Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't worry

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 6:22-34

TO CHEW ON: " 'Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?' " Matthew 6:25

The last part of our reading today gives three reasons why we shouldn't worry:

1. Worry is unnecessary (Matthew 6:26, 28-30):
Why? Because we're in the hands of the same creator God Who sees that the birds get fed and the flowers and grass get clothed. Jesus asks, rhetorically, of His human audience, " 'Are you not of more value than they?....will He not much more clothe you?' "

2. Worry is ineffective (Matthew 6:27):
Worrying about a "one cubit" height increase could also stand in for other things we're born with—physical features, genetic tendencies or traits, a certain IQ. We don't have control over these things so we waste our effort and energy worrying about them.

3. Worry is unbecoming  (Matthew 6:31-32):
Worrying makes us like the "Gentiles"—those who have no faith in anything or anyone but themselves. In fact, an endnote about this passage advises: 

 "Acknowledge worry as sin. Discipline yourself to turn from any anxiety and choose to trust the Lord" -Leslyn Musch,  "Truth-In-Action through the Synoptics, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 1440.
"Rather than being preoccupied with material things, our ambition should be to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, knowing that as we do so, He has pledged Himself with covenant faithfulness to respond — all these things shall be added to you"  J. Lyle Story, study notes, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1301.

Matthew 6:33 is in my repertoire of memorized verses. I don't know how many times I have pulled it out of memory and recited it to myself. It is one of those settle-me-down verses that calm anxious thoughts and reinforce thoughts of trust and faith in God. If you haven't done so already, you might want to memorize it too.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to discipline myself away from thoughts of anxiety to thoughts of trust, especially in the area of everyday living. Amen.

MORE: How to seek God's kingdom first

How do you "seek God's kingdom first"? Rev. John Piper gives some good practical advice in a 1984 sermon "Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life":

"...instead of being anxious, "Seek first God's kingdom." In other words when you think about your life or your food or your clothes or your spouse or your job or your mission, don't fret about them. Instead make God the king in that affair and in that moment hand over the situation to his kingly power and do his righteous will with the confidence that he will work for you and meet all your needs. To seek the kingship of God first in every affair and every moment of life is a thrilling way to live. It's full of freedom and peace and joy and adventure—and hardship; and it's worth it all. If you believe in the kingship of your heavenly Father, you do not need to be anxious about anything."
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: - Read entire ...
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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