“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 clothing? 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? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 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” (Matthew 6:25-34, ESV).
“Why do you worry so much?” the exasperated husband asked his wife. “Don’t you know that it does no good?” His wife smiled and replied, “Actually, it does a lot of good. The things that I worry about never happen.”
Maybe the things that we worry about never happen, but worry does affect us. There is a physical dimension to anxiety. Our bodies can be affected by hypertension, ulcers, insomnia, and other maladies. Worse, though, worry can affect us spiritually. In our text, Jesus revealed four ways that worry can hinder our walk with Him and our witness for Him.
- Jesus warned that worry leads to an obsession with food, clothing, and other temporal things. We laugh about it now, but do you remember how quickly bathroom tissue and paper towels disappeared from the shelves at the beginning of COVID-19? Worry causes disruption to our priorities. Things that have no eternal value become so all-consuming that we forget that life is more than these things. Life really is more than Spam and ramen noodles. Life is our relationship with Christ. Life is bringing glory to God. Life is declaring His goodness.
- “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?” A danger of worry is self-centeredness. A risk of anxiety is selfishness. A peril of worry is self-reliance. There are few things that will hinder fellowship with the Lord as much as the enthronement of self. One of Jesus’s complaints against the Pharisees was that they were “full of greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25). Romans 2:8 shows the seriousness, “…For those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” That is why Paul, the apostle, encouraged the Colossian church to put off the old self with its practices, and to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Colossians 3:9-10).
- Too much worry, too much anxiety, too much self-centeredness, and we begin to look like the world around us (Matthew 6:32). The world has every right to worry. They don’t know the Provider. They haven’t encountered the Healer. They haven’t met the Prince of Peace. But we have met Him! We know Him and He has a track record of faithfulness with us. Worry not only robs us of peace, but it robs the world of a witness to the greatness and kindness of Christ. The more we look like the world around us, the more the light of our witness begins to fade.
- Finally, Jesus reminds us that worry, left unchecked, will cause us to dread tomorrow and to despair of the future. Frustration, discontentment, disappointment and ungratefulness are all fruits of worry. You know you are in serious trouble when you are worrying about what you are going to worry about.
Corrie ten Boom wrote, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” Keep your eyes on Him.
Things To Do:
- Memorize Proverbs 12:25. “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
- Pray and ask the Lord to bring to mind at least three people who are in need of a word of encouragement. Call them and give them a good word (and there are no better words than the words of God).
- If you are a new Christian, or a young Christian, find one of those “seasoned Saints” and ask them about God’s faithfulness. If you have been walking with the Lord for a while, share some of your stories of God’s faithfulness with someone else. This will build your faith, as well as their faith.
- If you have not already done so, begin to keep a list of the things you are thankful for and add to it each day.