Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Overcoming Anxiety

MATTHEW 6:25-34 – “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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

THEME OF THE DAY. OVERCOMING ANXIETY. As Christians, we know about the Fruit of the Spirit. It is what we strive for and what God is cultivating in the lives of His children – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit is the character of the Lord Jesus. As it grows in us, we stick out as salt and light in a world lost in the blackness of sin. It is this fruit which makes the Christian life an exciting, yes challenging, but exciting daily adventure with our Lord of glory.

As Christians, we know of another fruit too. It is what we must strive against in our walks with the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul identifies this as the “fruit of the flesh” – Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). This list of “flesh fruit” is not all-inclusive. The Apostle Paul would indicate other things fall into the category of “flesh fruit” by using the words “and things like these.”

In today’s scripture our Lord Jesus identifies another “flesh fruit” – anxiety. Three times in this portion of His Sermon the Mount He says, “do not be anxious.” Why the three-fold emphasis? Because we are prone to be anxious. We are bent toward anxious worry and anxious fears about a lot of things in life. And Jesus wants us to know we don’t have to produce this “flesh fruit” in our lives. Let’s consider two reasons backing up our Lord’s statement.

First, do not be anxious is a command to obey. This is important because if left up to us we will always say, “I cannot stop being anxious. I cannot help it.” That is what the flesh does. It seeks to make us “unbelieving believers” when it comes to difficult, seemingly impossible, commands. Yet always remember – when God commands, He also provides the grace that enables us to obey His commands. The first step to overcoming anxiety is remember it is sin. God commands us to not allow it in our lives.

The second reason Jesus tells us not to be anxious is because God is our Father. And our Father who is in heaven will provide for our every need. He delights in doing so. To worry is to question His Fatherhood. To be anxious is an affront on God’s care, love, and interest in us, His children.

So, the next time anxiety seeks to take up residency in our heart, fight against it by remembering God is our Father who will give us the grace to obey His command – do not be anxious about anything.

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for being my God who always provides my needs in life.”

QUOTE: “God will be true to His Word. He has promised to care for us. You can trust Him. Always”