Day 7 - Anxious for Nothing

Day 7 - Anxious for Nothing

Written by: Nathan Boyd

Matthew 6:25-34
““That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

There is an old song that Bobby McFerrin wrote many years ago entitled Don’t Worry Be Happy. When I listen to this song I am immediately transported to a place where life seems simple, and all my troubles disappear. Yet, the song is only 4 minutes and 54 seconds long. When the song ends the worries of the world come screaming back into  minds. 

As Jesus continues his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, he comes to this passage of scripture and tells his followers they shouldn’t worry. The cynical part of me pushes back against this passage of scripture, it sounds good but is it possible to “not worry?” In light of natural disasters, global pandemics, wars (or the threat of war), work shortages, inflation, kids academic performance, medical bills piling up, caring for an aging parent - is it possible to live a life free from worry?

While I think that worry will always be a constant battle for the follower of Christ, this passage gives us the formula for how we can win the battle and overcome this debilitating foe. 

Worry is the will to control the uncontrollable. Let’s not fly past that last sentence, “worry is the will to control the uncontrollable.” All of our worry and anxiety comes from the desperate need to control what we were never intended to control. This is why worry begins and ends when we realize we aren’t in control. 

So how do we get to a place where we recognize that we are not in control? This passage teaches us two principles that are imperative if we are going to win against the enemy of worry. 

First, we must think true thoughts. In verses 26-30, Jesus tells his audience to “look” at the bird and to “look” at the lilies of the field. The word “look” literally means look closely, or to think about.  Jesus isn’t telling his followers to just look at the birds but he is telling them to think about the birds. He is commanding his children to think about the flowers of the field. In order to gaze at the birds and flowers of the field, we are required to slow down. When we are in a constant state of busyness our mind is crowded and bombarded with the troubles of the day. To overcome worry, we must slow down long enough to think true thoughts, true thoughts about the world around us and the character and nature of our Heavenly Father.  

The second thing that Jesus tells us to do is to commit to the right priorities. In verses 31-33, we are told to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” A life centered around Jesus will be a life where there is no anxiety. This doesn’t ensure that life will be easy or that it will always go your way, however when Jesus is at the center we can live with a non-anxious presence. 

If your priority is your profession then there will always be anxiety. If your priority is a relationship there will always be anxiety. If your priority is material comfort there will always be anxiety. If you priority is money you will be filled with anxiety. Anything other than Jesus at the center of your life will result in anxiety. 

So to recap we must slow down to think true thoughts about the Lord and his character and nature and we must set our priorities in the right order, putting Jesus at the center of our lives. When we commit to doing these two things we can follow the advice of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Find time today to slow down long enough to take a slow walk. Avoid listening to podcasts or music and just take in the world around you and prayerfully consider your current priorities and what you need to change. 

Father, thank you for the guidance that I find in this passage and the practical pathway that you have given me to live a life free from worry and anxiety. Lord help me to be able to think true thoughts about you and set my priorities to center around you in every way. Today give me the peace that only you can bring into my life.