“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
As I have studied God’s Word, considered my life, and talked with others about theirs, I have come to the conclusion that there are three areas of concern that trigger worry and anxiety within us: sustenance, acceptance, and assurance.
I want to begin by addressing sustenance, and hopefully presenting some tools of Truth to guard against worry in this area.
The passage above, from Matthew chapter six, reminds me that in Jesus’ time, just as today, we can all get caught up worrying about whether or not our needs will be met. Food. Shelter. Clothing.
In our privileged society the list might look something a little more like this: job, health, retirement, etc…
If you’re anything like me, you want to make wise decisions that hopefully lead to the best outcomes in this physical and material life. But it can so easily become a worry trap for us. So much so that losing a job or being diagnosed with a disease can lead us down a spiral of anxiety, fear, anger, and struggle against God.
And the hard truth is that sometimes God doesn’t provide in the way we think He should. A
Yet Christ tells us not to worry. But how can we do that? How can we untangle worry from wisdom and become mentally and spiritually unshakable in the midst of troubles (which Jesus reminds us each day holds)?
The answer is in the first part of our passage. “Is not life more than……?”
What can take our minds to that ‘more than’ place? How can we have different priorities and different ambitions than the unsaved who clamor after wealth and power and beauty and comfort?
Do you set your hope on retiring comfortably, or on hearing ‘well done my good and faithful servant’ when your sojourning on this earth is done.
Do you set your hope on avoiding all ailments and staving off aging, or is it in working to build His kingdom?
Do you set your hope on a stable, comfortable life, or on the glory that is to be revealed in eternity?
Hope and worry cannot coexist.
You see, hope is what shines through the smile of a poverty stricken young man – who knows that this world is not his home
Hope is in the eyes of a bed-ridden old woman gracefully facing the end of her life.
Hope is in the heart of the missionary who willingly sacrifices his life so that even one soul may receive that same earnest expectation, which is in Christ.
Hope in our Heavenly Father and the glory He has waiting for us is what makes it possible for us to bear up under the heaviest trials.
Why don’t we need to worry about our lives? Because God will provide. And if He chooses not to provide in the physical ways that make sense to the unbelieving, we have an utmost assurance that He has made the ultimate provision in Christ – a provision which provides an eternity of abundance.
If we desire to be wholehearted Christians, we must get this hope thing figured out. We must replace our worry over sustenance with the Hope we have because of Christ in us! We must set our minds on the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3) and dwell on whatever is right, just, and holy (Phil. 4). We must seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6)
After all, our testimony to the world is not seen when we enjoy good circumstances, but when we have hope in hopeless times. It’s in hardship that the fortitude of our faith can be a witness to the world.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. C.S. Lewis