As this post goes live, (early spring 2020 in the middle of a world-wide pandemic) fear and worry dominate the thoughts of much of the world in a way we’re not used to. It can feel like things are upside down and all creation has gone mad. But the truth is, even though the global nature of this crisis makes this situation unique and this time feel over the top scary, the reality is, at it’s core, this is really not all that different from any other time in human history.
There are always reasons to be worried. Catastrophe seems always to loom on the horizon. Whether it is global news, or personal tragedy, there are always reasons we find ourselves scrambling to find our footing. That’s why seeking God in a crisis is something we must not simply learn how to do, but must make our go-to response in life.
That’s why today we’re going to examine some passages of Scripture and seek to put together a little battle plan (we’ll build it as we go, but you can find the whole thing at the end) for the perplexing times in our lives. Let’s look at some Bible verses about worrying about the future and see what God has told us about how to handle ourselves in times of trial.
Our Go-To Bible Verses about Worrying about the Future
We’ve all come to expect to have Philippians 4:6-7 quoted to us when we’re struggling (along with Proverbs 3:5-6). Consequently, we can start to lose sight of the wisdom in these passages. When Scripture is used flippantly to minimize the real pain and sorrow in our lives, we must remain vigilant to never allow the triteness of others to overshadow the insight offered to us through God’s Word!
I suggest we look at a bigger chunk of the passage to put the verses in context and see how these incredible Bible verses about worrying about the future can be applied in our lives.
Philippians 4:4-8 – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
These verses offer us a starting point to begin to develop a strategy (our battle plan) for seeking God in a crisis. Here are the steps I see:
- Let your life be filled with the joy of the Lord. (Here’s a great post from Hope & Joy in Christ on how to cling to the Joy of the Lord.)
- Be considerate in all you do.
- Remember the Lord is coming soon.
- Instead of worrying about anything, pray about everything.
- Tell God what you need.
- Thank God for what He has done.
- Allow God’s peace (which is beyond anything we can understand) to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
- Fix your thoughts on what is:
- Think about things that are:
- Worthy of praise
Bible Verses about Worry to Add to Our Battle Plan
With the help of Philippians 4:4-8, we’ve begun to lay out a battle plan. Now, let’s look more at each of those steps, break them apart, and add more Bible verses about worrying about the future to each one so that we’ll be fully equipped to run to God in every crisis!
1. Fill Your Life with the Joy of the Lord
Psalm 37 talks a lot about worry and trusting God in hard times. I’ve already written a whole post, breaking the chapter apart section by section, (click for the whole post) so I won’t go into too much detail here, but I would like to touch on something that is mentioned there which supports this portion of our battle plan.
Psalm 37:3-7 – Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
The Bible tells us to take delight in the Lord. DELIGHT! Do we do it? There is much about our great God that has the potential to delight us, but do we focus on those things? I suspect that if we do, the Joy of the Lord is ours, but if we do not, joy remains elusive.
This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. If you remember, as Jesus spent some time in the home of His dear friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, there was an incident between the two sisters and Jesus.
Martha, wanting very much to make sure Jesus’s time in her home was pleasant and comfortable was running around taking care of all the details. The Bible tells us she was worried about them.
In the meantime, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’s feet. Simply soaking in His presence.
Martha was really annoyed with her sister and complained to Jesus. Here was His response:
Luke 10:41 – But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus was pleased because Mary was delighting in Him, and as she did, all other worries and cares vanished. May we learn to do the same!
2. Be Considerate in All You Do
If you look back at the passage from Psalm 37 we just looked at, you’ll see that it too suggests we trust in the Lord and do good as part of our strategy to not worry. Of course that means we’ll actively look for ways to help meet the physical needs of others, but here’s another passage that I believe helps us understand our role as followers of God in times of crisis:
Proverbs 12:25 – 26 – Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.
We have a choice. When the world flips upside down, whether it is the whole world or just our own, we have an opportunity to show the world what trusting God looks like. We have a chance to look beyond ourselves and make kindness our focus as we model peace that passes all understanding.
There are plenty of people out there pontificating on the worst case scenarios, warning us of our impending doom, and stirring up general panic. But we have the confidence of knowing our sovereign God remains secure on His throne. Nothing has taken Him by surprise, and nothing will upset His plan.
Let’s not only live our lives demonstrating our confidence in this truth, but let’s take the opportunities presented to us to remind others of it. Let’s look for ways to help people, and in the process show everyone watching that our hope comes from the Lord – the Creator of heaven and earth!
3. Remember the Lord is Coming Soon
Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 – Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
This step in the battle plan is all about focus. Are we focused on today in this life, or eternity in the next? Does the reality of Christ’s return motivate our actions? I can promise you, the paralyzing intimidation of a crisis tends to diminish when our focus is where it belongs!
Luke 12:4-7 – “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the one to fear.
What is the price of five sparrows – two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.“
I’ve written quite a bit both about our accountability before God, and about learning to live our lives walking in the fear of the Lord. I’ve even written a whole series about how the fear of the Lord properly positioned in our lives will free us from all other fear. Rather than take up a lot of space here, I’ll just link to those posts if you’d like to delve deeper into this step in the battle plan.
The point here is that God IS coming back, and we WILL have to give an account for our lives. But we must also remember He loves us more than we can imagine, and has promised to take care of us. So instead of wasting any of our time, energy, or resources on worry, let’s stay focused on Kingdom work!
4. Don’t Worry About Anything, Instead Pray About Everything. (Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done.)
As Christians, we have this wonderful treasure the rest of the world doesn’t have. We have Jesus. He walked this earth, faced trials, resisted temptation, and felt pain. He knows what we’re dealing with, and out of His great love for us, He has invited us to lay our burdens on Him.
1 Peter 5:7 – Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
The Bible assures us our God knows our needs even better than we do, He cares DEEPLY about us, and He has promised to meet us where we are and take care of us.
Matthew 6:25-34 – That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
These truths are all the reason we need to let go of our worries and cares, and to simply come to God in prayer, telling Him what we need and then trusting that He will take care of us. And let’s never forget to thank Him for everything He has already done.
5. Allow God’s Peace to Guard Your Hearts and Minds in Christ Jesus.
While we’re talking about thanking God for what He has done, did you know that is a key component to experiencing God’s peace? There’s a lot more about the connection between thankfulness and the peace that passes all understanding here. For now, I think this verse says it all:
Psalm 127:1-2 – Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.
Peace comes from God. When we rest in Him, we will find peace, which is why seeking God in a crisis is SO important!
6. Fix Your Thoughts on what is True, Honorable, Right, Pure, Lovely, & Admirable. Think about things that are Excellent and Worthy of Praise.
I have always believed this is one of the most important steps in our battle plan to overcome worry by seeking God in a crisis. And yet, of all the Bible verses about worrying about the future, it seems to me verse eight of Philippians 4 is almost always overlooked.
The Bible teaches us that we must capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. We must be vigilant against fear and worry, and replace the thoughts of gloom and doom with things that are true and pure and right.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to figure out what tends to worry you, and then find Scriptures that speak truth into those fears. Memorize those verses and have them ready to go when anxious thoughts arise. Place them around your house in creative ways.
Basically, use your sword (the Word of God) to fight the enemy! Here is one verse that speaks truth into many of our fears:
Isaiah 35:4-6 – Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.“
And when He comes, He will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
God has come, and He has saved us! He has opened our eyes and given us ears to hear. He has healed us and filled us with joy! May our lives be springs of hope gushing out into a dry and weary world, pointing them to our source of living water – our Lord and Savior!
How to Overcome Worry Biblically – A Few More Steps for Our Battle Plan
Let’s go back, for a minute, to Jesus’s teaching on worry. We’ve already looked at Matthew’s account, but now I want us to look at Luke’s. I’ll leave out the part about the birds and the flowers since we already read that from Matthew, but let’s look at a few verses Luke adds that I believe give us a few more important steps to finish off our battle plan.
Luke 12:22-34 – Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing...
And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.
So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
We’re almost done here, but before we close I think we need to circle back to add these last two points to our battle plan. We must
- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and
- ALWAYS trust God to take care of us.
7. Seek the Kingdom of God Above All Else.
Nothing in the Bible tells us we shouldn’t worry because if we follow Jesus our lives will be perfect and free of pain at all times. On the contrary, the Bible assures us that following God will bring us up against a great deal of pain. It might even cost us our lives.
But what we gain in eternity will be so great that the trials of this life pale in comparison. We will have all of FOREVER to spend with Jesus! So with that in mind, we must seek after the things of eternity. We must spend our life on Kingdom work.
1 Peter 3:14-17 – But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way…
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
1 Peter 4:1-2 – So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.
Oh, how I want to live my life with only this one worry – that I do the will of God! How about you?
8. Trust God to Take Care of You.
Finally, as we put all these aspects of our plan together, we must finish it all off with simple trust. Trust in God. He is good, and He is just. He is faithful, and holy, and true. He loves us more than we’ll ever know, and He has promised to take care of us.
Jeremiah 17: 7-8 – But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.
As we continue to lean into our Lord, always seeking God in a crisis, may we remember the warning here and be aware of the deceitfulness of our own hearts! May we be like the tree planted by the riverbank as we make the Lord our hope and confidence by fully trusting Him! May we lay our deceitful hearts at His feet and cry out to Him with this prayer:
Psalm 139:23 – Search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.