SOTM-The Cure for Anxiety

“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? “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? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “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! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

Last week we were looking at storing up treasures for ourselves and the futility of that. It is the same as one who buries their treasure in the dirt. The treasure does no good for the one who buried it and it does no good for the society around us. The bottom line is all that we have and all we will ever have is on loan to us from God, as it is all His. It has no value to us outside of this world and here it will remain. The only true treasure that we will ever have is the treasure that we have stored up in the Kingdom of Heaven. With that said God Himself is the greatest treasure that we can have here and in the eternity to come. This truth should be our first focus on everything that we think, say, and do. This Proverb from Solomon is a good way to guide our everyday. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The passage we are looking at today in the King James Version starts with the word therefore. This means that Jesus is tying what he said previously into this next topic as a concluding lesson. I know the stress that I have when I make a withdrawal from my savings it causes me a certain amount of anxiety. I feel as if I am putting the security of my future in jeopardy. Jesus knows that we will have these feelings of anxiety when it comes to not feeling we have the egg money to fall back upon. But the thought is that if we are living in His Kingdom, living in His will, then we should not be overly worried, as God is our provider.

Jesus isn’t saying that we should do nothing to meet our physical needs. We are to keep our needs in a proper perspective and trust God, as He is the faithful and true One who will supply our needs. Worry is a weakening of our faith in Him. The main point is that we are not too be anxious. But fist let us see in what way this lesson is connected to the last. What is the connection between storing up our treasure either for God or mammon and being anxious?

Jesus had just taught us the impossibility of putting both God and the world together. We cannot serve both at the same time. There are no enough hours in our life to fully glorify God with our life if we steal off to the world for a while. It is God our Creator that must be in the center of our everything. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) If God is our Jehovah-Jireh, the one who provides for us, then anxiety is what occurs when we try to serve God and mammon together. As the Lord told us last week, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 KJV)

Jesus is telling us not to worry about our life, what we will eat or the clothes we will wear. He is getting us to stop and think about what our life is really about and that it is more than food or clothing. Jesus makes His point as He often does by putting the question before us. “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” I realize that we strive each day to provide the basic things of life but are we allowing this to be the total consumption of our life? For some in this world this is all that life is, the gathering of possession. The more that they acquire the more they worry about it and the pursuit of gaining more. People now have to rent out warehouses to store their stuff. The problem is that if we allow this to consume us then we will miss benefitting our eternal home. We will miss the true meaning and purpose of our life.

As Jesus so often does He uses His Father’s creation to make His point. Jesus now turns to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. Are they not fed and clothed in splendor? There are people who come to Church more conscious of the fashions of the latest clothing on the shelf for them to wear than they are of God in His sanctuary. It is nice to have good clothes, we want to look good, but our hearts should be pointed to God and not how we compare our clothing to our neighbor.

In Jesus’ example of the birds of the air He is pointing us to an understanding of the character of our Heavenly Father. The birds do not farm for their food or store it away for some future time. Yet they are fed each day. Jesus is telling us that it is our Heavenly Father that feeds them. He did not say their Heavenly Father but ours. Jesus is telling us that God has an intimate interest in His creation. God is not off in some distant realm and not attending to the needs of His creation here in this world. Our Heavenly Father is taking direct action in the welfare of His creation around us.

Jesus also points to the flowers of the field, are they not adorned in splendor? Who on Easter Morning attires themselves as beautiful as an Easter Lilly? Jesus said, “Not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Our life is gone in short enough time but the flowers of the field are gone in a season, but Our Heavenly Father dresses them in majesty.

The point Jesus is making is clear. Our Father in Heaven is actively providing for His creation and we His people are the crown of His creation. If God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers of the field how much more then will He provide for us His children? The reason for us not to be anxious is that we are not alone, we are not abandoned in this world, and we are under the watchful eye of a loving and active Heavenly Father.

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Turning this point of Jesus around we see the truth of what Jesus is asking. The truth is that we are not able, by are anxiety, to add a moment to our life. We may stress over our physical being, stress over our security here on earth, but it will not add one moment to our life. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

Our anxiety can be controlled by a shift in our priority. If we live our lives controlled by the desires of the flesh, then we will never find satisfaction and be in a constant struggle for more. As followers of Jesus we are to walk in the power of His Holy Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) When we walk in the power of the Spirit our emotions and the desires of the flesh come under the control of the Spirit.

We establish our priority by knowing what is most important to us in the eternal run, our personal relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. If we are walking in His will, then we are living in His Kingdom and everything will fall into place according to His plan and purpose. This is our life, Jesus living in us and this is our hope the sacrifice that He made for us. “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10)

When this priority is set straight then we will reorder our time, energies and thoughts in and for Him for He is our Lord and has set the path ahead of us. It is a life of self-examination to make better use of our time to develop our intimate relationship with God our Father. It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of our thoughts and energies concentrated on material and physical concerns of life. “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 7:8)

We will be better able to see where our time and energy are expended. In this way we can better police our hearts to focus on our dependence of an ever present God to direct our paths each and every day. We will experience our need for the power and righteousness of God to help us organize our lives around spiritual things. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

The result of having our priority shifted to serving God is that He will take care of our physical and material needs, and, most importantly our spiritual needs. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Our walk with the Lord is a daily walk for our lives are ever in need of His guidance. We pray each day the He provide us with our daily bread, both physically and spiritually. We ask each day that He deliver us from evil, as the god of this world seeks to steal, kill, and destroy and we need His protection against such a formidable enemy. With God on our side we need never be anxious, just trust and have faith in His promises. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 23, 2016

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