Three Ways to Conquer Worry

Have you ever been gripped by fear? You know the feeling. Your blood runs cold. A shiver races down your spine. Your mouth goes dry. The hair on your head stands up. It’s a terrifying feeling. Then along with fear comes worry.

Of course, there are so many things to be worried about today: the state of our country, the economy, natural disasters, the threat of North Korea and terrorism. Recently one of the top Google searches was about the possibility of a World War III. There are a lot of things to be afraid of today.

But here’s what we need to know: Worry has a negative effect on our lives. Modern medical research has proven that worry breaks down our resistance to disease. It actually sickens the nervous system, specifically the digestive organs and the heart. Research has found that 79 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are stress-related.

Clearly, worry isn’t productive. In fact, the word itself originates from an Old English word that means “to strangle.” That’s what worry does. It chokes us. It’s been said that worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come. So let’s try to stop worrying.

You might say, “That is easy for you to say.”

But let’s consider what the apostle Paul had to say under adverse circumstances. He was under house arrest. He had gone to Rome to preach the gospel, but he had been arrested. He knew nothing about what his future held, yet he gave us some of the most inspiring words found in the pages of Scripture:

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! … Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:4, 6–7 NLT)

Paul was not in some ivory tower, spinning up theories. He wasn’t lying on some beach in the Mediterranean, eating a falafel and drinking an iced tea. He was incarcerated. Yet he was able to say, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!”

Sometimes we try to justify worry by saying, “It’s OK for me to worry because I’m in a difficult situation.” In many ways we all are – some of us more than others. But maybe we all just need to lighten up a little when we can.

We all know people who are depressing to be around. Whatever is going on, they see the dark side. But I think we can find joy. We can find humor. We can find something to rejoice about, even in some very difficult circumstances.

Paul was saying, in effect, “Look guys, if anyone knows what it’s like to be afraid, it’s me. But I’m telling you, rejoice in the Lord always.” Anyone can rejoice when things are going reasonably well. But when you’re facing adversity or sickness or hardship or even death, and then you rejoice, you’re obeying God.

The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk wrote, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17 NLT)

We could update that to say, “Even though the economy is bad and they are downsizing at work, even though insurance rates are up and the car is out of gas, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!”

We don’t rejoice when things get better; we rejoice no matter how things are going. Paul didn’t say, “Rejoice when you feel good” or “Rejoice when things are going well.” Rather, he said, “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” Notice the words in the Lord. The Lord is on his throne. God is in control.

Not only does Paul tell us to rejoice, but he also gives us three ways to overcome worry and fear: 1) right praying, 2) right thinking, and 3) right living.

Let’s start with the first way, right praying. The next time you’re tempted to worry, pray instead. Turn your worries into prayers. When something threatening comes along, when something alarms us, our natural reflex is to panic. The conditioned reflex, on the other hand, is to pray. Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” God is interested in whatever concerns you.

If you want to overcome fear and worry, you also need right thinking. Paul went on to say, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (verse 8 NLT). In other words, think about what you think about.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT). If you want personal peace, it comes down guarding what you put in your mind.

Finally, there is right living. Paul concluded by saying, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (verse 9 NLT). We cannot separate outward action from inward attitude. We need to live out these things in our lives.

God has not promised us a pain-free world. But he will be with us, giving us what we need when we need it – not necessarily before, and never after.

Taken from my weekly column at

19 thoughts on “Three Ways to Conquer Worry”

  1. Anonymous says:

    thank you so much, I needed this today 🙂

  2. Cinda says:

    Thank you all for your posts. I needed to read all these at this time.

  3. Rob says:

    I have been going through a rough period since my wife filed for divorce in 2014 and I’m now being sued, which is long story. My wife attempted suicide 3 different times. The last attempt she nearly succeeded as we found her barely alive in a remote area. She was airlifted to the hospital where she remained in a coma for a week.
    Through all of these attempts I never for a moment thought of leaving her or giving up on her, but only to help her get well.
    I still miss her and thank God that she’s alive and I hope she’s doing well.

    1. Lynne says:

      I pray for you and your wife as you both go through these difficult times. I have been in financial trouble for years as a result of poor judgment on my husband’s part—17 years to be exact. He also was sued at one point. May God bless you both. God is seeing us out of our problems and I am sure He will do the same for you!

  4. Victoria Visocchi says:

    I really appreciate your steady, faithful preaching of the WORD of God. Thank you so much Pastor Greg! You really speak to me.

  5. Stephen C Galloway says:

    Yes, God has granted his spirit of peace.

    I’ve been a type 1diabetic for 40yrs. Plagued with suicidal thoughts and attempts for most of those years. Then in April 2009 I determined this is it, this is the time. I left my insulin pump run, I didn’t eat that night or in the morning. I was having troubles with my wife and son. My wife went to work and wouldn’t be back until late in the evening. I locked the doors.
    My friend Kenny called my wife and told her Steve didn’t come down for banana pudding. I love his wife’s banana pudding. He told me early that morning about the pudding. He lives only three houses away and he saw my truck was still in the drive way, which isn’t usual because I worked 75 miles away at Avon Park USAF Base. He called My wife at work and told her that it was strange. My wife told him, I gave your wife an extra key just in case of a situation like this. He entered the house and saw that I was I was purplish blue and thought that I was already dead. He called 911.
    Paramedics took me to Brandon Hospital and my wife said they had a stommac tube, breathing tube and brain waves hooked up that looked like porcupine quills. I was brain dead for ten days. The doctors were skeptical.
    It was Good Friday that I showed first signs of life. The doctors said that I was a miracle man. Yes, it was a miracle and I felt like God said not yet Steve.
    A month later I went into rehabilitation, I couldnt remember anything, but today I’m writing this message.

    I was still drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis in my garage, but I asked the Holy Spirit to help me. I felt he said to tell my wife the truth about the suicide attempt, so I did, her response was I know, but the truth has set me free.
    I was BORN AGAIN February 2015. Praise God in all things. I am a miracle man. Today I participate as a full time Christian dedicated to God.
    I am at peace and it was through God that I was transformed. Amen.

    1. Anonymous says:


      1. Anonymous says:

        Praise God!

    2. Anonymous says:

      Thank you for sharing

    3. Anonymous says:

      WOW! This is an AWESOME testimony ….

    4. Anonymous says:


  6. Sandy says:

    Wonderful words of wisdom ! God is totally in control, and we have to give our worries to him! Thanking God in advance for all prayers answered according to his will! Yes I can only imagine!!!

  7. miri zwalven says:

    Thanks! Pastor .May GOD ‘s power in us kills the worry in our lives that victory in His name be ours,Amen!

  8. Kevin Smith says:

    Thank you! Your blogs keep me focused on God in a time in our society where we need him most! Your truly appreciated and loved by me!

  9. Jdiaz says:

    Thank you for this message my biggest sin is worrying, I try my hardest I believe and trust in God everyday of my life. I’ve been through so much and I still will continue to believe. I know it is written lay all of your burdens at his feet. I try so hard my biggest worry in my life at this time is my son, please pray he will be delivered from drugs. He lost his Dad the same yr you lost your son and has been struggling since then. You know the pain he faces but he needs to believe and let it go and hold on to God. I cry out to God for his mercy and grace to deliver my son from drugs and give him peace within his heart

  10. Clare Sleigh says:

    Thank you Pastor Greg. I pray daily . I cry out to my Gos . I sing to my God. I give him thanks and praise daily. Not because of a agenda but, because i love him with every fiber in me. I believe his spirit is in me and my spirit is in him for he is my father above all. So today We sit and grieve of a father who we have lost. and the loss of my fiance exwife who died the same day as my fiance father. . We face a hardship like no other. We face eviction october 1, 2017. We face becoming homeless, we face heartache and pain thru all of this along with hopelessness, fear, etc., but thru all of this i keep my lamp burning inside. I know the Lord and I also know Satan and his attacks on my life .We are going thru a spirtual warfare. Like nobodys business. I tell you Satan to get behind me in the name and the blood of Jesus. Yet, I cry out to my Lord, i pray, i sing, i get on bended knees, i praise, i love, i thank My Lord daily. I will continue to for the rest of the days of my life because , he is my rock he is my fortress . He is the light that shines in me thru me. He is the reason i breathe he is my truth . Thank you Father for making it possible to be able to leave my comment in this box. I thank you father for my life, my childrens life, my grandchildrens life. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for all my good days and the bad days. One day Lord i will see you. Now as i go on with my life which has been turned upside down. I will continue to sing this song in my heart. Father my Father.. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE.

  11. a. khan says:

    I think I needed to see this today. I know all the verses you mentioned and have applied them again to my “perceived” situation. God is in control and everything will be well. Thanks for the message.

  12. Gina Davis says:

    You seem to always know exactly what to say to make my walk with the Lord easier. I have been in a rather desperate frame of mind tonight and I thought about you and decided to take a moment just to read some of your work and it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I am growing daily in my walk with the Lord and I look forward to listening to your radio programs and reading every article that I can find. Please keep me in your prayers as I grow in my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I wish that I had turned my life around years ago but I hope to grow closer to God everyday in every way. God Bless you and your family!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!! Amazing thank you! I really needed this today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.