January 9

Bible Reading: Matthew 6

Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…”

If so inclined, any of us can find plenty of things to worry about—economic troubles, global threats, personal struggles, relationship difficulties, health concerns, financial fears, job issues, problems big and small—the list goes on and on.

But we are commanded not to worry.  And though worry is a common sin, it is still a sin.  Many tend to think of it as a mundane thing, a relatively harmless vice—low on the list of offenses, but there’s good reason to reconsider that assessment.  And though studies confirm what we know to be true, that worry can prove harmful to us emotionally and physically and spiritually, we still do it. 

“Many of us are addicted to worry because we simply don’t view it as being sinful.  It’s become acceptable, something we blithely excuse without a second thought.  After all, it doesn’t have the same obvious effects that, say, alcohol or drugs do.  It seems more like a normal part of the human condition.  Who can imagine life without worry?”

Chuck Swindoll

Worry is defined as “a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” Worry reflects a lack of trust in God and His ability or desire to care for us—it thereby works to undermine the intimacy of our fellowship and credibility of our witness. Jesus spoke to the problem in depth in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:24-35).

There are at least 10 reasons given here to refrain from worry:

1.        God commands us not to worry.  “Do not be anxious” (Matthew 6:25a).

2.        There is more to life than the concerns we tend to worry about.  “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25b).

3.        God takes care of the birds—and you are of more value than they are.  ”Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth more than they” (Matthew 6:26)?

4.        Worry doesn’t accomplish anything.  “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span” (Matthew 6:27)?

5.        God beautifully arrays the lilies of the field—though they expend no effort.  “And why are you so anxious about clothing?  Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not cloth himself like one of these.  But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith” (Matthew 6:28-30)?

6.        To worry–being preoccupied with earthly concerns-is to live no different than the unsaved.  “Do not be anxious then, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’  For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek” (Matthew 6:31-32b).

7.        God knows all about your needs. “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32b).

8.        Instead of worrying about earthly concerns, be concerned about His kingdom and His righteousness.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

9.        Don’t borrow, by worrying, from tomorrow’s troubles. “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

10.      Instead of worrying—pray (Matthew 6:8-14; Philippians 4:6-7).

“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” – John Newton

The words below, from an old song by B.J. Thomas, put things in right perspective:

He’s got it all in control, He’s got it all in control
He’s put that reassurance, Way down in my soul
He’s got it all in control
I’ve put my life in His hands, I’ve put my life in His hands
So every road I walk down, I’m sure is in His plan
‘Cause I’ve put my life in His hands
He holds the stars in the sky, He holds the land back from the sea
If He can do all of that, Surely he can take care-of you and me

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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