Fear of the Future
We are a nation of worriers. All of our worries are always about the future. For example, we worry that:
- We will be left alone in the future.
- We will not know what to do when we get to the future
- We worry that we won’t have enough of what we need in the future
- We worry that we will be hurt by someone or something in the future.
- We worry that we may not make it to the future.
But let me make a clarification.There’s a difference between worry and concern. If you’re not concerned about your children playing in the street in traffic, you’re a bad parent. If you’re not concerned about saving money for the future for your future retirement, you’re foolish. There are certain things that you need to be concerned about. There’s a difference between being carefree and careless.
I’m not talking about legitimate concerns. I’m talking about illegitimate worry. Concern focuses on the present. Worry is attached to the future.
And worry can erode your faith like acid.
Jesus took this fear head on when he said,“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34).
Someone has defined worry as “The interest we pay in advance today for trouble that may never come tomorrow.”
We can take what Jesus said in Matthew 6, and we can take some practical steps that will help us to overcome the fear of the future and keep our anxiety levels at a minimum.
1. Remember how God has performed in the past. One of the great leaders who ever lived was Moses. Moses had a great habit of sitting God’s people down for time to time and just reminding them of what God had done.
If you feel like an Egyptian army is behind you and the Red Sea is before you, go retro and remember how God has delivered you in the past. Remember how God has been faithful in the past, and realize God will be the same God in the present and the future.
2. Realize what God has promised in the present. Beginning in Matthew 6:25, Jesus repeats something three times. Three times He says three words. Here they are–“Do not worry.”
When Jesus talks about worry. He is talking about tomorrow. If you think about it, worry is always about tomorrow. You act in the present. You worry about the future. Once again, we can use the present to teach us how to face the future.
There’s a wonderful promise for our present in Deuteronomy 31: “The Lord Himself will go before you. He will not leave you or forget you, so don’t be afraid and don’t worry.”
Jesus gave a simple piece of advice on how to cure future fright. What was it? Believe it or not become a bird watcher!
Listen to verses 25 and 26,“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds.They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him that they are.”
Have you ever seen a worried bird? Did you know there has never been a bird in medical history that was ever treated for hypertension, high blood pressure, anxiety, or stress?
Think about it.Fear of the future isn’t even for the birds!
3. Rely on what God has planned for the future. If you are a follower of Christ, I can tell you something about your future, in fact I can guarantee it. Here it is. Everything will always work out for good (Romans 8:28).
In my sermon this past Sunday I stated the following: “When Jesus died on the cross it was a monstrous evil and injustice–a great tragedy. But God through it all brought salvation to the world.”
The point is God will force evil to accomplish good.
I want you to remember something as we talk about the past, the present and the future. Yesterday is gone, you can’t change it. Tomorrow is not here, you can’t touch it. All you can do is live in the present. The best thing about the future is it only comes one day at a time. The only day you need to be concerned about is today.
So leave tomorrow alone. When tomorrow comes, God will give you the grace and strength you need for it. For today, you already have the grace and the strength that you need.
Your calendar gives each day its own number. Live them in that order just as God arranged them. Stay in one square at a time. Live one day at at time!