Why Worry?

Survival instinct is based on selfishness which is the tap root that drives all worry. The logic of the survival instinct is the basis of the counterfeit system that believes that a person is ultimately and primarily responsible for themselves more than anyone else. If I don't make sure my own needs are met; if I don't provide for my own protection and necessities, then in reality there is no one else who is willing to be that responsible for me, not even God. This is the essence of the counterfeit system.

From this perspective, God is an accessory at best. He is a supernatural resource which individuals can utilize to manipulate, appease or bribe to provide help or benefits when one cannot accomplish something for themselves. Because survival of the fittest is the underlying principle assumed to govern all of life and is the mantra for existence, then it is assumed that God operates on the same principle. Therefore, to get God to provide for us what we need or want we have to figure out how to appeal to His interests to entice Him to give us what we want. We have to figure out what is in the deal for Him that we might be able to offer in exchange for what we want from Him. Thus the principle of economics is seen as part of the foundation of this counterfeit system.

In this belief system it is impossible to believe in true agape-type love. This disinterested mindset – of being willing to bless and provide for others without any self-interest or concern about what is in it for one's self, is simply incomprehensible. It violates the deepest beliefs of the system of this world in which we live and therefore has no credibility. Everyone knows that nothing comes for free; everything has its price because everyone operates on this core principle of selfishness and survival. If there is not something in it for me, something of value that can be received in exchange for what I am willing to give, then there can be no real motivation to let go of what I have to benefit another. When we see God through this lens it makes no sense for us to believe His claims about a care for His children without His expecting something in return.

This belief is reinforced by a misinterpretation of the cause and effect principles in God's system. Because it is an observable fact that there are negative consequences for bad choices in both systems, we assume that this is because God punishes those who don't comply with His demands by withholding blessings, necessities or embedded into our psyche and assumptions that we find God's ways to appear to be the problem rather than our own. Because the things God tries to teach us conflict with what naturally seems logical and sensible, we find ourselves resisting God's principles and give more weight to common sense and assumptions more familiar to our own experience. But this can be a tragic mistake, for in doing so we are actually judging God's system by our counterfeit system instead of allowing God to judge and expose our faulty thinking by the true principles that govern His reality.

I want to return to the original thought that I began with, for it has a vital role in some of the things I am facing right now. To understand the real beliefs that can make things seem so overwhelming can be to greatly reduce their ability to deceive me. And it can also assist me in moving forward into embracing the true principles that can align me to live in relationship with God and how He wants me to live from the heart as I was designed to live. Living from the heart Jesus gave me is to live in right relationship both with God and with everyone around me, though it may for a time feel very abnormal. 'Normal' of course is simply what is familiar and comfortable even when it might be dysfunctional. Normal is itself can be a very subtle deception and must be viewed with suspicion when seeking for truth. Tradition often makes false concepts and practices feel normal and even required while in reality it often prevents us from coming into harmony with the ways of true life. 'Tradition' and 'normal' can become synonyms but that does not make either one of them right.

Over the years I have found myself under intense pressure to worry. Quite often this worry has to do with finances, a very familiar source of worry for many people. When work is scarce, when bills are piling up, when sinking deeper and deeper into debt and threats are being received meant to intimidate me into coughing up money I do not have, the pressure to worry becomes extremely intense.

But worry is a very deceptive method of the enemy to keep me locked into the illogic of his counterfeit system and disconnected from the very Source of provision which I need to resolve my problems. Worry frightens my heart, blinds my mind and arouses strong negative emotions that in turn can produce destructive chemicals in my body that can lead to all kinds of sickness and debilitation. Worry operates on the assumption that I am the one ultimately responsible for getting myself out of my mess and if God is involved it will only be in the ways described previously.

Because principles of economics dictate the line of reasoning that my brain uses for problem solving along with the principles of arbitrary law and hierarchy (all based on the fundamental principle of selfishness both in me and in God), the only way I can think about how to solve my difficulties is by creating some formula that relies on these methods to get out of my mess. In addition, there is also the added weight of feeling guilty for allowing myself to get into such a bad situation and assuming that maybe God is upset with me and punishing me for violating His rules about such things. But this only creates resistance inside of me to seeking His help because, based on the principles on which I assume life operates as listed above, I have to figure out what I can offer Him to get Him to give me the needed money to get me out of debt. I also have to figure out how to get Him to quite making me feel so guilty and condemned as well and to forgive me.

Do you begin to see how these false underlying principles infect our way of reasoning that we use as a template in nearly everything we think about in our relationship to God? Because we subconsciously assume that God operates with similar motives and uses the same principles with which we are familiar and which are used by nearly everyone around us, we discount, discredit and disbelieve anything that does not align with these fundamental assumptions about reality. Thus the counterfeit system of our existence based on the 'counterfeit trinity' as I call it, the three foundations of civilization listed above, dictate what we perceive as true and what we reject as ineffective, even if we read it in God's Word.

  • Worry insists I am the one ultimately responsible to get myself out of the mess I got myself into.
  • Worry maintains that the principles that have guided my choices all of my life are the only right way to think, to reason, to use in order to find valid solutions.
  • Worry demands that I have some idea of how my needs are going to be met or I am irresponsible. I have to be in control to some extent or another.
  • Worry assumes, though usually out of sight of my conscious thinking, that God relates to me with similar motives th that there has to be something in it for Him, that the system of 'balance' that we call 'justice' has to be satisfied in one way or another before God can be willing to come to our aid and deliver us from our problems. We simply cannot let go of our tenacious grip on what we believe about reality and the principles that define it.

    But this unwillingness to challenge our assumptions about what defines true reality is the very block that keeps worry so present in our lives. Our unwillingness to believe in a God who desires to move us out of this system entirely and learn to live from our heart in ways that reflect His heart of totally other-centered love, requires a transformation of perceiving that Jesus calls death and rebirth. Religion has reduced the impact of these teachings to be merely anemic symbols that have little impact on our underlying assumptions. We think that religion is simply learning to keep up routines of pious activities at certain times, to subscribe to a set of beliefs that we profess to embrace and to maintain good appearances by conducting our lives in a responsible way so as not to hurt other people too much.

    There may be variations of how intense one might be caught up in these practices, but overall most of us, I am convinced, still miss the main point of how truly radical God's ways are in contrast to our ways of thinking. God says that His ways are not our ways, and our thoughts are not His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). This is far more true than most of us are willing to admit yet, but if we do not allow Him to challenge our deepest assumptions about the underlying fundamental principles that define how we perceive reality we will continue to fall short of discovering the liberating truth that can set us free of the constant presence of worry and fear and confusion that keeps us so close to this world.

    I am exploring this issue, not because I like to mentally expostulate on theology but because I am seeking to get to the root of how to confront my own temptation to worry over very real and current circumstances. I want to see how the principles of God's system apply in practical ways to my own situation so as to disarm the power that worry tries to wield over my emotions. Worry is constantly attempting to insert itself into my thinking. But as I analyze its supposed logic, I can immediately discern all sorts of counterfeit assumptions that are inherent in its unbelief.

    I want to move ahead into living more securely in faith by responding to circumstances based on a settled belief in God's principles, fundamental principles that I have been learning about and piecing together for the past few years. I don't want to have merely a professed philosophy about God and His ways; rather I want to believe and abide in a God who is like what I have been learning about but who is radically different than the God taught by religion. The God promoted by pretty much every religion I have seen is a God who operates using principles that we use to define our civilization and the ways we do things in this world. But what I am discovering lately is a God who functions in ways often completely foreign to the ways we consider to be normal and even necessary.

    I am convinced that the closer I come to aligning my thinking and reasoning processes to the principles that I am starting to discern in God's Word, principles that apparently define how the rest of the universe functions quite nicely, I will find my own life and my spirit especially coming into peace no matter what may happen in my outward circumstances. This is the direction I want to move.

    One thing that becomes a serious obstacle to moving forward in my understanding and application of these true principles is my tendency to make judgment calls about the validity of these ideas based on the counterfeit systems. If a person chooses to experiment with trusting God with all their heart and depending on Him to lead and provide all their needs and their financial situation then deteriorates further instead of improving, it is very easy to fall into the trap of assuming they have made a mistake. The counterfeit system is filled with reinforcements, penalties and rewards meant to keep us firmly believing in its validity. Thus it can be very easy for us to evaluate the truth of God's system based on how well it seems to work in our counterfeit system of reward and punishment. But this can only produce confusion and deception, for again, God's system is completely outside the ways of men.

    Worry reinforces the counterfeit system and its power is proportional to the extent that we subscribe to the validity of that system. When one moves away from belief in that whole system and seeks to completely disconnect from it in favor of embracing God's true system, it will feel very disconcerting for awhile because it is so unfamiliar and different. But as we continue to choose to reject the old logic and embrace what God says as actually true and immerse ourselves in the Word and listen to His Spirit, we will find that the true system actually does deliver what God says it can and that His system is the only way to find true peace, satisfaction and fulfillment.

    I want to see more clearly and simply how to attack my temptation to worry about life head-on and effectively disarm its appeal completely. I want to learn to focus on the truth that worry seeks to keep obscured from me that could expose its complete fallacy and illogic. I want to see how the clear principles of heaven make worry seem not just foolish but expose it as destructive to my soul.

    God is love – agape love. That means that because I am created and loved by God, His nature is to take care of His children and I need to embrace that view of Him and reject the lies that worry fees on. God does not subscribe to the principles of economics as we do. And although He has often had to speak to humans using human language and human terms to get us to listen at all, that does not imply that He embraces the principles behind some of those terms. Economics, artificial Law and Hierarchy are all inventions of the enemy and are the basis of the whole counterfeit alternative system that we live under on this planet introduced by sin. But in no way should I confuse their pervasive presence in every area of my life here with how God runs His business. I should never judge God or His methods relying on these counterfeit standards. I need to turn from them and seek to better understand and embrace the ways and principles of heaven.

    Because God does not operate using these false systems of control, I can embrace the things He says about His true system and find freedom, joy and peace in the face of any situation or threat. But I must fill my mind and heart with the explanations and revelations of His ways and principles and consistently apply them to every circumstance to displace my old 'normal' ways of thinking. I must have new eyes, new glasses, new filters, even a new heart that is reflective of the way God originally designed for me in which I can thrive and become more fully alive.

    Thus, when I find my financial situation in dire straights, I can remind myself that I have been praying for greater faith and this is one way God arranges to answer my prayer. Instead of getting upset about that I can rejoice in trials like I am told to do in James. But this rejoicing cannot be superficial but must come from a heart that embraces truth about God's genuine selfless love for me and His promise to supply all of my needs. Again, this all has to engage the heart, not just be a mental gymnastic exercise or else it will soon collapse and drop me into deeper depression and unbelief. When climbing a cliff to achieve better perspective up higher, it is dangerous to keep looking down and become terrified by the height and the potential of falling. The safest way to succeed in climbing is to keep looking up and learn to trust what one has learned about the right techniques for safe climbing.

    One of the most important secrets to successfully climbing out of old ways of thinking is to saturate the mind and heart with the ever-increasing revelations of truth about God and His ways. If we fail to do this and become satisfied with shallow or stagnant growth, we will find it extremely difficult to arrive at new heights. We may admire others who describe finding exciting new views from greater heights that thrill our hearts with desires to experience something similar. But unless we ourselves choose to practice methods and embrace principles that they have discovered, we can only experience their joy vicariously but will miss out on the vital character development that each person must experience for themselves by responding to the invitations of the Spirit to 'come up higher'.

    I must confess that I am sensing God calling me to come up higher in my own perceptions and ways of processing reality more than before. It may involve a thrill of fear that often accompanies such an invitation and the temptation to look back can be strong. But looking down gives the heart a wrong perspective and can easily confuse and terrify the mind when what it really needs is a greater confidence that can only be received by focusing the attention like a laser on what is being learned about God and His agape character of pure love.

    When God's agape love becomes the fundamental reality from which everything else is derived, then all the conclusions and assumptions and choices based on that reality will be radically different than what has been experienced in the past. If I fail to resist the temptation to take things into my own hands and rescue myself when things look impossible, I will find my grip slipping off the rock and may tumble down the rough surface to experience terror and suffering that only reinforce the lies of the enemy.

    But if I choose to believe by faith that God cares about me and is committed to doing what is best for me irregardless of what my feelings or logic or common sense is telling me (along with plenty of other people ready to reinforce those lines of reason), I could find myself moving forward into unfamiliar territory that can feel very frightening at first. But my level of fright even then is proportionate to how much I still doubt God's care for me.

    What I am beginning to see more clearly is that all of my fear is proportionate to how much unbelief still lurks in my heart about God's love for me. Unbelief always produces fear as seen time and again in the experience of the disciples of Jesus. Not until Pentecost when they finally broke through to a radically new vision of what God is really like as seen in the life and teachings of Jesus did they begin to throw aside their fears, reject the world's logic system for viewing their circumstances and plunge into the eternal kind of life based on God's way of living. The astonishing history of the lives of those early believers is powerful testimony that anyone can enter into this kind of joy-filled living if they will only follow the path that those early believers embraced.

    I keenly sense that each time I am tempted to worry about anything, in reality I am being offered a choice. The choice is about which system I will choose for interpreting my circumstances. The outcome of my first choice will radically determine the outcome of which way I decide to respond to my situation. Logic, reason and even advice from friends can all have a powerful pull on my mind to gravitate toward what feels reasonable and sensible. But if I am alert and listening to the Spirit I often sense there are fallacies lurking behind that logic that can serve to ensnare me back into the counterfeit way of living.

    On the other hand, if I choose to rely more on the new things I am learning about God, about reality and the principles that are starting to emerge into my awareness about God's ways of viewing things, it may feel tenuous and uncertain at first to act on those new parameters. But based on a growing confidence that God's ways are the best ways forward I can choose to learn to live in a new way of genuine faith, to trust His heart to guide me even through my growing pains. Am I afraid of making some wrong choices? Most likely I will from time to time. But because I am coming to see that God is not waiting to punish me for mistakes but is delighted that I am willing to take risks in order to grow closer to Him, He is eager to catch me when I tumble like a proud parent with a baby learning to walk.

    If I trust God instead of desperately thrashing about looking for employment to provide for myself, will God punish me for being irresponsible? I am starting to reject the reward/punishment system inherited from the counterfeit. And while things may get worse, or they might not – that is in God's hands – I must remind myself that God in no way ever changes no matter what choices I might make. God's heart is always, consistently and irresistibly filled with untamable, passionate love and desires only my good.

    'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' (Jeremiah 29:11)

    My part in cooperating with God's plan to salvage me is to discipline my mind to resist negative emotions that open the door for unbelief and fear that blind me to the ways of God. I am not talking about living in denial of reality. But I am learning that what one defines as reality reflects gut beliefs about what we think about God. Anything that involves making me afraid of what may happen to me is tainted with fear produced by belief in the counterfeit system and unbelief in God's ways. Perfect love destroys the power of fear. I will certainly be tempted to fear; but what I choose to do with the fear that grabs me will determine whether that fear can find a place to take root and further infect my life or whether I will face that fear head-on and uproot it or spray it with weed-killers.

    I want to fill my mind with the weed-killers of God's potent truths found in His Word that can overcome and destroy every lie of the enemy meant to keep me in the darkness about God's love. What has been impressed on me over and over recently is the following description of part of what it means to do this in my own mind:

    We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

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