Fears and frets are commonplace in a world affected by sin. How should Christians avoid falling into the trap of worrying? Today, Gabe Fluhrer provides pastoral counsel for those facing worry.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: This week we're joined by Dr. Gabe Fluhrer, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr. Fluhrer, what counsel would you give to a Christian facing worry?
DR. GABE FLUHRER: As a chronic worrier myself, here is the counsel I give myself. First, I think we need to recognize that worry is sin. Jesus says in Matthew 6, "Do not be anxious." And that's every bit as much a "do not" as "do not covet," "do not commit adultery," "do not commit a murder." It's every bit as sinful as those things. And because there's so much worry around us, we can easily lose sight of the fact that worry is sin inasmuch as it declares, the worrier declares, that God is not sovereign, He's not in control, and therefore I should be anxious. Whereas Jesus says no, you shouldn't, and yes, He is. He is sovereign. He is in control, and therefore, don't be anxious. So I remind myself that it's sin.
And then in the second place, I think we turn to a passage like Philippians 4 where Paul tells us where to focus our minds"whatever is good and true and noble. And then he says, "Do not be anxious for anything." There it is again. Don't do this. As much as Paul says "don't lust," don't be anxious. And then he instructs us by saying, "Here's what to do instead: Pray with thanksgiving about everything." And so one of the things that I've tried to learn to do when I am tempted to worry is to give thanks for every blessing that God has given me.
And then one of the chronic failures I think we have as Christians is to pray like Paul says we should. Which is whenever we're feeling anxious, whenever we're making a decision, whenever we're doing anything, pray at all times in the Spirit, Paul says. So that's where I think we want to refocus our mental energy on what is true, what God has shown us. And then ask Him for the peace that passes understanding. Ask Him for relief from anxiety. Ask Him to help us repent well of our worry.
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