Rejoice in God and cast your care on Him.

Around 1990 Rita and I were walking through the narrow streets of a village in Germany after dark when two teenage boys sauntered past singing, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

This refrain from Bobby McFerrin’s song expresses two teachings of Christ. “Do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25) and “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matthew 5:12).

This does not mean that we have no troubles. As Bobby McFerrin sings: “In every life we have some trouble. When you worry you make it double.”

Christians rejoice in God and cast their cares on Him.

Don’t worry!

Worry is excessive concern.

“Do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25). “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).

Christians need not worry because God has promised: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6, 7).

A distinction must be made between healthy concern and worry. Emotional involvement in problems is not wrong. It can lead to constructive action. Paul spoke of his “deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).

There is a big difference, however, between thinking about a problem and worrying about a problem. Worry involves a feeling of dread and anxiety that is negative, depressing, exhausting and paralyzing.

Materialism causes much worry. We worry when we are overly concerned about material and temporal things. Jesus explained: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. [Mammon is the god of money.] Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:24-26).

When we see how richly God provides for life on earth, we know that He will care for us as well. “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:32-34).1 Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.

Trusting in the providence of God, we can take life as it comes. Jesus does not deny that we have troubles. He just tells us to deal with them one day at a time. Each day, God will give us what we need for that day. Jesus tells us to pray, “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3).

Paul also tells us to pray rather than worry: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Praying and thankfully counting our blessings puts our troubles into perspective.

I once saw an amusing wall plaque: “Why pray when you can worry?”

Worry is futile. If you can do something about a problem, ask God for help and get to work. If you can do nothing about a problem, turn it over to God in prayer.

Be happy!

God wants us to be happy. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (Matthew 5:12). “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In Christ we have the joy of salvation. After the Philippian jailer was baptized “he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (Acts 16:34). The Ethiopian eunuch went on his way rejoicing after he was baptized by Philip (Acts 8:39).

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1, 2). We rejoice “in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).

The joy that dwells in the heart of a Christian does not preclude grief. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). “Jesus wept” even when He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. But we are never defeated by grief.

Even in the darkest hour we can have inner happiness because we have hope. The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our hope of eternal life.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).

We can rejoice even in the midst of persecution: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11, 12).

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! for indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:22, 23).

Peter explains: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12, 13).

Jesus tells His followers: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). We rejoice because Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-3, 27, 28).

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Don’t worry. Be happy. Rejoice in God and cast your care on Him.

Roy Davison

1 See also Luke 12:22-31.

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive