These are definitely uncertain times; we are dealing with a situation NONE of us have ever seen before. _
Leaves us with SO MANY QUESTIONS that we have to face for the first time.
How do I stay safe? When will this end? Why isn’t there any toilet paper?
In the midst of these, and 100 other questions, we are faced with a temptation that even in the best of times, can be hard to stand against.
I’m talking of course, about worry.
I have yet to meet someone who says this isn’t something they struggle with. It doesn’t matter your personality, your disposition; ALL of us will be tempted to worry.
Let me tell you what I mean when I say “worry,”
“Worry,” as Jesus defines it in our passage today, is talking about our unbiblical focus on the problems we have, and our searching for solutions outside of Jesus.
To WORRY, is to focus too much on our problems, and what WE can do about them, and NOT ENOUGH on Jesus.
This is something we all deal with. We are EXPERTS in worrying.
You don’t have to try to worry; think about it, have you ever forgot to worry?
Worry comes natural to us.
And in the world we’re living in today, the temptation to just run ourselves ragged worrying has never been greater.
And if we give into this temptation, and become someone who consistency worries, we will be ROBBED of all the joy and peace that God wants to give us.
That’s why, in Matthew 6, we are going to see that Jesus wants to give us a solution to worry. He speaks DIRECTLY to our hearts in this passage. Worry is a burden that we carry around, and today I hope you’ll let Jesus take the weight off of you.
If you’re willing to hear what God has to say about this; and let His Word tell you how to react when we’re tempted to worry; I can promise you a life with more joy, more peace, and a deeper relationship with the Father.
Turn with me now to Matthew 6:25, where we see Jesus address this issue head on. In this passage, Jesus directly confronts the sin of worry and anxiety. He recognizes the root of the problem, and gives us a route to joy instead of stress.
Start with me in verse 25.
When we see a “therefore,” that means that what he’s about to say is based on what he’s already said.
Had a professor always said, “when you see a therefore, see what it’s there for.”
So before we read what Jesus has to say about worrying, let’s see what He’s building His argument on.
Backup with me to v. 19
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
So before Jesus gets into our problem with worrying, He attacks the discontentment and materialism that causes us to worry in the first place.
He says, “don’t worry about the stuff here on earth; it’s all going away anyways.
Focus instead on the things that ACTUALLY matter. Don’t focus on accumulating stuff, and elevating your status here on earth; focus on the Kingdom! Focus on Heaven! Keep your eye on the prize; because if you’re focused on money, you’re NOT focused on God, and you’ll be doomed to a life of discontentment filled with worry and stress.”
After saying all that, now we can look at what Jesus says about our worry. Read with me starting in v. 25.
25 “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? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Let’s back up and look at a few different statements Jesus made.
Remember, what we just read was built on the foundation that we cannot serve God and money. We cannot be focused on the things of earth and the things of heaven at the same time. We can try, but we’re only fooling ourselves.
And Jesus then goes on to say, that if that’s true; and we should be focused on storing up treasures in heaven, and not on earth; THEREFORE
Do not be anxious.
I’d like to point out that this is not a suggestion. This is not a matter of opinion or personality.
This is a command.
“But you don’t know my personality, I’m just a worrier.” “If you knew the things I was going through, you’d be worried too. You don’t know what I’m dealing with.”
You’re right; I may not know your personality, or your situation. But God does.
And guess what; He still says don’t be anxious!
This is not a conditional commandment based on your predispositions or circumstances.
In fact, let’s go back and look at some of the examples that Jesus gave.
25 “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 begins by listing the most basic needs we have; food, water, clothing.
For most of us, these aren’t our major concerns. We are incredibly blessed to live in a place where the majority of people don’t wonder where their next meal is coming from, or what they’re going to do when their one sweatshirt finally wears out.
It’s out there; and it’s here in our community; but most of us have those most basic needs met, and we’ve had them met our entire life.
So our major sources of potential worry have been taken care of….but does that stop us??
Of course not; we just find new things to worry about.
We’ll worry about bigger things, like
Finances, our marriage, our kids…
But then we also worry about small things, too.
Soon, we’re worrying about everything, and somehow we look up and realize that we can barely enjoy anything at all because we’re constantly thinking about the list in our head of things to worry about.
So even when things are great, we’re just waiting for it to fall apart, because worry has become a part of our DNA...
The sin of self-reliance and worrying will spread until we uproot it.
Which is what Jesus is challenging us to do in this passage; challenging us to replace stress with peace, by replacing WORRY with TRUST.
Look back with me starting in v. 26
26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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 gives us two examples here; birds and flowers.
He makes the same point with both of them;
His provision for us is not conditional.
It’s not based on how hard we work, how holy we act, or how much we worry.
ii. Look at the birds; they don’t sow or reap. Birds aren’t out there with a tiny rake planting little rows of seeds.
This isn’t a Disney movie, okay? Birds aren’t helping people get dressed, and they aren’t farmers either.
They aren’t laboring to earn their food. They just sort of exist. And when they get hungry, they just look around, and sure enough, there’s some food! God provides.
Look at the flowers. Once again, they do nothing to earn the beauty with which God adorns them.
So for both the birds and the flowers, their provision from God is not based on what they have done to earn it. Instead, it is based on the love that their Creator has for them. And Jesus asks us this question;
“Are you not of more value than they?”
Are you, who has been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God; known from the beginning of time by a God who loved you enough to send His own son to die upon the cross to take a punishment that you had fully earned yourself….
Are you not of more value than they?
If He takes care of them, how much more will he take care of you, His beloved child?
I mean think about this; you and I are capable of that much. We provide for our children even though they offer us nothing in return.
I am not a perfect dad by any means;
At my church in KC, there are MULTIPLE policies that were added to the preschool hallway after my kids had been there a couple weeks.
So I’m not a perfect dad, but I still provide for my children, expecting nothing in return.
And I’ve got news for you; God is a WAY better father than I am!
It’s after pointing out these truths that Jesus, knowing that His disciples know these things yet still do not trust Him, says,
“O yea of little faith,” why do we still not trust Him?
I truly believe that many of us need to repent of our lack of faith…
During Jesus ministry, he met a man whose son was demon possessed.
He had heard of Jesus, and His power to heal. So he finds him, and asks Jesus to heal his son.
Jesus responds that anything is possible if he believes. And the man replies in Mark 9:24, “I believe! Help my unbelief.”
This sentiment might describe how you’re feeling pretty well today.
Because my guess is that most of us believe that God will provide for us. If I were to ask, “Do you believe that God loves you and will take care of you,” you would most likely say ‘yes.’
But during the hard times, we may find ourselves failing to put our full trust in Him.
Even though we know full well that worrying doesn’t do any good.
Look what Jesus says about how impractical it is to worry.
In v. 27
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Have you ever looked back and been glad you worried about something?
“Whew, things really looked bad for a while, but wow, God sure did provide. But, I’m still glad I took time to worry through all of it.”
ii. Then in v. 31,
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
iii. So Jesus tells us, and we probably believe the fact that worrying doesn’t add a day to your life; and we know it actually might take a few away;
iv. Jesus also tells us that we shouldn’t worry, because it makes us look like the people who don’t know God
What a shame it is when the people of God look no different than the people of the world.
Finally, if there’s one thing I’m SURE that all of us know, it’s what Jesus says in v. 34.
Today has enough to worry about for itself.
Despite the fact that we may recognize the truth of this passage; that Jesus promises to take care of us unconditionally, and that worrying has no benefit whatsoever…we may still need to pray the same thing the father of the demon possessed boy did;
God….I believe….help my unbelief.
I know you can provide for me…I know you will take care of me, and I have no need to be anxious or worry….But Jesus, help my unbelief. Help me to believe it more. Help me to believe it more every day. Help my unbelief.”
I believe this is the first step towards leading the life Jesus calls us to; one of contentment and joy that will overflow into holiness.
Jesus tells us how we can do this; how we get there in v. 33
. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We rid our lives of worry not by changing our circumstances, but by changing our perspective.
When we get our eyes off our surroundings, and onto Jesus, the things we’re worrying about start to seem pretty insignificant.
The solution isn’t to eliminate your problems; there will always be more problems.
This isn’t a circumstance issue, it’s a heart issue.
In a moment, I want to give some points of application to every believer that has struggled with trusting God at all times.
But before I do that, I want to say a quick word to anyone who might not be.
If you’re here today, and you’ve never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus; never confessed him as Lord, repented of your sins, been given new life…I have bad news and good news.
Bad news: You will NEVER have peace, freedom from worry, without Jesus.
Good news: He LOVES YOU, and WANTS a relationship with you. Today can be the day you finally stop trying to get by on your own strength, and give your life to Jesus.
Now, a I want to give you a few quick points of encouragement and application, especially for those of you who feel like you’ve fought and lost this fight 1,000 times.
First, I think Jesus is calling us here to focus on heaven.
Keep your mind on things above, the treasure you’re storing up for the future. Seek first the kingdom of God.
We have a finite amount of attention to give…any of it you give to God cannot be given to worry or any other anxious thoughts.
Second, Remember your past
Last, choose prayer.
Look at Philippians 4:6-7
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The temptation to worry will hit you every single day. When it does, you have a decision to make. Will you give in, and choose not to trust God? Or will you call out to Him in prayer?
worry and prayer are opposites.
Every time an anxious thought pops in your head, there’s a fork in the road. You can rely on your own strength, and become filled with fear and worry; or you can choose to trust Jesus.
And when you do, God will deliver a peace to your soul, and joy to your heart. You’ll bring glory to God, and better be able to live the life he’s called you to.
Pray with me
Father, we come before you grateful for your love for us. Thankful that you care for your creation, from the smallest flower, to every one of us. God we know that you are capable of providing for us. Help us to trust you. Rid us of doubt and fear, rid us of self-reliance…and give us the faith we need to call upon your name in our times of need. God we believe. Help our unbelief. Amen.