You arrive at work early in the morning. You are worried about the man that followed you and whether he will ask you for money or stab and kill you then make you open the safe. During the day you realize your wife hasn’t sent you a message like she usually would, so you worry that she may have slept through her alarm, or crashed on her way to work and forgot to call. You get through your work day and worry that you will make it to the appointment you have to get to on time, and that they will charge you a cancellation fee.You get home and greet your wife with tales of your woeful day. You sit down to eat and worry that your wife may not have made dessert tonight. You watch the evening news and you worry.You go to bed and worry about whether or not you have forgotten to do anything. You check that your alarm is set at least four times, and put your back up alarm on, just in case. You keep yourself awake worrying that tomorrow might be exactly the same.
If what you daydream about reveals what your heart worships, then what you worry about may reveal what you trust in to get by in day to day life.
We have ‘little faith’ in God when it comes to little things it seems. We trust Him for big things like upholding the universe and our salvation….but everything else is up to us. That might not be what we believe, but it’s certainly not how we act.
‘ No Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as anxiety’ – Kierkegaard
1. Don’t Worry…
“Therefore…” ( v.25, 31,34)
It seems straight forward in it’s context. You can’t serve God and money, if you can’t make your stuff into an idol and keep your eye on heavenly things at the same time, if you do, you will spend your life debilitated by worry about EVERYTHING….
why we should not worry:
– life is more than food and the body more than clothing
We so often claim to have nothing to eat, or nothing to wear…where what we really mean is we have nothing we want to eat or nothing with the right brand name to wear.
￼Our appetites control our behavior, so who do people know you as when you are hungry? Are you irritable? Angry? Sad?
Why does your happiness depend on your satisfaction?!
In our society, we can hardly claim to be starving. Skipping meals usually points to busyness rather than necessity.
What about our clothing? We seem more worried about whether people think we are fashionable that we don’t even care about what is functional. We want brand names, certain items, and a certain look. We worry that we may not fit in, or we worry that we will. We are overly concerned with how other people will see us.
– you are more valuable than the birds
The first thing in nature we are told to consider are the birds. They always seem busy, but they never seem worried. They are always working, but never anxious about their long term prospects. They aren’t watching the worm- exchange or the seed fund. They don’t hoard, and they don’t worry about what other birds are eating and whether their diet makes them look fat in their plume and feathers.
The lesson is clear – if God cares for the birds in nature in such ways, then why would He not care for us in the same things? We are of so much more value that any creature, we are the only creatures made in God’s image, this makes us incredibly blessed…we have a Heavenly Father!
We should never believe the lie that God doesn’t care for nature, but we should also never place nature above Him, or even above His care for us. We are His children.
– God is Sovereign over your life
The next law of nature is law of life and death. No one can add height to their
stature, and no one can add a year to their lives.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat healthy and exercise, but on the contrary, we steward we have been given, don’t take anything for granted, and we certainly don’t try to manipulate nature in order so we can have more glory in life, whether by social status or physical achievement. You are who God has made you to be, and all you are called to do is walk in His Will.
￼- God will clothe us
The last example of nature is the flowers.
Unless you have hayfever, flowers are wonderful and beautiful things.
When we worry about what we are going to wear, we should think of how the lilies don’t fuss about how they look, never worry about whether their petals will keep them from looking weird, or if their pollen is faulty.They don’t stress about how they will make themselves. They are flowers. They are created in such a way that they have a glory that can only belong to them. All the riches in the world can’t buy the beauty that a simple lilly possesses ( which not a valid excuse for a man not to buy his wife flowers btw!) But even though they have such great exquisite beauty, they rarely last long, and if a flower can be beautiful one day and dead the next, for no other purpose than to simply be beautiful, why would even bother about whether or not we will be clothed? If these things of such beauty are created by the God Who also made us eternal souls with bodies, why would we worry about whether we will have clothes to wear, let alone how we look in them?
2. Worry = Unbelief
What does it look like when we do worry? When we are obsessed with what we are going to eat, drink or wear?
Jesus says that it is these things that the unbelieving pagan Gentiles worry about.That hurts! But how else could we possibly say it? Worrying, at it’s root, is a lack of faith, and when we worry about whether we will have anything to eat, drink or wear we have forgotten we have a Heavenly Father who knows what we need and longs for us to ask Him for our daily bread.
Pagans treat God like a genie ( v 7-8), and they also worry constantly about their material needs, and even more, their material wants. We are called to much more than that. We are called to be distinctive in how we live in this world, and what better distinctive quality would there be on a day to day level that living lives of trust and not getting attached to ‘stuff’ in this world?
We have little faith, small faith. Although that sounds like another rebuke, it can also be a source of challenge – faith can grow. Jesus is asking His followers to let their ‘little faith’ grow up into a deeper dependence.
￼3. Seek First The Kingdom & His Righteousness
When we see the context of this message on worry is related to danger of loving our stuff too much, and the bigger picture the danger of self- righteousness, we can put worry in both categories.
Worry is obsessing over what you have and don’t have.
Worry is also an act of self-righteousness, in saying you think you can do a better job than God. ( which you are under-qualified for…!)
Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong – Keller
How do we get rid of this?
The answer that Jesus gives us is Himself. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not our own.
Just as earthly possessions can become an idol which deposes God by becoming disproportionately important, so also can earthly needs become a source of worry which deposes God by fostering distrust..our physical needs, however legitimate they may be, must never supplant our prior commitment to the kingdom of God and His righteousness – Carson
There is nothing better than that, and because there is nothing better than having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, when we have that as our sole source of fulfillment in life, we soon realize, everything else has been included in the deal. ( v 33b).
We have our daily bread, drink and clothing because we are children of a Father Who loves us, and is pleased to give us good things.
We don’t seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness to get the things, we seek Him and get everything else along with it.
“If you read history you will find that Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought the most of the next… It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become ineffective in this. Aim at heaven, and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth, you will get neither” – CS Lewis
￼When we focus too much on the here and now, we soon lose sight of eternal things. We worry about today, and tomorrow, because we want control or we want comfort, and we want desire these more than we desire the will of the Sovereign Father Who knows what we need.
What do you turn to for comfort? ( what makes you happy…..?)Maybe some of the things you turn to are distracting you from the Comforter?Maybe you are too comfortable?
What about trying to control your worries? How’s that working out for you?
Thinking you can control you worries or your comforts is not only delusional, but also becomes much more selfish, as you not only try to control your own situation, but you try to control your environment as well, and you started judging others on whether or not they are contributing to your quality of life.
What today might be an irritation at what someone else has done to disrupt your own private world, tomorrow becomes warfare as you seek vindication for perceived injustice, and we point out specks of shortcomings while having a beams of disbelief in our own eye.
Anxiety = doubt / cynicism ” has God said?” Anxiety = rebellious independence
Anxiety = relativism, it’s true but is it true for me?
We over-analyse what we don’t & can’t know, instead of meditating on what we can & should know…
-Turn your worries into prayers.
Cast you cares upon Him, because He cares for you. ( 1 Peter 5:7). Prayer at it’s heart is God-focussed and self-forgetful. Be humble, you are needy, ask for what you need.
– Become like a child.
You have a Heavenly Father – ask Him for what you need. Adults try to figure out the cause and logic of things, children just ask. Ask with simple faith, even if it’s “HELP!”.
– focus on today, that’ll give you enough to ask for… – Look to Christ.
worried about food? He’s the Bread of Life. drink? He’s the Living Water
clothing? He’s clothed you in His righteousness life? He’s given His so you could new life
We might look at the Cross and rightly call it the greatest injustice of all time, and we would be right. We may well say that if a perfect man is dead, then our worries about this life would be left for us to worry about…But the Cross doesn’t end in defeat. The only defeat of the Cross is the defeat of sin, and even better is that it doesn’t end in death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us hope of life – that this life with all it’s worries and trials is borne by Christ’s sinless death in our place, and that His rising again justifies us before God, and assures of eternal life. If Christ remained dead, then we should be miserable and worried about our worries. If He is risen, and He is, then what does that do for our worries? Not only do we not have to worry about today to tomorrow, we can look to eternity and see we have a sure and certain hope.