Sinning By Worry? (ATP) 

Question: Is all fear and worry sin? 

In society worry has been treated almost like a badge of honor and in Christianity it has been treated like a sin. I don’t really believe it’s either. Let me explain. 

Over the years I have heard it preached that it is a sin to worry and to be in fear. However, I don’t believe you can be human and not experience fear and worry. It seems to me that God, who made us human, would have totally understood this. We live in a fallen world, and we have to experience consequences of that fallen world, two of such are worry and fear. I’m not sure that it is scripturally accurate to call those things sin. That can tend to put good Christians in bondage. That being said, I don’t believe it’s God’s heart for us to live in worry or in fear. Let’s look at the Bible because it has a lot to say about both fear and worry. 

Look at what the Old Testament has to say about fear. Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” David is expressing how fear comes as we walk through darkness but that when walking through that darkness we can make a conscious decision not to fear, knowing who walks with and protects us. This is faith, not that fear doesn’t come, but that we can make a decision that fear won’t rule over us, choosing to trust God instead and act accordingly.  Again and again in the Old Testament we see the people of God told not to be afraid but it’s always because of who God is that His people can go forth without fear not because they just won’t experience fear. Now, I want to bring your attention to the testimony of the Israelites when they were told to enter the promised land. Remember how they were told that the land was flowing with milk and honey, and that that was what God had for them, but when the spies went to spy out the land, they saw giants in the land. They called themselves grasshoppers in their sight, afraid of their own weakness. But even in this situation, it wasn’t the fear that was the sin. It was the decisions they made because of the fear. Their fear caused them to rebel against God and His plan. They never did inherit His promises. 

Now let’s look at worry. Just as with fear, God calls us again and again not to live in worry. Why is that, because worry is sin or because worry only hurts us? Look at Luke 12:25, “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?” Of course in this context, if you continue reading, you’ll see it’s regarding how you’re going to be taken care of, fed, clothed, etc. It’s not that worrying makes you a dirty, rotten sinner, it’s that worry can’t help you or any situation. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I find it interesting that the Bible tells us it’s actually humility that causes us to come to the Lord with our worries and our fears and our anxieties and casts them onto Him asking for His help, knowing we can’t do it alone. He knew we would have plenty of opportunity to worry, to fret and to become anxious in this world. He was never looking to punish us for that, but to give us a source of help and peace.  

Look finally at 1 John 4:18 (NKJV), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Fear involves torment, that means it’s painful! God’s solution? Love. His perfect love. What is that love? That even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), and that love is the reason we can trust God to get us to the other side of those things we worry about and fear. I think that it is important for us not to look at worry and fear as sin, but to look at them as things that only hurt and rob from usand our relationship with the Lord. Besides this, I think we need to start looking at how wonderful it is that God saw these things coming and gave us away of escape. Don’t condemn yourself for experiencing fear or worry, but focus instead on building your trust in the Lord through time spent getting to know Him. Remember, He no longer just walks with us, but in us! 

Be Blessed,

Pastor Renée