Worry Is Of This World

Few things grip us like anxiety. Whether it is worry over a lost child, a condition at work, or the provision of basic necessities, the act of worrying can sap a person down to the core of his being. The fear of being without food for your family, for example, hits at our basic need level and not having that can automatically put us into a tailspin of worry, doubt, and fear which, in time, lead to the potential for decisions that you may not have otherwise made. Worry is sin. Anxiety is sin. The fear of basic provision to the point of godless worry is sin. Why? Jesus answers this in Matthew 6:24-34.

Matthew writes,

         24      “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

         25      “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to 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, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
         27      “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
         28      “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
         29      yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
         30      “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
         31      “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
         32      “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
         33      “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
         34      “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This profound teaching of the King of kings is absolutely convicting, profound, illuminating, and comforting all at once.

  1. Convicting: the conviction comes in the fact that this is a command. Do not worry (vv.25, 31, 34). Three times the Lord commands the disciples, and us, to not worry about our physical needs. Why? Because of the principle found in v.24. Our hearts are prone to submit to something. And, whether we understand it or not, we always submit to one thing or another. If we do not submit to the Lord and His Word, we are submitting to something else, whether it is ourselves, our money, our problems, sin (see Romans 6:16), or another person. We are rebellious at heart. Jesus Christ has been given the kingdom of the Father, the kingdom of the cosmos, and He is the Ruler of it all and ever person, alive and dead, are subjects of that King (Philippians 2:9-11). He is Lord and Master. He has authority to command, and all things in the created world are subject to Him (Colossians 1:15-17). They are His (Psalm 24:1-2). Now, ask yourself, “If Jesus Christ is Lord, why am I not submitting to Him as such and relying upon Him for provision?” God created us to submit to Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength in love. When we sinned in Adam, we rebelled against that love and always submit to so many other things. Jesus calls us back under His authority, as a loving shepherd, and commands that we submit our hearts, once again, under Him. That is why Jesus said you cannot serve two masters.
  2. Profound: the profundity of this passage is contained in the fact that if we were in the Millennial Kingdom wherein we would see Jesus Christ everyday in His temple we would not worry. So, since we are in His kingdom now (Colossians 1:13), why do we worry? Is this not His kingdom? Are not all things under His sovereign control? Is your mortgage payment a surprise to Him? So, live in light of the fact that you are in His kingdom now! We have been transferred away from a master who hates, uses, and murderously controls those who are under his rule. However, even though we live in his sphere of influence, we are not of it. Even though we interact with his kingdom (Matthew 4:8-9), we are not subjects of his any longer. We are the prize that has been plundered and stolen away by a greater, stronger Man (Matthew 12:25-29). Thus, we now live in the kingdom of Christ operating under His sovereign, powerful control and under His watchful care. Therefore, we have nothing to fear. As Habakkuk said, in light of the impending Chaldean invasion,

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

  1. Illuminating: what does this teaching tell us about our Lord? So much. But think about this. God actively clothes flowers (v.25). God actively feeds birds (v.26). Flowers die in the heat of the afternoon sun, and birds live short lives. These things are seemingly insignificant. But see what Jesus said in v.26b. He asks a question that a father would ask his son in an attempt to capture his son’s trust; “Are you not worth much more than they?” What an insight into the motivation of God’s care. We are of more value, much more, than flowers and birds! But, lest we fall into some kind of mindset that exalts our self-worth, it is not what you think. The Bible is clear that we are made in God’s image. Therefore, God has created us to display Himself, and not us. And we also know that God is zealous for His own glory (1 Chronicles 16:28-29). Thus, our worth is not really ours, but God’s. As the Psalmist says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name” (Ps. 29:2). Jesus is simply telling us that we, as God’s image and likeness, have more value than simple flowers and birds, like a beautiful Ming vase has more value than a clay flower pot in the back porch. Yet, they are made from the same materials.
  2. Comforting: all the above brings comfort. However, there is more. Comfort does not come in simply meandering through life. As a Christian, we have obligations. We have a duty. We are in a war. We are in a firefight daily; against the world, the flesh, and onslaughts of the devil. This is no time to kick back and wait for manna from heaven. We have been entrusted with the precious proclamation of the coming kingdom in which all men will be judged and will either receive eternal life, or eternal hell. We have been commissioned to proclaim the gospel. We have an announcement to make. God commands us, “Make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19f.). In doing that, however, we cannot worry about our provisions for our lives. We just simply can’t. It is antithetical to our God, our calling, and our mandate. Are we saying that God can provide eternal salvation, He just cannot provide our food and clothing? How blasphemous! Give glory to God and wait upon His provision, while working and making disciples. Therefore, Jesus says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and”, and here is the comfort, “all these things will be added to you.” How wonderful! Our God will provide the uniform we will need in His army. In Him we have our provision for food, clothing, finances, and other necessities. In fact, God the Father knows that we need these things even before we realize it (v. 32). So, be busy about our Father’s business. Did Jesus starve? Was Jesus poorly clothed? Yet, did Jesus live on the hill and have a suit of clothes for every occasion? Maybe what we consider needs and what God considers needs are two different things. The Apostle Paul taught, “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8). So, maybe the question is not God’s provision, but our contentment.

Praise to our God who covers us, not with expensive clothing, but with Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:27)!