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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“He who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world . . . choke the word.”—Matthew 13:22 (NKJV)
By way of confession, I admit that today’s topic is something I’ve wrestled with my entire life, and I’m quite guilty of repeatedly falling short of God’s will regarding it. So, what I’m about to share does not come from a place of sanctimonious perfection or piety; it derives from personal failure and painful experience.
In the passage above, Jesus is giving a parable that warns us of the different dispositions that a person can have towards God’s Word. In this verse, He warns against the person whose heart is entangled by the cares of this world. As a result, God’s Word never takes root and grows the way it’s supposed to. At its most basic, this verse is a warning against worrying. A warning that Jesus also gave in His Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life” Matthew 6:25 (NKJV).
If you’re like me, this warning in and of itself has you worried, because I’m so guilty of worrying! For many years, I was led to believe that worrying is a healthy sign of caring about things. But there’s a big difference between caring and worrying. Caring knows where to draw a line of separation between security and insecurity, between being engaged and being consumed. Worry doesn’t!
Like a black hole, worry will pull every glimmer of light into itself, not allowing for hope. It’s a force more destructive than we often realize, which is why Jesus speaks so strongly against it, commanding us to forsake it and identifying it as being just as sinful as lying, murder, adultery, etc. Again, it’s a sin that I (and I’m sure I’m not alone) am very guilty of.
Our God wants to free us from the gravitational pull of worry. And the way He frees us is through . . . Himself! When you read these warnings through in their context, you will see the antidote for worry is to turn one’s focus fully upon God; to deliberately dwell on His being, His nature, His character and His works. When that happens, the human heart is moved from worry to worship, and the cares and concerns that strangle our souls lose their strength. We’re set free by something infinitely greater—the power and presence of our great and infinite God.
DIG: How does God view worry? How does this view often differ from yours?
DISCOVER: What’s the antidote to worry?
DISPLAY: Ask the Lord to help you with worry; to give you comfort and peace as you learn to trust Him more and more.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.