begin to have a CORRECT UNDERSTANDING of our life here on earth!
<>Understand that if you have yet to trust your life to Christ, you don’t have a promise for eternity with God because Christ has not reconciled your relationship with God.
This is why people of the world party so hard in the here and now.
This is why when we have a TIGHT grip on our plans and lifestyle in this LIFE, we are riddled with WORRY. Because it is all you have!
This is why it makes no sense for Christ followers to WORRY. In Christ, we trust in God’s will for us.
We don’t need to worry about our future when our future is in God’s hands!
This is GOOD NEWS because “in Christ” we get to loosen our grip on the here and now.
We must deal with the world. But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention.
We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world.
We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all of our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—to God Himself.
<>We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means.
<>We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.
“The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17).
- God Yielding-
Now, hopefully, we understand that it’s okay to make plans as long as we remember who KNOWS the future and as long as we have a correct understanding of what this world is and who we are in Christ. So, this leaves one thing, how do we not worry about the plans we have made?
James tells us:
James 4:15– “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
— WE YIELD to God’s will and trust in Him.
Jesus said it best, “not my will, but yours, be done!”
à Jesus did not “want” to be mocked, beaten, have his flesh torn off, and suffer a slow death on a criminal’s cross, but rather than demanding his way and rather than hold tightly to his plans and fleshly desire, he CLINGED TO GOD and made the Father’s desires his desires when he said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” –Luke 22:42.
I recommend you end every prayer you ever pray with these words! “Not my will, but yours, be done.” You may struggle with saying those words authentically, but as you press into Christ, you will grow to truly YIELD to God’s will. You will learn to truly WANT His WILL, not yours.
So, what is the right view of God that he teaches us to have in verse 15?
He tells us two very important things about God.
One is contained in the words: “If the Lord wills, we will live.”
And the other is contained in the words, “If the Lord wills. . . we will do this or that.”
If the Lord wills, we Will live.
First, when he says, “If the Lord wills, we will live”, he teaches us that the duration of our lives are in the hands of God OR that God governs how long we will live OR that God is ultimately in control of life and death. We may not know how long our vapor-like life will linger in the air, but God knows because God decides how long we will live: “If the Lord wills, we will live.”
James is saying, if this is a true view of life and God, then it should shape our mindset and shape the way our heart has PEACE about our FUTURE instead of WORRY about our FUTURE.
THIS is how our heart has PEACE about the FUTURE of our loved ones instead of WORRY about the future of our LOVED ones.
If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.
Now, there is another truth about God in verse 15. When he says, “If God wills we will . . . do this or that”, he teaches us that the activities and accomplishments of our lives are in God’s hands.
God governs what we accomplish. Not only are our lives in His hands, our success is in His hands.
“Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills . . . we will do this or that.'”
And if the Lord does not will, we will not do this or that.
Whether we do this or that tomorrow is in the hands of God.
So, what was wrong with what these people said in verse 13?- “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit'” What’s wrong with that?
It is wrong because it does not give expression to a true view of life or God.
Specifically, it does not give expression to the truth that life is a vapor and it does not give expression to the truth that God governs the length of our lives and the achievements of our lives.
I pray today that this truth resonates deeply with you. I pray it changes the way you think about this life. I pray it changes the way you make plans and especially the way you choose to hold to those plans.
For those of you who do not yet know Jesus as your greatest treasure- as your Savior- as your God, I pray that you do. I pray that you see that you will never be satisfied, joyful, or peaceful until you know Jesus.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC