Worry and Fear: Enemies of the Faith

Student Ministries Catalyst

It was the Fall Semester, 1980. I was the Baptist Student Union Director at Texas A & I University. One of my assigned tasks was teaching Bible courses as an adjunct instructor. As I came into the classroom, the following was written anonymously on the blackboard: “A worrying Christian is a practicing atheist.” Ouch, maybe a little harsh, but it does point to the fact that there is no positive benefit to worry. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is clear, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all that he has done.” (Phil. 4:6 NLT)

“Don’t worry!” That is easier said than done. Worry like temptation is inevitable. The question is not, “will I be tempted to worry?”, but “how will I respond when the temptation to worry comes?”

One reason God cautions against worry is that it leads to fear, fear of the known and the unknown. This kind of fear does not come from God. What he gives us instead is “power, love and self-control.” (2 Tim 1:7 ESV)

No doubt the disciples are both worried and afraid in that upper room as Jesus tells them that he would soon be taken from them. Hear his words of comfort, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV)

Isaiah told the people of his day about God who not only issues a call to service, but that this call comes with a promise. Hear his words as they echo across the ages. “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:9-10 ESV)

Life is filled with uncertainty. These days are no different. When uncertainty threatens, look to the one who is the constant…” and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7 ESV)

“Father, help us to remain focused on your call and let us not be distracted by worry or fear. Amen.”