Matthew 6:25-32 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 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.”
I think our society, or our culture, teaches us to be afraid about everything. I know the news media promotes fear all the time. And, if we grew up in an abusive home, like I did, we grew up being afraid all the time, too. So, fear is instilled in us, and so we must learn to overcome it by trusting Jesus.
Yes, there are healthy fears, such as the fear (awe, honor, respect, reverence) of the Lord. And, the fear of danger can be healthy, too, which is more like wisdom, such as fearing (respecting) a hot stove so that we don’t touch it and get burned.
But, anxiety never solves anything. It never changes anything for the good if we sit around and worry about our circumstances or about our future or what we are going to do if this or that happens. All worry does is it makes us sick, and it can produce all kinds of physical and mental ailments.
In addition to that, when we are worrying about anything or everything, we are not trusting the Lord with our lives or with other people or with our circumstances. It is like saying to God, “God, I don’t believe you are capable of handling this situation.”
When we give way to worry and we begin to fret about things, we also have a tendency of taking matters into our own hands because we fear, honestly, that God is not going to do a good enough job. So, the opposite of worry is to have faith in our Lord and in his sovereignty over our lives.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Instead of worrying, we commit our lives to the Lord, and we trust him. But, let me say this here. If we are not listening to the Lord, and if we are going our own way, doing our own thing, and so we mess things up badly, we can’t expect the Lord to bail us out.
We need to take responsibility for our own actions and not expect the Lord to fix our messes for us. And, we need to be following him in all ways, doing what he says to do, and we must resist taking matters into our own hands or making all our own decisions without consulting the Lord.
Seeking first his kingdom is not some light, casual, or momentary thing just when we need help. Seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness is 24/7, in all things, and in all ways. It is desiring his desires and wanting his best for us in all things instead of seeking our own desires.
Seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness is giving our all to the Lord, fully committed to him and to doing his will for our lives. It is dying daily to sin and to self and it is walking daily in his righteousness, empowered by his Spirit now living within us.
And, when we do that, our basic (fundamental) needs will be met by the Lord. But for Americans, we need to understand that we don’t “need” most of what we think we “need.” We all can live on a whole lot less – less money, less space, less stuff, less food to eat, and less clothing/shoes, etc.
We made a move a few years ago from a house to an apartment half the size of our house, so before we moved, I went through our entire house and just cut everything in half, i.e. I downsized our stuff by half of what we had. And, we weren’t in need of anything.
A year later we moved again to an even smaller space, and this time I cut out another third of our stuff, and you know what? We survived just fine. We didn’t need all that stuff. I also learned that I could eat a whole lot less and be healthy, and that we, as Americans, don’t need the amount of food the average American eats.
So, when the Lord says if we seek his kingdom first that “all these things” will be added to us, he is not talking about all the things we think we need to survive. He is talking about what he knows that we need to survive. For, we serve an amazing God. And, just like he fed 4,000 people, I think it was, with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, he is quite capable of not only making our food stretch, but of making our stomachs shrink, too.
He can give us strength when we are so tired we don’t think we can go on another minute or another mile. And, God will do amazing things in our lives if we just get out of the way and we learn to truly trust him in all things and in all ways. All glory to God!
An Original Work / May 30, 2011
“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.
“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”
Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.