Yesterday was a great time of worship. I was a little 'anxious' about preaching a sermon on 'anxiety'. Kind of ironic, huh? I spent more time than usual studying and praying for this sermon, but still on Sunday morning, I felt really unprepared. I find it really difficult to preach and/or teach on passages of Scripture that I, myself have a hard time wrapping my heart and mind around, and this one was one of those.
One thing that I told the congregation was just what I stated, that this was going to be a difficult sermon for me, due to my struggles with anxiety. My struggles with anxiety have always haunted me, and now are a major contributor to my daily stomach problems. I would have to say that this is a sin that I struggle with the most.
In the end, I feel like it was one of the best sermons that I preached, to date. I know that sounds conceited, but the reason I can say that and not feel bad is two fold. First, I was able to stand before my congregation and let them know just how difficult the week was, and also to let them know that their pastor understands the struggle of worrying. Second, it allowed me the opportunity to use personal examples of how real this struggle is, and really make a connection with the people. What I didn't want to do was just stand before them as someone who seems to have it all together and proclaim that victory over anxiety was plainly just belief in Jesus and everything else will be alright.
I know that this is a true statement, but it doesn't help them that much in their current reality. I was able to expositionally go through each of the 10 verses and explain the arguments that Jesus gives for not worrying. Then take those arguments and apply them to our everyday lives.
All in all it was a terrific service, and thanks to my worship leader, John, for following the leading of the Spirit and helping prepare us for the sermon through music and reflection. I saw people really engaged with the sermon, and I hope that others, like me, were confronted with the danger of spending our day worrying about tomorrow. The central truth was that God gives us the mercy and grace and strength to get through today, but the reason we fill overwhelmed at times, is mostly due to our anxiety about tomorrow. The Bible tells us that tomorrow will worry about itself, but since today has enough troubles for today, we need to focus on seeking the kingdom first and all these things (basic needs, mercy, strength and grace) will be added to us, daily for that day.