One of the easiest and simplest phrases to say, yet so difficult to live by is: “Don’t worry”. With the stresses of living in this world today comes what seems like endless things to worry about. Keeping, or finding, a job; buying groceries; making the payment on your house or paying the rent; all these things can bring worry into our lives. Moreover, if we are not careful, we can allow worry, instead of God, to be the focus of our lives.
Would it not be wonderful if there were a way that we could forego worry? As a Christian, we have resources that the non-believer does not have. We have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe. This relationship is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers do not have this relationship with God; therefore, they do not have access to His loving, caring provisions.
Jesus’ words about worry
What did Jesus have to say about worry? Did He promise to take care of us? Let us look at His words in the New Testament for answers. The passage on which we will focus is found in Matthew 6:25-33. In Matthew 5, Jesus had taught on the Beatitudes (vv. 1-12), that the Christian should be salt and light (vv. 13-16), anger (vv. 21-26), lust (vv. 27-30), divorce (vv. 31-32), making oaths (vv. 33-37), and how to love your enemies instead of seeking revenge (vv. 38-48). Matthew, chapters five through seven, is known as “The Sermon on the Mount” and contains some of Jesus’ most straightforward and practical teachings. The passages we will be looking at appear in this section of Scripture.
Jesus begins this way, in verse twenty-five of Matthew chapter six: “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?” Jesus is speaking to His followers, those who have committed their lives to Him. Therefore, Jesus is also speaking to those of us who have committed our lives to Him. His message here is that we should not worry. Simple. We should not worry about what we are going to eat or what we will wear. Now, as Jesus elaborates later, His statement is not limited to food and clothing, but to every area of life. We can trust God to provide our needs. Our responsibility in all this is not only to trust God for what we need, but also to trust that God knows what our needs really are. Oftentimes, we think we know what we need; too often, from our perspective, our needs are really only something we want.
God’s immeasurable concern for us
Jesus continues by illustrating God’s intimate care for His creatures, “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?” (v. 26). Jesus calls our attention to some very important points here in regards to food:
- Birds do not farm.
- They do not plow the ground at the appropriate time of year.
- They do not buy seed and plant it in the field that they just plowed.
- Nevertheless, even though birds do not plan ahead, even though those birds do not worry or fret, God takes care of them and provides for their needs.
God considers us more valuable than the birds for which He provides. Therefore, we can be even more confident that God will provide us with what we need. Birds do not worry, and we have even less reason to worry than do they.
In verses twenty-eight through thirty, Jesus applies the same logic to clothing when He says, “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?” Jesus’ point is that, even though God cares about these plants so much that He provides a most beautiful covering for them; He cares much more for us, who were made in His image.
In case the point was missed, Jesus repeats it one more time, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (v. 27). Jesus points out that worry is futile; it is a waste of time and accomplishes nothing (except maybe ulcers and grey hair—RD).
God is not promoting slothfulness
Now, we must not misunderstand the message contained within these verses. God is not saying that He means for us to stay at home in our pajamas, planted in front of the television consuming potato chips and soda that He miraculously provides for us. The message is that God places everything we need within our ability to receive it. Those who are able to work, should work (cf. Proverbs 12:24, 27; 19:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:10); however, God will meet each of us at the end of our ability and the beginning of our need, and He will provide.
As Christians, we have no reason to worry. We enjoy an intimate relationship with the all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator, who loves us with a love that we can barely comprehend. Jesus sums up this passage of His teaching with these words, “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 ” (Matthew 6:31-32).
Jesus’ clear teaching here is that believers and unbelievers (Gentiles) have the same needs; however, the believer has the assurance that God knows his or her needs and will provide. How much less would we worry if we would simply believe this promise and trust that the One who made it is ready, willing, and able to keep it?
So, what is our part in this promise? In Matthew 6:33, Jesus makes it even clearer, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. We are to live our lives dedicated to God. We are to love Him, honor Him, obey Him, and serve Him with our entire being (Romans 12:1).
Jesus’ promises for worry-free living are true, the only thing preventing you from experiencing their power, is you.
Take a look at these tips on how to stop worrying:
Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”