Living Confidently in Christ - Week 4 - How do I deal with Worry?
Sermon Date: May 6th
Readings Matthew 6 v. 25-34
Get each person in your group to stand up, and then chose a person that they want to share with in this opening icebreaker. If the group has an uneven number in it, then have one group of three. Each person speaks for 2 minutes on something that has either worried them in the past or is a current worry. Each person must be responsible for how much they share. The icebreaker is not for the person listening to rescue or solve the worry, but to accept what is being said and then either pray silently or out loud for that person. Then swap and repeat, and when the ice breaker is finished, everyone returns to their original seat.
Can you remember something from last Sunday’s sermon that struck you?
Read Matthew 6 v. 25-34 together
This is a challenging but also comforting passage. Challenging because we will all encounter something in our lives which we don’t know how to solve and comforting because Jesus says God knows our needs. Jesus says ‘Do not worry’ he isn’t saying we should be irresponsible or just blindly hope things will work out well. Rather, he is calling us to trust, and at times that is hard to do, but be encouraged, that we all struggle at times to trust, and that God knows that, and despite what we feel, he will never be separated from us.
Q. 1 Have you ever experienced ‘worry’ being a barrier to your relationship with God?
Some people worry more than others, we all have different personalities and different experiences in life, and so we all deal with dilemma’s which we are confronted with in differing ways.
Q. 2 what do you sense is the most common reason for people to worry?
Maybe: Family, health, money, work, school, how others perceive us, material possessions, piers, church community?
The poet Robert Frost wrote
‘The reason why worry kills more people that work is because more people worry, than work’
For many people, worry becomes so ingrained into their personalities that once one worry is gone, they search for a new one. Our experience of life and of how we are treated so often has an adverse effect on how we then live. It’s easy to dwell on a worsening economy, the threat of terrorism and tensions in the middle-east, for example, all these make for uncertain times.
The good news is that Jesus brings us reassurance and a firm foundation on which to stand. He says ‘Don’t worry, be hopeful’ in these few short verses, Jesus says ‘worry’ six times. In the previous section of the gospel, Jesus has spoken about not storing up treasure on earth, not serving two masters and just as it was so then, it would appear we too struggle with faith and materialism.
Q. 3 How hard do you find it to live a Christian life that brings good news and light into our communities, when all around us our society is focussed on the more we have, the better and happier we will be?
Jesus gives us reasons why we shouldn’t worry:
Worry is a futile exercise (6: 25-30) Jesus promises to meet our needs because he cares for us, he begins by giving a negative comment ‘For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life’ The phrase ‘do not be worried’ is translated from ‘stop worrying’ in the original text. Jesus wants his followers to stop worrying about food, drink, clothes, because he says to them he will meet their basic needs. In Judea and Galilee at the time, it was an extremely poor place, people literally lived from day to day and naturally they worried about how they would provide, not only for themselves but also for their families.
Q. 4 Has there ever been a time in your life when you haven’t known how you would pay a bill, feed yourself or be able to buy clothes? If yes, then share what you feel comfortable sharing. If no, then give thanks.
Of course Jesus isn’t saying ‘don’t make a plan’ Jesus calls us to be wise and to practically make provision for our need’s, that is quite different from worrying about them.
It also doesn’t mean not to be concerned, everyone is concerned about certain things, the safety of our children, the health of a loved one etc. The verb ‘worry’ (merimnao) means ‘pulled apart’, so there is a difference, to be concerned means that you will try and help the situation, but worry tends to be the result of not be able to do something about the situation. The challenge we have is to ask ourselves, can we then leave it with God and trust him?
Q. 5 Can you give an example of how you have trusted God in your life and not worried about the outcome?
Q. 6 what is ‘enough’ when it comes to money and possessions?
Over the next week, try and watch the birds in your garden and look at the beauty of the new leaves unfurling and flowers coming into bloom. Does seeing God’s hand on creation help you in any way?
Romans 15 v. 13 read this verse and try and allow it to sink into your very core of your being.
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’
Pray, bring your worries to God. Instead of letting your worries rattle around in your mind, formulate them into prayers.
Pray with thanksgiving, for what God has done in the past and is doing now. When we take time to praise God for who he is and what he has done in the past, we are encouraged and strengthened in the way we trust.
If you have worries, see if you could meet up with someone else in the group to talk and pray outside of the group setting or make contact with me!
Lord, sometimes I get so distracted by everyday life that I forget to talk to you about it.
Forgive me and help me not to live in my own strength but to seek you constantly -- your help, your wisdom and your mercy.
Sharon Seal, 02/05/2018