skip to Main Content

Episode 12 of Kindavangelical just released! The Art and Joy of Civil Conversation

Overcoming Worry
5-DAY READING

You don’t need news and social media to tell you what you know in your heart: The world is not as it’s meant to be! But rather than walk with fear through a fallen world, you can hold fast to the promises of Jesus. In this 5-day reading plan, Pete Briscoe shines the light of Christ on your deepest worries and fears—encouraging you to depend completely on His Spirit.

Day 1

Already, but not yet

God created man because He loves good stories. — Elie Wiesel

We’re living in an interesting chapter of the “Great Story” of human history. Eden is in the past. A great crisis emerged because sin separated humanity from a righteous and Holy God. Then came the climax of the cross where Jesus heroically sacrificed Himself so that we might have unity and intimacy with our Creator once more.

Is that the end of it? Not at all! Christ will return again, and human history as we know it will blossom into the full-blown Kingdom of God—reestablished throughout the universe, 100%.

But we aren’t there yet. We’re living in the “already, but not yet”—a finite season where the Spirit of God is renewing men and women who draw near to Him in faith. He makes grace known to us by transforming us from the inside out, even as the world and our own bodies weaken and wane.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

How is your heart today? Are you worried about external fears and uncertainties? Or are you experiencing the peace of inner renewal?

Heavenly Father, give me eyes to see the unseen so that I might walk by faith in a decaying body through a world that is going from bad to worse. Open my mind to Your Word that I might be able to embrace this season of in-betweenness and celebrate what You have done in me through Christ. Amen.

Day 2

A plan for piercing worry

The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress. — Billy Graham

I was a worrywart… big time. All throughout my childhood, teenage years and college, worry almost seemed to be some sort of a badge of honor—something that gave significance to my life.

Then I married Libby, and with my beautiful bride came a whole new category of worry. Libby worked in Milwaukee—about a 45-minute drive from our home. On snowy nights I’d be waiting for her to get home… worrying. This was before cell phones, so she couldn’t call me if she was running a little behind. More than once, she’d come home and happily bounce in the door only to find me in tears of fear and worry. Thankfully, God’s Word—the Sword of the Spirit—intervened and cut deeply into that situation.

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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:25-27)

The familiar words cut deeply. Jesus said, “Do not worry,” and the Holy Spirit said to me, “Pete, your worry is not some little personality quirk or sign of commitment. If Jesus says ‘don’t’ and you still do, what does that make your worry?”

The conclusion was obvious: Worry is the exact opposite of trust and faith. Worry is a sin to bring before the Lord. It took me to my knees asking, “Jesus, do something about this!” He did. Through the Word and the Spirit, Jesus redeemed me from worry completely. He can do the same for you.

That’s God’s Word in action. That’s the Sword of the Spirit which Paul calls us to take up as part of the armor of God in the battles we fight every day.

My battle that day was against worry. What’s yours today?

Father God, by the power of Your Spirit in me, and by the truth of Your Word, the Sword of the Spirit, I stand aside and ask that You would show me the places where my life is out of line with Your truth. Do something, Jesus. Do something, Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 3

The fear foe

It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears. — Helen Keller

I remember listening to Neal Anderson speak. He gave a fabulous example of what fear is all about—the kind of fear that robs us of faith:

“In order for fear to happen, there needs to be something that we’re afraid of that is both present and potent.”

Present. It has to be here, now.

Potent. It has to be a strong threat to something important.

Fear causes faith to shrink in timidity. It’s the primary reason we choose to not trust God:

  • We’re afraid God’s presence might not be with us.
  • We’re afraid we don’t have the resources to thrive.
  • We’re afraid of how we’ll be treated for believing God’s Word.
  • We’re afraid of letting things go and allowing His Spirit to lead us.

Hear this: The Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient… Omni-Everything God says, “What are you afraid of? I’m more potent than anything that’s come in front of you, and I am always present in you and around you. Besides, I know about everything and I love you more than you can imagine or understand. TRUST IN ME!”

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Lord, my heart’s desire as an individual, as a saint, as a child of God is to walk in moment-by-moment dependence as You live Your life through me. Jesus, enable me to do just that—enable me to trust You. Even faith is a gift from You, Jesus. Please give me that gift, too!  So, I offer myself to You that I might experience life in who I really am in union with Christ, the Son of God, and the King of Kings. I pray these things in Jesus’ precious name. Amen!

Day 4

The faith formula

Faith combined with hope grows into trust. — Brennan Manning

Honestly, deep down inside, don’t we all search for the magic formula that will get us what we want? The quirky ritual that makes our team score… The calculation that gives us the winning lottery numbers… The actions that make people love us… The prayers that twist God’s arm to get Him to do what we want.

But, despite our misdirected searches for happiness and meaning, there’s a better formula that works every time.

Faith + hope = trust.

That’s the equation for life.

Faith can be simply defined as bringing everything to Jesus—being honest about our hopes and fears and trusting in Him for everything. Period. We even see it played out in Scripture. Consider the desperate dad of a boy possessed by a violent demonic spirit. He brought his son to Jesus and cried out an honest request:

“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)

The man’s trust was so-so and his hope was weak. Yet, in faith, he brought his desire to Jesus seeking healing.

Faith is bringing everything to Jesus. Faith + hope = trust. What do you need to bring to Him right now?

Father, I’ve spent years trying to pump up my own faith so that when I pray, I can pray with confidence. The truth is I believed this confidence would get me what I want. Father, I’m ready to stop trying and start bringing. In fact, this prayer is the first step. I bring to You my misunderstanding of faith. May Your complete knowledge abound in me. Amen.

Day 5

Leaning on His leading

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts. — Mother Teresa

It’s one thing to know about faith; it’s another to live by faith. How do we depend on Jesus in everyday life?

  • Deliver the burden to God.
  • Rest in Him.
  • Depend on Him.
  • And then do what He says in the power of the Spirit.

That’s it? That’s it.

Most of us can make it through the first three, but then we get stuck on the last one. The big question is always, “How do I know what Jesus is saying to me?”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

God communicates however He desires, but starting with Scripture is always a good idea. We can also listen to friends and mentors—making sure to take their advice back to the Bible to see if it parallels.

God desires to communicate and has given His Spirit to guide you. Take your burden to Him. Trust that He knows. Depend upon Him for the resolution. And then act when you’re led to do so. That’s the beginning of great stories.

I once sat next to a couple who were in their 50s. He was a college professor and she was working in retail. Both had been burdened for their city and had taken that burden to God. “It’s hard for the incarcerated,” the wife told me. “When they’re released, they suddenly no longer live in community and are often totally alone.” In faith, the couple continued working their jobs and trusted that He’d let them know when it was time to do something. When we met, they were six months away from moving into a new, transitional community. “Our home will be a healthy, faith-filled community for them. We won’t give them a chance to feel alone.”

That’s just one story of one couple who delivered the burden to God, rested in Him, depended on Him, and then did what He said in the power of the Spirit.

This is the adventure of the Christian life, friends—where life gets excitingly out of our hands. What’s He doing in your story?

Lord, I can barely contain myself. The fact that You desire to give me guidance and lead me in an adventure of faith is more than I can handle. Let’s get started right now, Lord. I’ve been struggling. I’m turning this over to You and am going to wait for You to lead me. I’m depending upon You because You are faithful. Now, I’m listening for You, because You speak. Amen.

Reflection:

  1. What worries do you need to bring before God today?
  2. How has God shown grace to you in times of fear and worry?
  3. How is God calling you to embrace the excitement of the Christian life, even in uncertain times?

Get more teaching from Pete with a daily devotion in your inbox!

Back To Top