We have been taught that it is a sin for a Christian to worry. We have heard that all a Christian can do by worrying is to borrow tomorrow’s sorrow; and drag the clouds of tomorrow over the sunshine of today; which will get no argument out of me.
Furthermore we have our most favorite verses that we cherish to get us through the difficult times.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 Then of course we turn to 1 Peter 5:7 – “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.” . . . Just to give us a taste of the precious securities that we have within the scripture.
While I would not needlessly cause strife and anxiety, I believe that there is one place however, that it is not only permissible for a Christian to experience anxiety, but commendable.
The first thing that we need to do is define our word “worry.” To quote from the American Heritage Dictionary, the 1st primary definition is, “to feel uneasy about; or be troubled.” Now with that in mind, lets note of the fact that there is indeed a rightful place of worry that fits neatly into the heart and mind of the believer. There is one thing that can and should cause every believer to feel uneasy or troubled; that one right point of worry, and right feel of biblical anxiety should be the condition of other men’s souls.
– “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face.” Colossians 2:1
– “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” Romans 9:1-3
– “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” Philippians 3:18
The Apostle Paul was a man that expressed repeatedly throughout the New Testament the anxiety of his soul over the condition of the lost. When you peel back the King’s English, you find Paul using “the language of worry” to describe the condition of his heart. He used the word “agone” in describing his feeling for the Colossians and Laodiceans; which is, “figurative an effort or anxiety :- conflict, contention, fight, race.—Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.”
That being said, the concept and subject of “worry” as defined falls into the same category as “fear.” We often here men teach that the “Bible teaches us we have nothing to fear.” Not only is that not “quite” true, that’s not “close” to true. The Bible never tells us “Not to fear” the Bible tells us “What” not to fear. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28 Throughout the scriptures there are plenty of promises and directions that instruct us away from the things that should not bring fear into our lives. At the very same time, the Bible is full of directions, instructions, and precepts that bring us to the things that rightfully bring fear into our lives. “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him . . .” Psalm 147:11. To rightly understand fear, is to understand that there things not worthy of our fear, and some things deserving of our fear.
The same concept here fits with worry. The Apostle Paul lived with the burden, concern, and uneasy feelings toward the condition of unbelievers. It is this place alone that should be the object of our earthly concerns. Most Christians have directed their spiritual energies into “not worrying about anything” which is the wrong thing. May I say to you that we ought to feel uneasy and troubled about men and women in their lost estate headed for a devil’s hell. In Luke 19:41 as Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem and with sight only His eyes could possess, saw the true condition of the city, and his heart broke.
One flaw in Christianity today is the effort to rid our lives of all worry; which in turn anesthetized us to the biblical worry that should salt every relationship we have. Once my children reached the stage of accountability I could not sleep well at night until they came to Christ. Ridding our lives of all worry, removes from our lives the best earthly friends a lost world has, which is a sorrowing saint over the state of a lost soul. When our worry for lost people is gone, all that is left is “duty”. Duty is like having only pure orthodoxy, it may be straight as a gun barrel, but can be just as empty. The power of a worrying saint for a dying sinner is irreplaceable, and when we categorically rule out all anxiety, we chloroform our passion for people. Some may disagree, and you can apologize later; but there is a difference in witnessing through empty duty, and witnessing through anxious passion.
Ruling out all worry and all anxiety does not match the examples given to us in the Bible. In short we may say that the Bible does not tell us not to worry, but rather what not to worry about. Recognizing the difference should produce a much needed change worth making.