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When Worry Interferes with Worship

As someone who rarely worries, 2022 was a year filled with distractions. While most transfers take a few months, mine lingered on for nearly seven months, filling my life with disappointment and rejection. All of this uncertainly challenged me emotionally and spiritually. When my prayers for clarity continued to go unanswered, a spirit of worry interfered with my ability to worship the Lord. One of the byproducts of this disconnect with God was the root of bitterness, Hebrews 12:15.

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah), Colossians 2:6-8.

The apostle Paul addresses worry in his letter to the Church at Colosse. One of the best ways to avoid bitterness is by developing strong spiritual root systems. Like the tree in Psalm 1:3, receiving daily nourishment from the Word of God is key to deepening your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-11. The planting process starts by surrounding yourself with a healthy environment like the good soil described by Jesus in the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:23.

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is [a]coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:4-7.

If your church has small groups, this is the best time of the year to join one while your desire to make the most of 2023 is still alive and fresh, John 10:10. If you’re still looking for a place to call home, there’s no such thing as a perfect church. However, the people inside this building are the church. Therefore, find someone who you can relate to by praying for an accountability partner. The next time worry interferes with worship, you’ll have someone to help you break these chains to find a heartbeat for worship.

by Jay Mankus

Carry the Load

Carrying one another’s burdens was central to the first century church, Acts 2:44-47. Unlike the large cathedrals and megachurches of today, there wasn’t the financial resources available at this time. Thus, homes, existing synagogues, and or open areas near bodies of water were used as places of worship. Whenever a need arose within a body of believers, sacrifices were made so that no one went hungry or without a place to call home.

Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it], Galatians 6:1-2.

While home churches and small groups still meet today, poverty is rampant across the country and throughout the world. At some point in the past 2000 years, Christian congregations have forgotten the apostles teaching. Instead of carrying the load of burdens in neighborhoods and communities, many families have gone their own separate ways. Similar to the ways of the Old Testament, American Christians appear to be doing what’s right in their own eyes, Judges 21:25, without carrying the burdens of others.

For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor. For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults], Galatians 6:3-5.

Perhaps the apostle Paul witnessed identical warning signs in the Church at Galatia. At the heart of this problem was a superiority complex passed on by a religious sect known as the Judaizers. Rather than loving neighbors as yourself, the Judaizers forced Gentile Christians to become circumcised. Whenever churches deviate from the apostles teaching, important needs go unrecognized or met. Therefore, if you want to make a difference, start carrying the load of burdens from other believers today, Philippians 2:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

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