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What I Would Tell My Younger Self: Worry Less, Pray More

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2021 3:00 am

What I Would Tell My Younger Self: Worry Less, Pray More

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 9, 2021 3:00 am

No one ever teaches us how to worry. Our parents don’t sit us down and say, “Okay, kids, I want you to put your head in your hands, look really discouraged, and stress out on something you can’t change.” No, we pretty much picked it up on our own. Well today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us lay down that which we’ve picked up. He’ll offer up some practical precepts in a message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Insight for everyone, particularly young people.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie has a much better plan. Don't worry about tomorrow. Just take each day and take that worry and turn it into prayer. Pray more and worry less. No one ever teaches us how to worry. Our parents don't sit us down and say, OK, kids, I want you to put your head in your hands, look really discouraged, and stress out on something you can't change.

Well, we pretty much picked it up on our own. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us lay down that wish we picked up. He'll offer some practical precepts in a message called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Insight for everyone, particularly young people. Let me give you a little bit of advice. Maybe you don't have a mom and a dad that are doing this for you or a grandfather. Let me be your dad for a few minutes or your grandfather and say things to you that you need said to you as a younger person.

This first one may be surprising, but I'm going to start with this. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be OK. Whatever you're going through, it's going to be OK. I know when you're young and you're experiencing things for the first time, life can seem kind of scary. You're wondering about what you're going to do with your life, where you're going to go, who you're going to marry, what career path you're going to choose, and then maybe something bad happens to you.

You have a huge setback. You break up with your boyfriend or your girlfriend, and it almost seems like your world has just ended. Listen, it's going to be OK. Whatever you're going through, you're going to get through it.

Number two, what would I say to my younger self? Put God first in your life. Put God first in your life. This, of course, starts with asking Christ to come into your life, but then it means following Him. Jesus summed it up this way in Matthew 633. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Now, what was He talking about when He said all these things?

Jesus said, don't be like the nonbelievers. All they think about is what they're going to wear, what they're going to drink, what they're going to eat. But I say to you, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these things will be added to you. And we're obsessed with all those things.

What we'll eat, what we'll drink, what we'll wear, where we'll go, what we'll drive, where we will work, where we will live. These are not bad things, by the way, to think about. But Jesus is saying, don't make those the focus of your life. Put God first in your life. Seek first the kingdom of God.

What does that mean? The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of Christ in your life. See, one day we'll go to heaven and enter into the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God will come to earth. But also, when the Bible tells us to seek it first, it means just put Jesus first. Think about God's will when you make those decisions. Don't put money first. Don't put career first. Don't put politics first. Don't even put ministry first.

Put Jesus first, and He will take care of you in life. Look at young Solomon, ascending to the throne. His father David had died. And the Lord comes to Solomon and says, Solomon, ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you. Imagine for a moment if God came to you and said, ask what you want and I'll give it to you.

What would you ask for? Solomon said, Lord, I pray for wisdom. Wisdom to lead your people. The Lord in effect said, because you didn't pray for stuff, you didn't pray for possessions, you didn't pray for great wealth or honor, I'm going to give you the wisdom you asked for and all these other things as well. It's a perfect illustration of why putting God first is the right thing to do. That doesn't mean that God's going to make everybody incredibly wealthy. But what it does mean is God, the Bible says, will supply all of your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. So put God first in your life.

That's where I would start. What is the will of God, you might ask, about this thing I'm about to do? How do you know the will of God? Answer. By reading the Word of God.

He'll reveal His will to you in Scripture. Understand this. Why are you in this earth? And this answers a big question. The question of why am I here? What is the meaning of my life?

Here's the answer. The meaning of your life. You are here to bring glory to God. Not to bring glory to yourself. Isaiah 43, 7, God says, everyone who was called by my name whom I created for my glory. That's why you're here. To know this, God wants to speak to you.

God wants to fill you with this Holy Spirit each and every day. Put God first in your life and the rest will be blessed. Here's point number three.

What would I say to my younger self? I would say, young Greg, read the Bible every day. And I pretty much followed that advice, thankfully.

And I hope many of you are following it as well. Because sometimes I think Christians as they grow in their faith think, well, I don't need to read the Bible as much as I used to. No, listen. You need to read the Bible every single day. You should start the day with it. You should end the day with it. And someone, it says, happy is the man or the woman who doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful.

Listen. His delight is in the word of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. Then it goes on to say he'll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.

His leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper. Happy is that man. You want to be a happy man.

You want to be a happy woman. Read the word of God. It says meditate in it. In Eastern meditation one seeks to empty their mind. In Biblical meditation one fills their mind with the word of God. This is how you're going to grow spiritually. This is how you will be able to resist temptation. We're told in the Psalms, how shall a young man cleanse his way?

Answer. By listening to what the word of God says. So you need to read the Bible every day because Scripture says study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Listen to this. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. I'm going to repeat that. Success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the word of God you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. So read the word. Treasure the word.

Memorize the word. I've never met a strong Christian who is not full of Scripture. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment, right after a quick look at the way a new beginning touches the lives of listeners. Twenty years ago I gave my life to Jesus after listening to you on the radio. God bless you always. Thank you for leading me to Christ three years ago at the Harvest Crusade.

You had a major influence on my life and I can't thank you enough. Early last year I found the Lord and accepted him there at Harvest Christian Fellowship. God is so good. I'm happy to partner with you in your mission.

I pray God continues to bless you exceedingly, abundantly more than you could ask or think. Well, folks that know me know that I often end my message, no matter what the topic, with an invitation for people to come to Christ. Because there's always someone out there that doesn't know the Lord. Maybe they're in the congregation. Maybe they're listening on radio.

Maybe they're watching online. And I want those people to know they can have a relationship with Christ. And I know that this is what God wants.

Because the Lord says he's not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So I like to throw the net. And as you know, if you listen to A New Beginning, we throw the net a lot.

And you know what? We see thousands of people come to Christ every year through our radio program alone. So that is why I'm thankful when you invest in our ministry. Because you enable us to reach a lot of people that I could never reach otherwise.

They'll never darken the doorway of a church. But they might be turning the radio dial and come upon our show and say, well, what is this all about? And I've had more than one person tell me that's how they found our program and ended up listening and coming to Christ. So that's what we're all about. So when you support us, you help us to reach more people like the ones you just heard from with the message of the gospel. You've tuned in for a fascinating study from Pastor Greg today called What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Let's continue.

Here's the fourth thing I would say to a younger me. Stop worrying and start praying. I know we all have things we worry about in life, but I'm reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4 when he says, Don't worry about anything. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need. Think of all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus. Worry. Worry can ruin your day. It can ruin your week. It can ruin your month. Actually, worry can effectively ruin your life.

The word worry comes from a root word that means to choke or to strangle. A number of years ago, my grandkids would like to come up and choke me from behind. They thought that was very cute and fun. And it was okay.

They were very small. They weren't hurting me. And so they would come over and say, Papa, can we choke you? Well, as they've gotten older, if I let them do that now, I might die.

So we can't play that game anymore. But that's what worry does. It chokes you out. It doesn't make things better. It makes them worse. John Curtis, director of the University of Wisconsin Stress Management Institute says, quote, I believe that 90 percent of the stress we face is brought on by not living in the present moment, worrying about what's already happened or what's going to happen or what could happen.

Listen to this. When you worry about the future, you cripple yourself in the present. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.

It empties today of its strength. I mean, even when things are going well. Oh, it's a good day. Nothing's going wrong. And then you start worrying. What's going to go wrong? Something's going to go wrong. I just know it. What's that all about?

That cannot be helpful. I read a Peanuts comic strip and Charlie Brown says, I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time.

Well, actually, Jesus said this. Today's trouble is enough for today. Don't worry about tomorrow.

Just take each day and take that worry and turn it into prayer. I would compare this to a natural reflex and a conditioned reflex to learn how to turn worry into prayer as a conditioned reflex. Let me explain. Natural reflex. You don't have to teach this. If even a little child touches a hot stove, they pull their hand back. Right? Because they know that's hot.

They know they should not touch that. That's a natural reflex. If you touch a hot iron, the same thing happens. I heard about a guy that went to see a doctor. He had two horribly burned ears. So the doctor said, what happened to you? He says, well, Doc, I was ironing and I got a phone call and I answered the iron instead of the phone. The doctor was horrified.

I can't believe you did that. But what happened to the other ear? The guy says, well, he called back. OK, so anyway, natural reflex. I touched something hot.

I pulled back again. But then there's a conditioned reflex. This is something I'm taught to do.

I have a granddaughter named Ali. She has swim meets on Saturdays. And before the meet begins, they have someone sing the national anthem. What does everyone do? We stand.

We put our hand over our heart in respect for our nation, which is represented by our flag that we look toward. That is a conditioned reflex. I would not have done that naturally. Someone had to teach me to do that. Same thing with driving. You know, when you first learn to drive, remember, I have a granddaughter that's just learning how to drive. So I let her drive the other day. And I was next to her. And, you know, she had to think about everything.

You know, oh, what do I do now? Turn your turning signal on. Oh, and parking.

That's a situation, isn't it? Trying to figure that out. So you have to consciously think about everything you're doing. And if you're in a stick shift car, manual transmission, okay, I've got to push in the clutch. I have it in gear. I slowly release the clutch. Then I hit the accelerator. You know, a lot of things to remember.

But after a while, you don't think about it anymore. You drive. You eat burritos.

You do your taxes. You actually shouldn't. But you do all kinds of things when you're driving because you've turned that into a conditioned reaction, a conditioned way to respond to what you're facing. So now, in the same way, worry hits. Anxiety hits. Panic hits.

Right away. Pray. Oh, I'm scared. Let's pray.

Just let's pray. Stop everything you're doing and commit it to the Lord. In 1 Peter 5, we read these words, Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.

And by the way, in the original language, that signifies a definite act of our will, where we choose to stop worrying and let God assume the responsibility for our welfare. You take out the trash. I don't know why it is, but men have been basically chosen to take the trash out. That is our job. And that's what we're supposed to do. And I don't know why, but I always put off taking the trash out.

It's not hard. I have these big plastic cans with a handle and a wheel. All I have to do is throw the trash in the can, take it out a few feet, put it in front of my house, and the trash man picks it up.

But I have to take it out. Your worries, your anxieties are like trash. Take them out and make a deliberate choice to give them over to the Lord.

The same is true of all anxiety and worry. Pray more and worry less. Billy Graham was interviewed, and he was asked the question, if he had his life to live over, what would he do differently? Billy's response was, quote, I would study more. I would pray more.

I would travel less, take less speaking engagements. If I had it to do all over again, Billy said, I would spend more time in meditation and prayer, just telling the Lord how much I love and adore Him, and looking forward to the time where I will spend with Him for all eternity. Well, Billy's in that time now.

Billy's in heaven. But I love how he said, if I had life to do over, he doesn't say I'd speak more. I'd do more. He says I'd pray more, and I would spend more time in God's presence. I think that's really good advice.

Remember this. God is in control of your life. There are no accidents in the life of a Christian, only providence. We don't believe in fate.

We believe in faith. Here's another thing an older Greg would say to a younger Greg. Advice I would give to anyone, young people, but older people as well. Have an attitude of gratitude. Have an attitude of gratitude. Back to the verse I quoted in Philippians 4.

Thank God for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Listen, there are things in life that happen to us that make no sense. Inexplicable things.

Yes, it is true. Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes bad things even happen to godly people.

Take Job as an example. This was a godly man. This man was so godly the Lord was bragging on him in heaven. But the Lord allowed a series of calamities to befall His servant. And Job lost pretty much everything. He lost members of his family. He lost his possessions.

He lost his health. And we read that Job gave thanks to God. Not for what was happening. But despite what was happening, Job gave thanks to the Lord. And so we should have an attitude of gratitude.

We say, Lord, I don't know why this is happening. But I am rejoicing that you're still on the throne. And I'm going to give thanks to you because you are good and you are in control of my life. So spend less time complaining. And spend more time rejoicing. You'll feel better if you do.

Actually, medical research has been done that has revealed that people who gave gratitude to God, and gave thanks for what they had, experienced fewer heart issues, fewer aches and pains, and it changed their outlook on life. Here's another piece of advice an older me would give to a younger me. But that I would give to any person, especially a young person. Live with honesty and integrity. What is integrity?

Integrity is what you are in the dark when nobody is watching you. And I bring this up because, you know, there are people in life that cheat. And they lie. And they steal.

And they cut corners. And they seem to get away with it. And they say, well, why shouldn't I do that?

Why should I play by the rules? They don't play by the rules. And look, they got that job because they lied on their resume.

Or they got that job to build that building even though they cut corners and didn't pull the proper permits. Or look, that person cheated on their spouse and they got away with it. And I've been faithful to my spouse and why shouldn't I do what they do?

Because in the end all these people are going to reap what they sow. The Bible says, don't be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. Listen, the longer I live, the more impressed I am with character over charisma. I've seen a lot of preachers with dynamic personalities flame out because they did not seek to maintain honesty and integrity. Psalm 101 verse 2 says, I'm careful to live a blameless life.

I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. Then Psalm 119 one says, joyful people are people of integrity. The great evangelist D.O. Moody once said, if I take care of my character, God will take care of my reputation. In the Bible we read of Daniel, a man of integrity.

A man who did the right thing. In fact, one time he was arrested for it. Because he prayed after the king had signed a decree that no one could pray to any god except him. Well, Daniel prayed anyway. And his enemies came and had him arrested and thrown into a lion's den.

Pretty bleak scenario. But how did that story end? Oh, the very men that lied about Daniel ended up being eaten by the lions. And Daniel lived to pray another day. Same thing is true of Joseph. His story is in the book of Genesis. This is a young man who lived with honesty and integrity.

And though he was falsely accused of raping the wife of Potiphar, he was vindicated in the end. And you will be too. Great insights today from Pastor Greg Laurie from his message called, What I Would Tell My Younger Self. And he has much more to come as this message continues here on A New Beginning. Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to walk alongside Jesus during his earthly ministry? Listening to his conversations with Mary Magdalene and Nicodemus. The moment Jesus told Simon and Andrew to cast their nets, and then they hauled in a great catch of fish.

Well, in the TV series called The Chosen, you're right there with Jesus in each episode. The series has impressed so many people. In fact, Johnny Erikson Tada said, Thank you for telling the old, old story in such an impossibly fresh way. After Pastor Greg saw them recreate Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, he said, Wow, they got it.

It was one of his favorite episodes. And now we want to send you season one of The Chosen to thank you for your donation here at this important time of the year. Here at Harvest Ministries, we're obviously committed to preaching the gospel. And we believe in the power of film to reach people with that message.

That's why we're excited about making this critically acclaimed resource available on DVD. Let us send this to you to thank you for your generous donation. And this is the most important time of the year for your investment. We see so much fruit through this ministry, and you play a part in that. You not only give to us, you give through us to touch lives. We heard from a parent who attended our recent SoCal harvest, and she wrote, Tonight I've received the greatest gift.

My son gave his life to Christ right here in front of me. And you know, that was able to happen because someone invested in the work of evangelism. We hope you'll make that investment. And when you do, we'll send you season one of The Chosen. You can make your donation online at harvest.org, or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or we have a 24-hour phone number, 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Well, next time, Pastor Greg has more godly counsel by way of his unique message called, What I Would Tell My Younger Self. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 09:37:58 / 2023-07-11 09:47:35 / 10

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