23 April 2010

Question of the Week:
Is Worry a Sin?

by Anne Lang Bundy

Is worry a sin? ... I feel bad for having such emotions that I really cannot control.
from Anonymous

Three issues are here: worry, control of emotions, feeling bad for failure.

Let’s start with emotions.

It’s been argued that feelings aren’t right or wrong—they’re just feelings. But Jesus said that to lust is to commit adultery in the heart. He addressed hatred with the commandment against murder. He called covetousness evil.

Feelings and thoughts can definitely be sinful.

The adage says you can’t prevent birds from flying overhead, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair. Likewise, when wrong thoughts of the mind and wrong feelings of the heart come, we have a choice to entertain or dismiss them.

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
~ Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Simply pushing away wrong thoughts and feelings is far less effective than filling ourselves with things to build up our souls.

Whatever things tear down the soul are contrary to the Lord’s will and can therefore be defined as sin. Sin should feel bad, because its defiance against God separates us from Him.

God’s solution to sin is threefold. He removes eternal Penalty of sin for whomever receives Jesus Christ as Lord and repents of sin. The day is coming when those who belong to Christ will live with Him, removed from the Presence of sin, with its pain and suffering. Until then, God’s Holy Spirit delivers us from the Power of sin by increasing our spiritual strength.

We increase spiritual strength by cooperating with the Holy Spirit—taking in the Bible, communicating with God in prayer, and making godly choices to avoid sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
~ Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

The devil condemns us for sin and tempt us to hide from God. The Holy Spirit instead convicts us of sin, prompting us to draw near to God. Those in Christ are forgiven and never condemned by God, not even when we fail—or worry.

Back to the question of worry. Yes, bad things happen, even to those who are God’s. But worrisome circumstances are opportunities to be childlike and enter the kingdom.

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
~ Matthew 18:3 (NKJV)

Little ones don’t worry about checkbooks. When they are hurting, they run to the loving parent who offers comfort and aid. In scary situations, a child clings closely to parent for reassurance.

To have childlike trust does not mean childish disregard for responsibilities. It simply understands who God is. He proves Himself more powerful than all adversity, wiser than the most confounding problem, more loving than our greatest failure.

So He says, “Fear not.” He asks us to trust that regardless of circumstances, He has a plan in it for good and will walk us through it. And His great compassion does not condemn us for worry, but says gently, “Look at Me instead.”

2010 Anne Lang Bundy
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  1. Amen, I will keep looking at Him.

  2. You never seize to amaze me. Taking on questions like this, I can only read in awe of how well you explain them. As a young Christian, you are encouragement to me. This question has been one I've often wondered about. Good thoughts!

  3. I just have to say I cannot wait to be removed from the Presence of sin, but in the meanwhile am thankful I'm delivered from the penalty and power of it through Christ.
    ~ Wendy

  4. I think you exposed a big trap here. There is a difference between 'being real' and honest with our emotions and hanging onto the anger, worry, or whatever else. When we think we're justified in exploring every angle of these things, we get ourselves in trouble and turned sideways. That's not the life of God alive in us! Thanks for an eloquent answer, Anne.

  5. Denise ~ You're doing well. A shining example to the power of Jesus Christ's name and Holy Spirit, for the Father's glory.

    Duane ~ I'm grateful to know I've encouraged you. Thanks for sharing that.

    Wendy ~ I wait with you for That Day. Hebrews 6:10.

    Jason ~ I appreciate you bringing that out. I try not to run too long with these answers, and your point is an important one. That spiritual strength helps us have proper discernment and balance.

  6. It is impossible to remove an emotion or thought and expect it to stay way, unless we replace it with another emotion or thought. Giving up on faith in myself, in the world, was such an important step in my own faith development. Worry is natural, it is God's way of telling us to proceed carefully. However, when we indulge worry, it might be because we are trying to deflect attention away from other issues, or we are doubting God. - Great post Anne.

  7. Thanks Russell. I appreciate the confirming words, the compliment, and the invitation to be here.

  8. "The devil condemns us for sin and tempt us to hide from God. The Holy Spirit instead convicts us of sin, prompting us to draw near to God. Those in Christ are forgiven and never condemned by God, not even when we fail—or worry."

    Let us be sons and daughters to the heavenly Fatherand not "slaves" to a Task master. Tks Anne for the marvelous post!

  9. What a thought provoking post and your answer was equally so. Well done Anne!

  10. Bible Lover ~ Being a child rather than slave makes ALL the difference. Our inheritance is secure. And you're welcome.

    T ~ What an encouragement you are! I'm working my way to your email ...