“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #91: How to Defeat the Devil

[Based on the NIV except where specified]

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you’” (Luke 10:17-19).

So we declare that the devil is a defeated foe. The question that begs an answer is: do we see the devil defeated in the life of every Christian? Don’t we see defeated Christians all around?

Indeed we see victory, sometimes total victory, in the lives of some Christians. On the other end we see Christians who are so defeated that they wish they were dead.

Before I got saved, I used to hang out with one young man who looked like he was on fire for God. Then he abandoned the way of the Lord.
“Why did you quit?” I asked him.
“I had realised that there was no God,” came the reply.

The reply satisfied me at the time, because it was consistent with what I believed. But looking back I now realize that Satan had thoroughly defeated the young man. The young man's is a destination we all need to avoid at all cost!

The devil is defeated. This however doesn't mean that the devil does not fight Christians. It doesn't necessarily mean that he just walks away. Neither does it mean that we should relax. What it really means is that if we put our focus on it, we will always emerge victorious over the devil. If we stay prepared, the devil will flee from us. The authority that we have in Christ Jesus is in actual fact potential or capacity, something that becomes useless unless put to use!

In the opening verse, we are told of our authority over the devil. We have to believe this; not only that, but we also need to exercise the authority. If we do not exercise our authority, then the devil will do as he pleases with us, to the extent that the words of Jesus would appear a lie.

An armed person could be defeated by an unarmed one if the armed does not appreciate his superior position. He could be apprehended using bare hands while holding a fully functional, state-of-the-art assault rifle, loaded with a thousand bullets!

The point is that we, as Christians, are superior to Satan. But we will not defeat Satan unless we exercise our superiority!

The question that I am going to address in this sermon is: How could one exercise superiority over Satan? How could they overcome the devil? 

I thank God, because His Word contains the answer(s) that we all need.

I want you to picture a biblical warrior. 

Imagine him getting ready for battle. I am sure you have seen some drawings or films that attempt to capture the images of such warriors. The warriors used to dress in a certain way and carried a specific kind of weaponry. They would, for example, have a helmet on, a covering for the chest and legs in place, a shield and of course a sword in hand!

Below, I am going to give the outlook that you need if you are to overcome the devil each time he comes stooping at your doorstep.

First“I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord's mighty power within you” (Eph 6:10, TLB). 

This is an important lesson. Your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. There is a mighty power within you and that power should be the source of your strength! But what we see in some Christians is that once the devil attacks, they run almost everywhere for solutions.

The Word is telling you that the source of your strength is inside you. So if you've to run anywhere, then you ought to run inside. Some Christians still visit witch-doctors for solutions to their problems; such Christians take the witch-doctor to be the source of their strength. This is unfortunate. 

Years ago, a Christian woman said to me, Mukuwasha, kana zviri zvekuti mwana arwara ini chero kun’anga ndinoenda,” meaning, “If it is about my child’s health, I will never hesitate to visit a witchdoctor. I will do whatever I can.” The question is: did the woman appreciate the ability that had been deposited in her?

Your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you!

Second"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Eph 6:11). 

I have given you a picture of a warrior ready for battle; how the warrior should be dressed and how he should be equipped. Ephesians 6 v 11 is too important to underrate. The verse gives us the outlook that we should have if we are to overcome the devil.

Note that the verse does not instruct us to put on the armor of God; instead, it instructs us to put on the full armor of God. Only then would we be able to effectively stand against the devil’s schemes. Victory is not assured for somebody who puts on partial armor, for the devil will find in that person some weak points to exploit.

Why full armor? It’s because, for example, if the warrior does not have his helmet on, then his head would be exposed. Once Satan sees that the head is exposed, he will go for it! If the warrior does not have a shield in hand, then his entire body is exposed. If he doesn't have his shoes on then his mobility is limited, for his feet are exposed to thorns and other dangerous objects. If he doesn't have the sword in hand, then it becomes difficult to take him seriously! It has to be the full armor.

Third“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph 6:12-13).

For a Christian to overcome the enemy, he needs to first be clear in his mind as to who the enemy is. One shouldn't waste time and resources fighting imaginary enemies; it must be the real enemy! 

If one fights against an imaginary enemy, all it means is that he is already defeated because he is doing nothing about the real enemy. He would be spending his ammunition on the wrong target.

People are never our enemies. Our enemies are never physical. Our battles are never physical. We are not physical beings, but spirit beings. So we have no business fighting in the physical!

Our battles are spiritual, because our enemies are spiritual. Every person who behaves like an enemy is actually being propelled by a spiritual force; so we target not the human being, but the force behind.

We will lose all our real battles if we think they are physical.

After defeating the devil, the Christian should be found standing. Glory to God! It’s only when you have the full armor of God that you will be able to achieve this.

Some Christians achieve shaky victories because they lack certain pieces of the armor of God. At the end of the battle, although having succeeded to drive the evil one away, some Christians appear as though they have passed through a fire; some are badly bruised and some are found not standing, but leaning against trees and rocks. This happens when one exposes part of their territory to the devil.

After defeating the devil, you should be found standing.

Let us now look at the means to victory:

First“With the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14). 

You need to keep the belt of truth buckled around your waist. You should never unbuckle. The moment you unbuckle, the ‘fasten your belt’ sign lights up. If you unbuckle, you expose yourself to the dangers of turbulence. As you travel, as you sleep, as you work, as you make merry, the belt of truth should always be around your waist!

But what is this ‘truth’ that Paul wrote about? Truth is what the Word of God says. Paul said if you are to defeat the devil, then you need the belt of truth. The devil might come in the manner of Goliath. You could see him towering over you, with you appearing like ‘just a boy’. 

But what is the truth? 

The truth is that Goliath is a defeated foe, glory to God! That’s what the Word of God says; that’s the truth. If you appreciate this, then you will defeat Goliath. He might even flee without a fight. But it only happens to those who keep the belt of truth around their waists.

If one does not keep the belt of truth in place, then you will find them defeated, lying down, in need of rescue. And if you ask them how the devil could have defeated them, they are likely to say, “I looked like a grasshopper against him.”

Second“The breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14). Paul was addressing the saints at Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus. So his message is as relevant to us as it was to the Ephesians. We should keep the breastplate of righteousness in place if we are to live victorious lives. The Living Bible uses ‘God’s approval’ in place of ‘righteousness’.

We are the righteous ones of God. But do all Christians keep their righteousness in place? I think it’s not every Christian who does. But what does it mean to keep one’s righteousness in place? First it means that one should always be conscious of this status that has been bestowed on them. They should also understand its importance.

Some Christians actually believe that they are not righteous, and Satan feasts on them because of this. Ignorance is a big disadvantage.

Second, it also means that the righteous should live lives that are consistent with their righteousness. Some of those who appreciate their righteousness actually live like they are not aware of it.

Imagine you bathing a three year old and dressing her nicely. Imagine that you then go on to instruct her to sit on mud. Would she obey your instruction?

“What!” she would exclaim, “You want me to get dirty? Don’t you see how smart I am?” This should be the attitude of the saints of God! 

At one meeting we were taught that among the things that we teach the members of our groups, we should also teach them language. Which language? The language of righteousness of course! The kind that is consistent with our righteous nature. I am sure there are things that you now avoid because due to your righteous nature, they have become repulsive to you.

“Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice” (Philippians 4:8-9).

ThirdYour feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

Paul is talking about the kind of shoes that you should wear. He says the readiness that comes from the gospel shall be your shoes. You go only because the gospel has prepared you for the journey. You overcome Satan only because the gospel has prepared you for it. You put on the readiness and run! The readiness is your shoes!

This demonstrates the importance of the gospel. Without the gospel we can never be ready for anything. Without the gospel Satan will find us unarmed.

How much time do you spend in the gospel, i.e. studying the Word? Remember the more time you spend in the gospel the more prepared you will be to face both the good and the bad.

Fourth“Take up the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16). 

Faith is one’s response to the Word of God. If the Word tells you that you are the dominant one and you believe and act on it, then you have faith. If the Word tells you that Goliath is actually at your mercy, then you should believe and act on that. Whatever the Word says, believe and act on it. Paul says it is by your faith that you could extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. So you need faith; you also need to perpetually grow it and only through the Word could you do so.

Paul said “take up the shield of faith.” It’s within your means.

Fifth“Take the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17). 

Salvation is a process. It does not end at the point of receiving Christ. We are saved over and over and on various issues pertaining to our lives.

Salvation is our helmet. Without it our heads could be destroyed by the enemy’s sword. Paul says “take the helmet”. He does not say “receive the helmet”.

We have come to a point at which we have matured enough to take. The ball is in our court. If one where to go before God and say, “Lord, please give me the helmet,” God would answer, “I actually have been wondering all along why the helmet is still here. It has been available to you for ages but you've not collected it. If you want the helmet then go ahead and take it.”

As we stay in and meditate on the Word, as we shut out the many worldly voices that clamor for our attention, we get to a point at which we take. Glory to God!

Sixth“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). 

Good God! The sword that we use! The weapons of our warfare! Mighty through God! 

The Word of God is our sword. 

The Spirit of God is the sword that we use. This is why we do not fight in the physical. Our weapons are not physical, but spiritual. Just take a moment to reflect on what the Word of God could do in and for your life.

Seventh“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). 

This also is a piece of armor. Prayer; glory to God! We overcome the devil by our prayers. And we do not just pray; instead, we pray ‘in the Spirit”. And we do not pray for just one thing; we pray for various things, we make various requests. 

Neither do we pray just for ourselves, but we also pray for others, whether in our country or abroad, whether we know them or not, whether they hate us or not; as long as there is a genuine cause, we pray. 

As we achieve victory for others, we also achieve victory for ourselves. Satan truly is a defeated foe!

Eighth"With this in mind, be alert" (Ephesians 6:18). 

As I walked through the plains one afternoon, a snake holed up nearby sensed danger. It raised its head so high that it could clearly see 360 degrees. It focused on me as I walked, making sure I kept my distance. The snake remained ready to strike, ready to destroy. I kept my distance. I appreciated the fact that the snake was on high alert. It was ready for the enemy; never to be found napping. That’s how alert we always should be!

There is a lot of noise in this world, but never allow any of it to blur your focus, your alertness. When the evil day comes, the devil should find you ready and alert. Otherwise you will be bruised!

Sermon #90: Raise the Bar

I remember it well; I can visualise it clearly enough

But back then, I thought it was just a game that children played.

There was this game that we used to play while herding cattle and goats down in Njanja, Zimbabwe. I was about nine years old then and had two friends, both roughly my age. We would agree to play a game to entertain ourselves, because watching cattle and goats grazing was to us never an attractive undertaking.

Our options included swimming in the river, playing soccer, bull fighting and high jump. We often preferred high jump.

We would cut three long sticks and find ourselves a sandy place, which normally was close to the small stream that ran through our village. We chose sandy places to protect ourselves from injury, for after jumping, one would need a soft landing, so to say.

We would stick two of the sticks into the sand, about two metres apart and use the third as the crossbar, which we tied to the vertical sticks using string made from the bark of the mutondo tree.

We would then tie the crossbar initially at about half a metre from the ground. Then we would take turns to jump, each contestant evidently eager to emerge the champion.

If we all managed to jump the initial height, we would raise the crossbar a little. We would again take turns to jump. We would continue like this until we reached a level at which only one of us could jump, and that person became the champion, much to the disappointment of the other contestants. Who doesn't want to be the champion?

I noted that those who failed to become champions, me included sometimes, would be greatly disturbed by their failure and would be engulfed by a strong sense of inferiority. The matter would become worse whenever the champion used our failure to tease us. We would also wonder what it was that made the other boy superior. We would then put extra effort in our practice, with a view to eventually dispossessing the defending champion of the crown.

We were never satisfied with the comfort zone; we were always eager to go beyond it. We never kept the crossbar at the same height. Instead, we continued to raise it until we got to a level that was beyond us. Even when we got to this level, we never took that to be the end of the road. We would continue to focus on the game, putting more effort in our practice and competing more and more.

That’s how some people break a world record and then after breaking it they go on to break it again. It’s called 'breaking one’s own record.'

I write today to urge you to keep raising your crossbar; and I am not referring to just one area of your life, because I believe that personal growth needs to be whole and balanced. In every area of your life, in every noble endeavor, you need to keep pushing the boundaries; you need to keep enlarging your territory.

I am never excited by the position called ‘best’. Instead, I respect more the position called ‘better’, because after a ‘best’ there should be a ‘better’. ‘Better’ is always better than ‘best’. That’s how I look at life. People need to keep moving forward. Your life, your speech, your performance, your conduct in general,  should all exhibit continuous progress.

Look at this: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me” [1 Corinthians 13:11, NIV]. I am always inspired by this kind of talk.

What catches my attention most is the fact that Paul spoke in the past tense. He said, “I was a child”. When he was still a child, Paul thought, talked and reasoned like a child. That’s normal. But here is the exciting part: “When I became a man…” Glory to God! I appreciate the substance of it!

Paul said something like, “I was a child at one point, but never remained one; I graduated into a man”. Do you catch this? He said when he became a man, he put childish things away. God help us!

As a child, Paul thought, reasoned and spoke like one. But when he became a man, he pushed all childish things away. But today we have so many men and women who still think, talk and reason like children, causing others much concern. Talking should never be taken to mean the emission of any kind of sound. Rather, the sound ought to be structured, well thought-out and deliberately helpful, otherwise the result would be indigestible.

I often hear people say, “Mungatevedzere zvababa Moyo here?” [Meaning “You should never take Mr. Moyo seriously.”] This is so because even though Mr. Moyo is 50 years old, he still thinks, talks and reasons like an 8-year old.

You need to put childish things away; all of them! Start thinking, reasoning and talking like an adult. This is critical. You either grow up or lose credibility; no two ways to it.

What does the Word of God teach on these issues? It says, “Grow…” [2 Peter 3:18]. Praise God! This is a clear instruction. The Word of God also says, “Set an example...” [1Timothy 4:12]. But if one is living a roundabout kind of life, how could they set an example for others?

When God exhorts you to set an example, His desire would be to see you transformed into a light that shows others the way; a good example.

This teaching should be construed in the context of one’s Christian life, career, education, marriage, family relations, social relations, business, etc. In all the facets of your life, you ought to ever raise your crossbar. Go to a higher level. Seek what’s better and go for it!

I once had the opportunity to listen to the speech of one man who was filled to capacity with divine observation. Here is one of his statements (a rebuke, actually): “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” [Heb 5:12-13, NIV].

This is a serious indictment! The writer was of the view that his audience should have transformed into teachers, but they, unfortunately, were still struggling with elementary issues. What a disappointment it would be for you to awaken to the fact that the person who is supposed to teach you is herself still struggling with vowels (a, e, i, o, u); my goodness!

Back then, I thought high jump was just a game that children played. I have now discovered that the game pointed to fundamental principles of life.

Sermon #89: Focus on People

As I grew up, right from the time when I was just a little boy, I used to ask myself the question, “What should be my number one passion in this world?” 

This was an important question for me, because I seemed to lack real satisfaction in whatever I did.

I struggled with this question for a long time, even when I became an adult. Whenever I thought of my passions or my potential passions, so many of them would come into my mind and I could not even arrange them in order of priority.

So many adults could be struggling with the same problem. They just cannot identify that which would make their lives glorious. So many are living lives devoid of passion, uninteresting lives, lives that are separated from the fire of life.

What, in your view, should be your number one passion or preoccupation in this world? Remember, before you identify your fire, your life will simply be a burden.

I thank God today because I have managed to rationalise my passions to one or two. Not only that, but I have also managed to convince myself of my number one passion, my top priority or preoccupation. What’s striking is the fact that the passion is not something that I had ever dreamt could qualify as one, yet through it I have discovered my reason for living, my reason for existence.

With each passing day I am becoming more and more convinced that I ought to have awakened to this realisation sooner. I am always reminded of the importance of this passion just by looking at developments around me.

If one does not have something they would die for, something for which they are prepared to make a sacrifice, then they are not really living, but drifting, like objects do.

There is need for us to always be subjects in the environments in which we live and operate, not objects. We need to be beams of light that illuminate others even when all that others see is darkness. Our environments should feel our impact. Your environment should feel you.

If your environment does not feel you, it means that there is something that you are not doing for it; you stand accused of the error of omission. When you die, your environment will never notice your absence because it never noticed your presence in the first place. But if you are filled with positive activity, at the time of your death your environment will say, “There goes somebody who left us their majestic footprints.”

So what’s my passion? What’s my top priority? What’s my preoccupation? What do I or should I dedicate my life to?

I have seriously thought about this - my number one priority. I am convinced that there could never be anything better, at least for me. I do not think that there could be something more useful, and my confidence regarding the truth of this continues to rise.

Every time I ask myself what my number one passion ought to be, one word comes to my mind. The word is “people”. Each time I repeat the question the answer comes to me louder – “PEOPLE!”

I have managed to narrow my passions into just one - people. It is people from the beginning to the end. My life is not only about me; it is also about people, so should yours. I am not living for just me; I am also living for others. I learnt this from my Master. People, people and people. How wonderful!

Jesus Christ’s mission was all about people. When they asked Him why he had come, Jesus answered, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” [John 10:10 NIV]. 

Oh how I love this kind of talk! They, they and they. I just love the “they” language! I think that we have spoken the “I” language far too long that we now need to minimize its use. Somebody once declared that a person needs to knock down their “I" and "me" if they desire to live a truly valuable life.

If there is one thing that has killed us as a people, if there is one thing that has impeded our development (both social and economic) in this world, if there is one thing that has driven happiness from our lives and brought untold suffering, it is the “I” mentality, reinforced by the “I” language.

Just consider for a while what kind of world this would be if you cared about the life of the next person to the same extent that you care about your own life.

Now consider what would happen if suddenly everybody in the world cared more about the next person than themselves. We indisputably would be a wonderful people, a great world of great nations!

Here is what Paul taught at some point: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." [Philippians 2:4]. 

Oh how I love the Word of God! We hit our heads on the wall each time we ignore the lessons of life that the Word of God delivers to us. We could solve all our problems in an excellent manner if we stuck to the will of the Father. The above verse has, on its own, immense potential to transform this world into a place remarkable.

Just take a moment to reflect on this. If everybody abided by the teaching given in the verse above:
-Would there be wars?
-Would there be violence?
-Would there be hatred?
-Would there be rape?
-Would there be theft/robbery?
-Would there be murder?
-Would there be drug peddling?
-Would there be human trafficking or slavery?
-Would there be street kids?
-Would there be failed marriages?
-Would there be oppression?
-Would there be jealousy?
-Would there be anger?
-Would there be revenge?
-Would there be corruption?
-Would there be backbiting?
-Would there be grudges?
-Would there be….?

No. There wouldn't be!

Imagine a world in which everybody first considers how the action or inaction that they plan to take would affect the next person and proceed only when they are confident that the action or inaction would either not affect the next person or would only affect them in a positive way!

Do you take such considerations into account in the conduct of your affairs?

Does it ever cross your mind that all your actions and intentions ought to be noble? Do you ever yearn for a good reputation before God and man?

Your answers to these questions would reveal the kind of person you are. I tell you today that there are many people in our midst who no longer have names to talk about. They have cheapened themselves to immense proportions. They are 'ruled out' people. It’s regrettable!

I believe everybody needs some quiet time…a time to reflect. You need space to think about the issues of life. You could be busy about something, and that thing could be taking your entire focus, that you can hardly think about anything else. For example, there are people who are so overwhelmed by their careers/jobs that all they think about every second of their lives is their careers…nothing else.

Some work twenty-four hours each day. I honestly believe that there is something terribly wrong with anybody who is “all career or all job”. There is a great danger of one missing the real thing if they don’t find time to take stock. A career is something everybody needs, but is it 'the' thing?

So I have made up my mind. I will put people first…to feel for them, to work for them, to assist them, to give them ideas, to always seek the best for them in whatever way practical. In my goals, in my plans, in my strategies, in my activities, I will always make it a point not to miss the people dimension, because if I do I will miss the satisfaction that I should derive from all this.

If you follow my writing works, you will find the people dimension very strong in all of them.

You will find teachings that could build people up and make them stand tall in society. You will discover my position regarding life in general. You will see that all my writings are about people…to improve their lives.

You might not have realised this, but what you are reading right now is a “people” sermon. What do you think would happen if everybody who read this sermon took it to heart?

Are you a people person? If you look around, do you see other people or do you see just yourself? 

What language are you fond of; the “I” or the “they” language?

If you were to evaluate your life up to now, do you think you have conducted yourself to your best in this regard?

These and similar questions should always exercise your mind.

I used to think that life was confusing. I have now realised that life is beautiful…but only if you know what to consider important and what to consider trash.

Be very inspired!

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Sermon #88: To God Be The Glory

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” (Deut 8:17-18, NIV).

I have two kinds of Christians on my mind.

The first kind is comprised of those who pray to God for a financial breakthrough. When they get the breakthrough, these people forsake God and immediately run into the wild, like warthogs, as if their breakthrough came from Satan.

The second kind is comprised of Christians who, after receiving the breakthrough, go on to take the glory…like, “I am bad! I am bad! You know it!” disregarding the fact that they asked and were given.

“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor 4:7, NIV).

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:15-16, NIV).

Sermon #87: Don't Worry. Be Joyful!

This sermon is, at least as far as I am concerned, very important. By the way, I never publish anything unless I am convinced that it will benefit at least one person, and I hope that you will find the teaching contained in this sermon not only useful, but also practical.

I must say that I find it extremely amazing that a number of people choose to ignore very clear and valuable instructions; and these people obviously do so to their own disadvantage.

I will start with a very clear instruction that Jesus Christ gave his disciples. It says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry…” (Matthew 6:25, NIV).

I love this. Clear. No ambiguity. No exceptions. Jesus said, “Do not worry.”

Is this instruction flexible? No; it’s rigid. It says, “Do not.” It does not say, "You may not..." You are instructed never to worry, whatever your personal circumstances might be. You sure need to give yourself some time to reflect on this.

I know that there are people who, after reading the above verse, rush to say, “It’s not possible,” and that mentality is the very reason some people are worrying themselves to death right now; real death, I mean.

You are free to choose how you want to live your life. You are also free to choose where you want to live. You could opt for Wonderland; alternatively, you could opt for Worryland. The choice is yours. But whichever place you choose to live in, you need to first convince yourself why you have to live there!

You need to grow yourself into the kind of person Jesus expects of you. I know that many people can't help worrying but the truth is that their worrying actually never accomplishes anything positive for them. So why hold on to worry if it is counterproductive?

“Don't worry,” Jesus Christ instructs us.

If you continue to read the verse a little further you will note that Jesus went on to teach that you should not worry about what you will eat or drink, etc. This, however, does not mean that you are expected to be loafing around waiting for manna from heaven. It actually means that you should never waste your time worrying; instead, you should use it to engage in useful activity. There indeed is a strong work ethic contained in some of the teachings of the Bible.

Jesus Christ values work and hates worry. Worry is not work; nobody has ever profited from it. In reality, many people have suffered great loss because of it!

Amongst your friends and relatives you sure could easily pick out experts at worry. I call them “accomplished worry warriors”. All these people do is brood over their circumstances. They are always sullen, with faces deliberately disfigured, always sighing, always hissing, shaking their heads and talking to nobody. And these people think they are doing themselves service!

But why does Jesus Christ detest worry this much? Why did He teach against it? Why do I accept His teaching? Why should you accept it too?

Just listen to this: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27, NIV). That’s exactly the point!

Jesus Christ expects you to always engage yourself in activities that are beneficial. Worrying is certainly not one of such activities. I am yet to see a man or woman who can stand up and testify that they got something positive by worrying. But I have already seen a lot of people who have been destroyed by it!

I am yet to see a man or woman who has managed to solve their problems by worrying. But I have seen that everybody who befriends worry only adds to their problems.

If you are facing one problem and all you do is worry about it, then you add many more problems that you might even end up with at least five more, sometimes with each additional problem bigger than the original!

It’s common to hear somebody say, “I can’t find sleep; I am so worried,” and they say so as though they would be talking about something cute. Can one solve problems by going without sleep? No.

You find that after spending a week without sleeping the person’s problems are still sticking to them. In some cases the problems would have multiplied due to lack of solution.

Can one solve their problems by looking sullen? No. That won’t help! And do you think that by looking sullen somebody will come to your assistance? If that’s your mentality then you are still missing the point. Adults are not expected to be like that; rather, they are expected to deal with their problems and take charge of their lives.

Can you add an hour to your life by worrying? This question still begs for an answer from you.

I suggest you do the following if you are faced with a problem:

First, write down, as clearly as possible, the nature of the problem that you face. I have spoken to a number of people who thought they had problems when in reality they had none; the people had, instead, become their own problem because of the way they viewed the circumstances of their lives, as well as how they reacted to such circumstances. And after some discussion I would hear one say, “So why was I worried?” You therefore should make sure that you are clear about the nature of your problem before you start running around broadcasting that you’ve got a problem.

Second, and if you are convinced that you indeed have a problem, write down how the problem came about, i.e. your understanding of the source of the problem. If you know how the problem started this might help you in solving it or in preventing its recurrence in future.

Third, and probably the most critical step, you need to ask yourself the question, “What are my options.”

I believe that for every problem there’s a range of possible solutions, which are the options available to you. Write down all your options, including those that might appear silly. Once you complete the list, and convinced yourself that there are no more 'possible' options remaining, you should go on to select what you consider to be the best option and implement it.

For example, somebody may be mad at you because of something you did to them, and have told you that they no longer want to see you. You might, however, still conclude that the right course of action to take, from the options available to you, is to go and see them and offer an apology. So you should go and offer an apology. It might be accepted; it might not, but you would have done your very best under the circumstances and should therefore consider the matter closed.

Instead of taking this course of action, some people spend eternity worrying about their situation. “Oh he no longer wants to see me!” they lament day and night; but what benefit does it bring? Will you be accepted because you’ve worried about it? No.

So, all that’s needed is for you to take positive steps to solve the problem. Situations are not changed by worrying. Problems are not solved by worrying. Rather, the only person who will live a quality life is one who has sent worry to hell. All that this person does is to take positive, calculated steps to rectify whatever problems they might encounter in life.

If you lose sleep because of worry, then you are most likely to develop sleep disorders, hence related health problems. In addition, people who operate in partnership with worry lack proper concentration on virtually everything pertaining to their lives…their work, their family and their future, because all the time they are lamenting, and thereby neglecting the useful things of life. Such people are perpetually overwhelmed by their problems. So they lose out on health. They lose out on wealth. They lose out on relations. They may even lose their lives. So worry is negative; it is therefore clear why Jesus Christ taught against it.

I have also noted something - i.e. many of the problems that people face today are self-created. People often bring problems on themselves because of the manner they choose to conduct their lives. It may be by what they plan or decide, the ideas they choose to implement or the words they choose to utter. One sure way to minimize problems is to tread the path of life well, all the time being sensitive to the feelings of other people.

But somebody might ask, “But how could I overcome worry?” The simple answer is: “Just change your focus”.

When faced with a problem, you have two basic options. The first option is “worry”. You could opt for worry whenever you are faced with a problem. By the way a number of people actually do so!

The second option is called “solution”. It is only those people who do nothing about their problems who are prone to worry. Those who immediately take steps to solve their problems have no room for worry because they are always consumed by their quest for solutions. It’s really a choice one has to make, and I sure hope that you will always opt for solutions!

Having come this far I now take the honour to give you a sparkling instruction. Here goes: “Be joyful always” (1Timothy 5:16, NIV). Wonderland! The fact that you’ve read this article up to this point suggests that you understand the language used. But I pray to God that He gives you a deeper understanding of the meaning of two words used in this verse. The words are ‘joyful’ and ‘always’. Praise God!

Is the teaching contained in the above verse flexible? Absolutely not! It says ‘always’. Are there exceptions? No.

Should you be joyful when it’s raining? Yes. Should you be joyful when it’s overcast? Yes. Should you be joyful when the sky is clear-blue? Yes of course.

Should you be joyful when you have enough? Yes. Should you be joyful when you lack? Yes. That’s the point! That’s the definition of ‘always’. But it’s not just about being always joyful; what it means is that in your joy you should solve whatever problems that you might face.

Now that’s what I call joy!

So, don’t worry - be ever joyful!

God bless!

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