During my busy home school years, I asked a friend if I could borrow some history books for a project we were doing. She happily said yes to my request, but asked that I promptly return the books as soon as we were finished. I had good intentions to do so; however, I got sidetracked with the demands of our busy household and I could not even locate the books after we had completed our work. I felt terrible about this oversight and while cleaning one day, I located them and returned them with apologies. Luckily she was not upset with me. While borrowing a book from a friend is one thing, we really should avoid borrowing trouble.
Whenever we fall into the trap of "vain imaginations", worry, or concern over things we cannot change, we are borrowing trouble for ourselves. I think I can honestly say that I have fallen into this trap a number of times. Clearly, God does not want us to spend our time and energy living in anxiety or fear over things which may not even happen. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 6:22-34. He reminds us that we should not worry about what we are to eat or wear, and perhaps my favorite phrase is when He says: "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Now that is a good question isn't it? Try as we might, we do not have the ability to increase our life span. In fact, there are many things in our lives over which we have no control, and that is really the issue isn't it?
Most of us want to be in control of our circumstances. We would like to have things all neatly mapped out each day so we could feel secure. But where is the need for faith in God if we have everything under control? As I recall, it was God who created the world and all of us who live in this world. Therefore, it would seem reasonable to assume that we are not in charge, but rather, God is the sovereign Lord over all creation. Jesus made this case when He spoke of the fact that no sparrow can fall to the ground without God being aware of it. He says clearly in this passage of Scripture that we are more valuable than that sparrow, so we need to stop worrying over every issue in life.
What happens to us when we get stressed out with worry and anxiety? For one thing, it does not do our health any favors. We often have trouble sleeping. We are tense and on edge with our loved ones or co-workers. This is where Satan can take hold of us by building elaborate "vain imaginations" in our thinking. Before we know it, we have a mountain where a mole hill existed two seconds ago. Life becomes almost unbearable to face each day. This is not how God meant for us to live. Paul points this out in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:7): "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control." This is quite the opposite from wallowing in self pity and worry which does not bring glory to God nor provide a good witness to others.
Our lives are meant to be a faith walk - an adventure of sorts. We are to take one day at a time not living in the past or reaching ahead to the unknown future. The only thing we can change with God's help is our outlook. We cannot change others and often we cannot change our circumstances, but we can roll our cares onto Him. Through prayer, we can turn loose all the tension and fear we have, but we must leave it there with God and not take it back again if we wish to be free.
Borrowing trouble is the last thing we need in our lives. If there is something over which we are worried or in fear, we need to write it down in a prayer journal or on a piece of paper and date it. Then, we need to pray and give it to God. Once we have done this, we must believe that He who knows when a sparrow falls will certainly be able to carry our concerns far better than we can. Let us remember this word from Hebrews and stand on it (Hebrews 11:1): "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Selah!
Father, worry is a sin. We confess that we have allowed ourselves to worry and live in anxiety when we need to trust in You. Forgive us and restore to us a sound mind. Help us to take life one day at a time and to listen carefully to Your voice. Thank You for Your tender care and the peace of mind that only comes from You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
I would love to hear from you about how you have overcome worry in your life and been victorious over those vain imaginations that can hold us captive.