Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
A thief is running loose in our midst. He is a dangerous thief. He is stealing the things that are most important to us—including our joy, our energy, and our peace of mind. What is the name of this thief? Worry. The English word “worry” comes from a German word that means to strangle. That’s what worry does. It strangles out our physical and emotional energy. Corrie ten Boom once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
I think one of the greatest examples of the devastating power of worry comes from the Second World War. During World War II, which took place from 1941 to 1945, more than 300,000 Americans were killed in combat. But during that same period of time, over one million Americans died from heart disease, primarily caused by worry. Think about that a moment. During World War II, more people died from anxiety than died from combat. That’s the power of worry. Dr. Charles Mayo, founder of the famous clinic by his name, estimates that half of the hospital beds today are filled with people who have worried themselves there.
Worry not only drains us of our physical and emotional strength, but it also saps our spiritual strength. When Jesus told the parable of the soils, He said that everyone who hears His Word can be represented by the four different types of soil, which demonstrate different conditions of the human heart in response to the seed of gospel. Jesus described one kind of soil as the heart that received the Word of God but was choked out by worry. He said in Luke 8:14, “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” Notice of all of the things Jesus said that strangle out a person’s spiritual interests, at the top of the list is worry. Worry saps us spiritually.
Jesus never meant for us to worry ourselves to death. In fact, one of the lasting legacies that Jesus left to us was the gift of peace. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Unfortunately, many Christians today, perhaps even you, are not experiencing the gift of peace that Jesus wants you to enjoy. What is peace? It is the assurance that God is in control in spite of what is happening around you. This week, we will learn how you can experience God’s peace and win over worry.
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 Corrie ten Boom, “Clippings from My Notebook” (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).
Statistics from Mack R. Douglas, “How to Make a Habit of Succeeding” (New York: Pelican, 1966), 77.