When God gave the command, “Do not worry,” that was not optional.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” — Matthew 6:25, 27
During last offseason in the Cincinnati Bengals’ chapel, we explored 125 questions Jesus asks in Scripture. One of them is: Why do we worry?
You cannot be in faith and fear at the same time. Worry is rooted in sin because you’re thinking about things you have no control over, and failing to trust that God is who He says He is. When Jesus told us not to worry, not only was it not optional, neither was it circumstantial. Worry and faith are two opposing forces, one of which we are called to abandon, the other we are called to grip tightly. When you choose to walk in faith, you have nothing to worry about because you know and believe that God is Sovereign and He is in control of all things.
In Matthew 8:18-27, Jesus and His disciples were in a boat when they were caught a furious storm. Still Jesus asked His followers, “Why are you so afraid?” Because even though the storm came and tossed them about, God’s power remained so much stronger. It didn’t matter what happened in the sea, or that he could and did calm it with a word — He gave the command to go to the other side.
If we take God at His Word, we need to avoid letting fear speak to us about who we are.
“He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!’” — Matthew 6:26-27
Worry was a big part of my life when I was young. My mother was murdered at the age of 17, when I was only 10 months old. I never met my father; my grandmother raised me. I grew up with the tenacity of survival. The greatest fear that I personally struggled with was the fear of failure because I came from nothing. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and then to gain my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. When I came to faith in Christ, I was still running so fast and hard from where I came from that I hadn’t allowed God to reveal to me where He wanted to take me.
God often speaks in pictures. He told Abraham to look at the stars to see just how abundantly He was going to bless him. But if Abraham had let fear block his view of God’s picture for his life, it would have prevented him from discovering the power, scope and blessing of God’s plan. So when God called Abraham to leave his country, without telling him where he was going or how he was going to get there, Abraham had to believe that God would fulfill His promise. By faith, Abraham left.
In my own life, it was hard to rely on God and believe that He had my back. But as I began to place my trust fully in Him, I was able to let go of my pride and my fear. Instead of pursuing my own accomplishments, I was able to pursue Christ glorified. It didn’t matter what my background was or what statistics said, because I began to see the truth and power of Jesus’ words when He said, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
— LaMorris Crawford, Cincinnati Bengals chaplain