Worry as a Form of Idolatry

wilkinsmatthewI am reading through a commentary on Matthew by Micheal J. Wilkins.   On page 304, within the context of a discussion of Matthew 6:19-34, Wilkins says something surprising – to me anyway. He says,

“We probably do not think of worry as a form of idolatry, but it is when we allow it to take our eyes off of Jesus.  We substitute despair, hopelessness, or fear in place of God and turn to our own efforts at trying to control our environment.  This can be a harsh world and worry about the outcome can consume us.

While teaching for a short stint at another seminary, I heard Warren Wiersbe make this comment during a chapel message: ‘It is often said that we are continually being crucified between two thieves – the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow.

Wow! That is something to think about.

Warren Wiersbe
Warren Wiersbe

The key to overcoming worry is to learn how to utilize God’s strength to accomplish what is set before us today, because today’s accomplishment is tomorrow’s lesson.”~ Pg. 304-6.

Exactly! Christian counselor Jay Adams said something similar. Adams said something like – when we worry too much, we need to stop and ask ourselves what it is that we need to be getting done that day or at that moment.  Some people spend so much time worrying about tomorrow, that they fail to get done what they needed to get done on that particular day.

So when you find yourself worrying too much about something, the question to ask is “What do I need to be getting done right now?”

Another surprise : According to John Piper, the Scriptures command joy. Yep. Joy is a command. I am not sure at how Piper arrives at this, but perhaps it has to do with verses like “Rejoice in the Lord. I will say it again: Rejoice! “ (Phil. 4:4), which is a command.  So while worry surprisingly is an idol, joy surprisingly is a command.

~ It makes sense. I think the default setting of a Christian has to be that of joy, during good and bad times or at the least to have a joy-proneness, i.e. be inclined to that end. We are not supposed to be some grumpy fuddy-duddies, carrying grey clouds with us where ever we go.

Also worth reading:  Clouds and Oceans: The Role of Emotions in the Christian Life @ First Things