The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
Why are people filled with worry and anxiety? Today we will look at a couple of the major causes of worry in our lives.
First, some of the worry we experience is caused by a wrong value system. The Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte once talked about our tendency “to hang very heavy weights on very thin wires.” For example, we hang the heavy weight of our happiness on our health, only to have that wire snapped by a bad report from the doctor. Or we hang the heavy weight of our security on our job, only to have it snapped by an economic downturn. Or we hang the heavy weight of our purpose in life on our family, only to have it snapped by a traffic fatality. We will always be filled with worry when we build our lives around things that can be taken away from us. Deep down, we know how tenuous those things are, and we have a low-grade worry that stays with us whenever we build our lives around those things. I think Jesus had more in mind than just money when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
A second source of worry in our lives could be unconfessed sin. Whenever we willingly violate God’s standard, we have a heavy anxiety as we expect God’s discipline. When we know we are living apart from God, it produces dread and anxiety. Contrast that to the peace of mind that comes from righteousness. In Isaiah 32:17, Isaiah said, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” We see a contrast between unrighteous and righteous living in the story of Daniel. In Daniel 6, three commissioners manipulated King Darius into signing an edict prohibiting anybody from praying to anyone other than Darius. Daniel heard about the edict, but “he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God” (v. 10). Daniel had a peace that allowed him to continue praying to God despite the edict. Notice the contrast between Daniel’s response and that of Darius. When Darius signed that edict that he knew violated God’s command, he “went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him” (v. 18). That is the difference between righteous and unrighteous living. Daniel’s response was peace. Darius’s response was anxiety, because he knew he was violating God’s Word. Unconfessed sin can be a source of anxiety.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Winning over Worry” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Quote from Alexander Whyte taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 310.