God’s Love Dispels Anxiety
Anxiety is trending in our culture. It seems like every time I look up there is an advertisement for those struggling with anxiety, worry, or stress. I guess we should not be surprised that anxiety is so common, given that we are sinners in a fallen world. The natural response of man is to feel anxious, but, in reality, anxiety displays little faith in God. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches how His people are to address anxiety. Jesus gives us direction with a clear command in verse 25, “do not be anxious about your life.” There is no wiggle room there. It is not okay to be anxious about our life. Easier said than done, right?
For some context, the crowd Jesus was speaking to in Matthew had far more trouble in life than we do. In that time period, laborers needed their end-of-day wages just to feed their families. Among many other difficulties of that time, they knew what it was like to have barely enough to eat. But Jesus tells them not be anxious. Based on Jesus’ response, we learn that no matter the degree of our need, anxiety is not justified. Therefore, we can trust that our anxiety is not acceptable to our good and gracious provider.
The next few verses are interesting. Jesus does not simply tell them to stop being anxious. He continues by teaching the crowd about how God provides. Our Heavenly Father feeds the birds (v.26), and He clothes the grass of the fields (v.28-30). Jesus appeals to the mind of man. He wants the crowd to observe and think about God and the world. He uses words like “look” (v.26) and “consider” (v.28). Jesus even asks a rhetorical question to get them (and us) thinking in verse 27: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?“ We all know the answer: we cannot add a single hour to our life by worrying.
Anxiety is a worthless endeavor. But why do we do it? Verse 30 reveals that the problem is that we have little faith in God. That is the reason Jesus tells us to “look” and “consider.” Without watchful eyes and a pondering mind, we will lose focus of the truth that His children are more valuable to Him than the birds and the grass that he provides for. Jesus knows what our anxious hearts need. We need to remember that he is righteous and that he loves us and cares so deeply about what happens in our lives. And on that foundation, we should stop worrying about things we cannot control.
This can only be accomplished when we choose to think accurately and rely on the Holy Spirit for strength. The heart and mind are influenced by sin, and so require a constant returning back to be reminded of truth. If you struggle with anxiety —we can all experience it in varying degrees —ask God to remind you of His love for you and confess your lack of faith in His provision and love. Only Christians can have the peace of God that Philippians 4:7 talks about that guards our hearts and minds. What a testimony to the watching, anxious world. Spend your energy pursuing the peace that Christ’s work brings, and share the hope that you have to overcome anxiety with everyone you know. We have the answer!