3 keys to overcoming worrying

Senior Pastor Benny Ho, Faith Community Church // August 16, 2018, 5:08 pm

3 keys to overcoming worry

Worry is wrong thinking in the mind and wrong feelings in the heart over circumstances, situations, people and things.

When Paul tells the Philippians not to worry but to instead “rejoice in the Lord always”, he is issuing a command. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Rejoicing is not just an emotion of the heart. It is an act of the will. Why does Paul command the believers to rejoice? What is the basis of our joy? Paul continues in the next verse, “The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

God is with us – He is our ever-present help in times of trouble. The Lord Jesus is omnipresent and is coming back soon. Yes, Jesus will conquer the powers of darkness and put all things right. The day will come when all sorrows are gone and all tears wiped away.

But in the meantime, worries and anxieties are our greatest joy-stealers. Worry is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against the Church. This is why in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He spends the most time expounding on worry (Matthew 6:25-34).


1. Pray correctly

I am so glad that Paul does not tell us: “Do not worry. Just forget it”. Some people say to the worrier: “Put it out of your mind,” “Don’t think about it,” or “Forget it.” This seldom works. Paul said: “Face up to it,” “Confront it,” “Deal with it” and “Take the bull by its horns.”

But first do it before God in prayer!

O, what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

The Bible instructs us: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), and “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1).

A problem that is not worth praying about is not worth worrying about. Do not worry about anything but pray about everything. It is not “Don’t worry, be happy.” Rather it is, “Don’t worry because your Heavenly Father knows…” 

Are you praying stock prayers?

Remember always to introduce God into your problem, present your problem to God and give thanks for what He has done.

You will realise that the result of correct praying is that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (garrison) our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus – meaning it will guard our hearts against wrong feelings, and our minds against wrong thinking (Philippians 4:7-8).

A problem that is not worth praying about is not worth worrying about. Do not worry about anything but pray about everything.

When we pray, what rules our hearts and minds is the peace of God, not worries and anxieties. And it is a peace that transcends understanding. What does that mean?

The Psalmist gives us a clue in Psalm 46: The earth gives way. Mountains fall and quake. Waters roar. Nations are in uproar. Kingdoms fall. Yet, the Psalmist says: “Be still, and know …”

There is an inner peace. Correct praying leads us to that inner peace.

2. Think correctly

True peace involves not just the heart but the mind as well. 

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Wrong thinking results in wrong feelings, which in turn fuels further wrong thinking. Often, our fears are more perceived than real. We imagine things to be worse than they really are.

Paul urges the Philippians: “After you have prayed, petitioned and given thanks to God regarding your circumstances, you must think right” (Philippians 4:8). Your mind must be focused on the right things.

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB)

What you think about all day long, you become. Your thoughts become actions. Your actions develop into habits. Your habits form your character. And your character defines your destiny.

Facing the giants in your life

What, then, should our minds be preoccupied with?

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:9 that we should think about whatever that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.

If you are not convinced that Paul gives good advice, see what happens when we do the opposite? Think about whatever that is false, depressing, despicable, wrong, unclean, vulgar, ugly or bad. How would you feel? Certainly not joyful or peaceful, but anxious and worried, right?

we need to meditate on the Word every day

It is important to let our minds be filled with peace, calm, serenity and joy (the right things) and not worries, self-pity or condemnation (the wrong things).

That is why we need to meditate on the Word every day, and receive God’s promise for His children: “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15 KJV).

3. Live correctly

If you want to conquer worry and anxiety and live in God’s peace and joy, it is not enough to pray correctly and think correctly. You need also to live correctly.

We cannot separate inward attitude and outward action. Correct praying and correct thinking must in the end lead to correct living.

“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

Live it out. Do it. Do the will of God. These are the godly essentials that we need to espouse all the time.

We cannot separate inward attitude and outward action. Correct praying and correct thinking must in the end lead to correct living.

Methodist minister and author Leslie Weatherhead once said: “One tip to overcome worry is to do anything that can be usefully done. Instead of worrying half a night about a letter you have to write, sit up in bed and draft it out. If nothing can yet be done, at least decide what to do.”

In other words, turn the futile activity of worrying into useful action. Do not let your worries paralyse you. Let them revitalise you. One of the best things we can do with worries is to let them drive us to positive action, godly action. That is correct living.

Remember God’s promise in Isaiah 30:15? That is not all: “your eyes will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).

Our times of right praying and right thinking in God’s presence must bring us the strength to move into right living. Then “the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

From the peace of God to the God of peace. You see, God is careful about whom He keeps company with!

To find out more about “Managing Your Emotions”, Pastor Benny Ho’s book on overcoming negative emotions for a life of abundance, visit his resource page to find out more.