1. Read Matthew 6.25-34 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in the text?
2. This study is called “The Hard Sayings of Jesus.” Which do you find more difficult to live out, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6.53) or, “Do not worry.” (Matthew 5.25) Why? Be specific.
3. What’s the motivation behind Jesus teaching us to live life without worry? What does He want from you in teaching you to live this way?
4. Is worrying a sin? If so, how so? If worrying is not a sin, why would Jesus care if we lived this way?
5. Describe a time when you were paralyzed by worry. How did it resolve?
6. Sometimes anxiety can be more of an inward battle than outsiders realize. Anxiety might be “a crushing enemy for you.” If this is you, have you ever been made to feel like if you just had more faith you’d be fine? Is anxiety something that happens because of a lack of faith?
7. Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (6.25) Describe the importance of the first word of the statement, “Therefore.”
8. In the message, Craig said he is most tempted to worry when human approval is threatened, or security is threatened. When are you most prone to worry, or when do you worry?
9. How do you resist the temptation to believe that Christians shouldn’t face trouble or persecution or suffering?
10. Some people believe that what they are dealing with is reason to worry. How would Jesus engage that person? How could you engage a person in this space?
11. Read and reflect on the following passages.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.6-7
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4.8
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8.38-39
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14.27
12. Of these four passages which speak most personally to you? Why? How can you move from making these words “God’s Word” to fully integrating them into the core of your being? What would it require of you to fully live out this Truth as Jesus intends?
13. Peace is the settled conviction at the core of your being that ultimately, all things are in God’s hands and, therefore, all things will be well and, therefore you can live free of burden, worry, and fear. What would life look like free from burden and worry and fear? Is it possible to live this way? Where will you begin?
14. In the message, we heard this story of John Ortberg and Dallas Willard. John Ortberg said, “Many years ago, I faced a time of really deep worry and sadness. The details are not all mine to tell, but it was a situation of gut level, raw pain that involved my family and those I love most, my life ministry calling in ways that I could not ever see being redeemed. I was not suicidal, but I remember thinking, “If my life were to end today, I’d be kind of relieved not to be in this pain. I wouldn’t mind at all.” I was seeing a counselor. I was on antidepressants to be able to keep functioning. I told one or two of the people closest to me about the situation, and they expressed really deep empathy. “It must be so hard. We will pray.” Then I decided I would tell Dallas Willard. He was kind of a spiritual mentor of mine. I laid out the whole situation, and I waited over the phone for the words of sympathy I knew would come. I waited for him to say, “I feel your pain. How hard this must be!” He didn’t say anything like that. There was a long pause and then 11 words: “This will be a test of your joyful confidence in God.” “Well, good luck with that, Dallas. Why don’t we have a test of your joyful confidence in God?” He was exactly right. That’s exactly what it was. I lived with that sentence (no kidding) for dozens of times a day. Thousands of times I thought about that, and it went on for months.
Where do you find yourself in that story? Besides you, who else knows where you are in your story?
15. Take a moment and read and pray the Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
16. Jesus said, “Give us today our daily bread.” He said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow has enough troubles of its own.” Jesus calls us to live in the present. He calls us to live in the perpetual now. Worry comes when we live in the past or look to the future. Contentment with Christ is always a present reality. What’s one step you could live in the present with that which causes you to worry?
17. Peter said, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5.7)
Let’s live out God’s Word. Cast all your anxiety on Him.