Matthew 6:25-34 DO NOT BE ANXIOUS
Jesus continues with his Sermon on the Mount following up His words about earthly treasures and heavenly treasures with comforting words about the lack of earthly needs. Basic needs for every human are food, water, clothing, and shelter. Many people on this earth do not even have basic needs.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a classic example of the importance of fulfilling basic needs before one is able to teach. These basic physical needs must be met first. A child who is hungry is almost unteachable with the mind concentrating on the stomach. Up the ladder next is safety. If one does not feel safe, one is distracted with worry. Next on the ladder is love and belonging. Every human has a need to be loved and feel as if they belong. Unfulfilled love and sense of belonging is distracting and full of nervousness. Next on the ladder is esteem (from others). If one does not feel respect and admiration, one is uneasy and apprehensive to step out. Last on the ladder is self-actualization, similar to self-esteem, knowing the abilities of oneself, or just knowing myself and being myself. All of these things cause anxiety, worry, uneasiness, apprehension, fear, and concern which take us away from the focus on the treasures of heaven. What do I worry about? Where do I need to work on trusting God?
Jesus reminds us in His Word that our "life" is more important than food and clothing, that being our eternal life. Jesus gives us an example of the "birds in the air" and the "lilies in the field" (more beautiful than Solomon and all his gold) and the "grass of the fields" who do not worry about what they will eat or wear and how much the Father cares for them and takes care of them. God's children are more important than the birds in the air.
Jesus gives us a few directions: 1) do not be anxious; 2) Do not say, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ; 3) seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and 4) do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Why are these directions so hard to follow? I know my mind struggles to get rid of worry, even when I know I can trust fully in God. It is my inborn sinful self that causes my faith that He will take care of me and trust in His love to falter. One Hundred Percent faith and trust would leave no room for worry, and yet we do. Worry shows a lack of faith and understanding of God. God does not ignore those who depend on Him. Jesus loves and knows His children and gives us a sense of that when he gives us permission to worry only about today for "sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Take one day at a time.
Jesus does not promise us "all these things" of the earth in verse 33. This verse cannot be read one part without the other. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and "these things," that is, the kingdom of God and His righteousness, will be added to you.
Reading this Word in scripture and prayer is the best way to combat anxiousness and worry. Thinking about Jesus keeps our minds from thinking about needs. Here are some other thoughts to ponder.
1. The same God who created life in me can be trusted with the details of my life.
2. Worrying about the future hampers my efforts for today.
3. Worrying is more harmful than helpful. Worry is debilitating and useless. Worry causes stress which causes physical health problems. Worry effects the way we treat others. Worry does not add one hour to our life (Matt 6:27).
4. There are real challenges God wants us to pursue and worrying keeps us from them.
5. Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.
6. What distractions are keeping me from seeking God first? Should I watch TV before spending time in prayer or devotion with God?
7. Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted.
8. Worry is fear consuming us.
9. Replace worry with trust in God; that's how we get free from worry. Replace worry with prayers of thanks.
10. It is okay to be concerned with the right things. Worry demobilizes but concern moves into action.