Read Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34 (ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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 clothes? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?... But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Has worry or anxiety ever benefited your life?
What do you tend to worry about? We all have something in our lives that makes us anxious. Some worry more than others but we all do it. But worry and anxiety are not good for us. Jesus said so and modern medicine confirms it.
If you search the web for the long-term impacts of stress and anxiety on your health, the results are overwhelmingly negative. Mental health issues, panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory disorders, digestive issues, and more, are all listed as side-effects of long-term exposure to anxiety.
In today’s passage, Jesus confirms what modern medicine has discovered—worry will not add to your life. Instead, worry takes from your life. It robs you of your joy, your peace, your health, and it can even lower your life expectancy.
Jesus told us not to worry. Not because there aren’t problems in this life that are anxiety-inducing. On the contrary, Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). No, Jesus told us not to worry because our heavenly Father will take care of us. The verse isn’t suggesting that our Father might take care of us. It is a promise that He will.
Jesus confirmed that as image-bearers of God, humans are more valuable than animals such as birds. And yet, the Father provides even for the birds. In 1 Peter 5:7, Peter said that we should cast our anxiety of Him because He cares for us.
I don’t know the exact count, but over and over again in Scripture, we are told to “fear not,” “trust God,” “don’t be dismayed,” “be courageous,” etc. God knew that this life is full of opportunities to worry so He encouraged us to “take heart.”
One way Jesus said to do this was to take our eyes off of this world and shift our focus to His Kingdom instead. He said to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.” But what does that mean? Jesus was saying that we should first seek salvation. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we receive His righteousness. But we also become the children of God and as such, we can fully rely on our Father’s care and provision.
When we seek first the Kingdom of God, that means that God’s will is our first priority. We aren’t overwhelmed with the problems of earth because we are looking forward to and longing for His kingdom to come. Ultimately, we know that we are completely loved and cared for.
Friends, Jesus told us not to worry, despite all of the problems in this world. First, because He knew that He would take care of us. He loves us! Second, because He knows it isn’t good for us. Worry robs us of joy, peace, and our health! He knew that if we would just shift our focus from earthly problems to our heavenly Father, we would be at peace. When we seek first the Kingdom of God, we know that we are ultimately cared for. And when we know that, we can rest easy.
Lord, when I am worried and afraid, I will do as David said and put my trust in You (Psalm 56:3). I know that You care about me. You have shown me over and over again that You will meet my needs. Forgive me when my faith falters and strengthen my trust in You. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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