The Sin of Worry
By Kenneth E. Hagin
By Kenneth E. Hagin
The only sin that I had a great problem to get rid of was the sin of worry. (That statement always goes over big because most people still have that sin, and they don't want to acknowledge that it's wrong.)
I never had any trouble with lying. After I got born again, I never wanted to lie anymore. I haven't had any problem with that one at all. And I never had any problem with other sins. No, the toughest time I had was with this worry business.
You know my story. I was born again on the 22nd day of April 1933 at 20 minutes till 8 o'clock on Saturday night in the south bedroom of 405 North College Street in the city of McKinney, Texas.
I never had a normal childhood. I had become bedfast. I'd gone to Baptist Sunday School and church all my life, so I had a Bible. I had read so many chapters each week just so I could say I had read them — but they didn't mean anything to me. I didn't think you were supposed to understand the Bible.
But the morning after I became born again, I asked my family to bring me the Bible. I got blessed just looking at the cover, where it said "Holy Bible." Then I looked inside. I got blessed just reading the table of contents. Oh, when you're born again, the whole thing becomes alive and new to you!
In Vacation Bible School, we had learned to sing the books of the Bible, and we could rattle them off with head knowledge, but it didn't mean a thing to us. Now I was born again. I read the names of the Old and New Testament books. Blessed be God, when you begin to say them out of your spirit, they mean something. I got blessed just reading the books of the Bible.
The doctor had recently warned me, "You could go at any minute," so I thought, I'll start in the New Testament since my time is limited. I am going to get in here in a hurry and find out what belongs to me.
I opened to Matthew. Then I prayed, "Lord, before I ever start reading, I promise You this: I make this covenant with You. I'll never doubt anything that I read in your Word. And the moment I read it and understand it, I'll put it into practice."
I got as far as Matthew 6 and read that 34th verse. "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
I was reading out of a New Testament, because it was lighter and easier for me to hold. It had a little footnote at the bottom of the page. It referred me to Philippians 4:6: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
It also referred me to First Peter 5:7: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Then whoever wrote the footnotes said, "God doesn't want you to worry or be anxious about anything."
I was just a youngster —just 15 years old (this was a little before my 16th birthday). You talk about worrying — I was taught to worry from the time I was a little child. I was actually a "worrywart." Do you know what a "worry-wart" is? I was one of them.
My mother and grandmother were world champion worriers, and I had learned to worry from them.When I first became bedfast, I had two doctors. Finally there were five doctors on my case. They didn't tell me much about what was wrong with me. When you're an invalid, you can lie there and imagine that everything in the world is wrong with you. And you're sure taking thought about tomorrow, because you may not even be here tomorrow!
But I had just promised God, "I'll practice whatever I understand in your Word." The Bible had been all light, joy, and a blessing to me. But the further I got into Matthew, it became dark, with no joy, no blessing, no reality to it. I stopped to check up. I asked myself, What's wrong here?
Matthew 6 kept popping up. "You said you'd put into practice whatever you read and understood."
"Dear Lord," I said, "if a person's got to live like Matthew 6 said, I'll never make it. I can't live without worrying. That's as much a part of me as my hands and feet!"
I went on reading, but I never got a thing out of it. That was the 23rd day of April 1933, and it took me until July 4th to get out of the sixth chapter of Matthew.
There's no use in continuing to read the Bible if it is not a joy and a thrill to your spirit. You need to go back to where you quit walking in the light, start walking in the light, and it will be light again to you. (And you know where it was you quit.)
Somebody will say, "No, I don't." Now quit lying about it. Repent for lying first of all. I know you know, because I was just like you. I tried to make excuses for myself, but the Lord didn't listen to me, so I had to go back to the sixth chapter of Matthew again and get on
the right track. Then the Bible became all light to me again.
I never will forget July 4, 1933.1 had a pity party all day. I cried all day long. I was sure I couldn't do what Matthew 6 said. "Lord," I complained, "if we've got to live like that — if we've got to live without worrying — I might as well give up now. I'll never make it as a Christian!"
I was feeling sorry for myself. I couldn't live like the Bible said to live, and besides that, I was dying. And I wanted to blame it all on God.
I said, "Lord, You haven't done right by me! Here I am just 15 years old, and I've got to die — the doctor said so. You know I've been physically handicapped all of my life. I was born prematurely with a deformed heart."
Then I said, "Look at So-and-so. (I named a certain boy who started school with me in the first grade. He lived a few blocks away.) He's wearing good clothes. He's got money in his pocket. He's got his health — and I know how he got his money. "They're not supposed to do it — it's illegal — but they gamble in the back of the drugstore. He entices others in there. He is just a teenager — that's illegal, too — but they'd just as soon take a teenager's money as an adult's. No matter what he wins, he gives all the money back because he's working for them. And the other boys lose all their money, You know. He's a 'shill,' as they call them. So, he's got money; he's got clothes; he's got health — and I never was as mean as him! "You know, Lord, I've always been pretty good. Of course, handicapped like I was, I couldn't do too much that was wrong. . . But I never was as bad as him!"
Then I said, "There is So-and-so (and I named a boy who lived in my end of town and who started school with me in the first grade). He's got money. He's got new clothes. He even has an automobile!" (For a teenager to have an automobile in 1933 — brother! They were fortunate to have a bicycle in those Depression days.) "And he's running around in an almost-new automobile — and I know how he got his money! His brother is a bootlegger, and he runs it for him in his car. And I never was as mean as him!"
I was telling the Lord about these other people, pointing out to Him that I wasn't bootlegging, I wasn't gambling, "And You know," I told Him, "I never was as bad as either of those fellows. And I don't have any good clothes. And I don't have any health. And I have to die. And You've been better to them — as mean as they are — than You have been to me. Poor ol' me!" And I began crying even harder.
I continued, "And now I've gotten saved — born again — and I've got to quit worrying, and I know that I can't."
I was about dead to begin with, but I was about to worry myself to death trying to figure out what was wrong with me. You imagine you have every disease in the world. (Thank God for Dr. Robason, one of my doctors. He finally came and sat by my bed about a month later and told me exactly what was wrong with me physically.)
If I were preaching here against using tobacco, a lot of people would jump up and down and shout, "Praise God, that's right, brother — preach it!" But the sin of worry is worse than the sin of tobacco. God doesn't want you to be bound by any habit, but the habit of worry is worse than the tobacco habit!
Doctors have told me that there are more people sick in hospitals, mental institutions — and already dead — because of worry than any other cause. Worry will kill you. (Tobacco will just half kill you, and you'll stink while you're dying. But worry will kill you.)
Once you start preaching like this on people's pet habit, they'll start to feel sorry for themselves. They think God is not treating them right; the preacher is not treating them right; the world is not treating them right; their brother is not treating them right; and nothing is right. So they have themselves a pity party, like I did. What a struggle I had that July Fourth 1933. At 6 p.m., Momma was by my bed again, trying to comfort me.
I said, "Momma, if you just want to live, will that help any? I mean —just want to live?"
She said, "Well, that's about 50 percent of the battle."
I made a little adjustment on the inside of me, and I said, "Well, I've got 50 percent of it made now. I'll lay that aside and go to work on the other 50 percent."
The minute I said that, something on the inside of me said, "Matthew 6." I knew what He meant.
I turned back to Matthew 6 and read it. After I finished the 34th verse, I said, "All right, Lord. Forgive me. I repent. I repent for worrying. And I promise You this day I'll never worry again the longest day I live. I promise You this day I'll never be discouraged again. I promise You this day I'll never have the blues again."
Thank God I haven't — and I've passed up some marvelous opportunities, too!
I started practicing that as a teenager. It's easier if you start early in life; it's more difficult when you're older, because you've been going a certain way for many years.
It's easier for me now. At first it was difficult, but I refused to worry.
I didn't know about divine healing then — I hadn't gotten far enough in the Bible; I hadn't gotten over to Mark 11:23,24 yet, so I really didn't know that I could be healed.
I still had my physical condition. It still looked like I was going to die. Not only was I bedfast, but every day I would have three to five heart seizures or heart attacks. My heart would stop and I'd think it was never going to start again. I'd fight to stay alive with every fiber in my being. I wore all the varnish off of my bed, right down to the bare wood, just holding on. You hold on with everything you've got to stay here.
Right in the middle of one of those attacks, I turned loose. I turned everything over to the Lord, fell back on my pillow, and said, "Let 'er go. I know where I'm going, anyhow." I never had any more problems with fear. I still had the attacks, but they didn't bother me. I had cast that care upon the Lord.
So I started living that way. I never read a book on the subject; I just saw it in the Bible.