Anxiety about future keeps us from trusting God
by Billy Graham
November 01, 2013 11:43 PM | 876 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: What did Jesus mean when He said someplace that we’re not supposed to think about the future? How can we make it through life if we don’t ever plan for the future or take steps to avoid potential problems? Isn’t this unrealistic? — Mrs. V.G.

A: You’re probably thinking of Jesus’ admonition in the Sermon on the Mount, in which He tells us not to worry about the future and what it may hold for us. He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34).

Jesus’ words have sometimes been misunderstood, as if He were telling us never to think about the future or plan for it. (This misunderstanding may have come from an older translation that tells us to give “no thought” to tomorrow.) But this isn’t what Jesus meant. Instead, He is warning us against allowing ourselves to be preoccupied with the future and constantly anxious about it. As He said earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, worrying doesn’t change anything; it only makes us tense and keeps us from trusting God.

Instead, Jesus urges us to trust God for the future. He knows our needs and has promised to supply them as we commit our lives and our futures into His hands. God loves us, and He knows what we need far better than we do. The Bible says, “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Most of all, God knows that our greatest need is for our sins to be forgiven so we can go to be with Him in heaven. And He has made this possible by sending Jesus Christ into the world as the final and perfect sacrifice for our sins. Have you trusted Him for your salvation?

Q: I get tired of my religious friends trying to tell me how I ought to live. I don’t tell them how to live, so why should they tell me? Besides that, didn’t Jesus say something about wanting us to be free? — M.C.

A: Perhaps you’re thinking of Jesus’ statement that when we know the truth, then it will set us free. He said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Some universities even have these words engraved over the entrance to their libraries.

But what truth did Jesus say we need to know in order to be free? It is the truth of His teaching — because it is from God, and it tells us what we need to believe and how we ought to live. Only then are we free from false ways of living. Only then are we free from the shackles of self-deception and self-destruction.

In other words, Jesus wasn’t telling us we ought to be free to live any way we want to — not at all. When we do that, we ignore God and His plan for our lives, and yet His way is always best. We also become slaves to our own lusts and desires, and eventually those things will destroy us. Jesus warned, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).

Have you ever asked yourself why these friends are trying to get you to change the way you’re living? The reason is because they care about you, and they know God’s way is far better than the way you’ve been living. Don’t turn your back on them, but most of all, don’t turn your back on Jesus Christ. Life’s greatest freedom comes from knowing Christ and following Him.

Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.

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