In the last few days, I have had a couple of conversations with some of Alameda’s members who expressed struggling with feelings of anxiety over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the current state of affairs in our nation.
Anxiety is defined as the inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, concern, worry and/or dread that is accompanied by heightened physical arousal. Jesus addressed this kind of anxiety in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7. In Matthew 6:25-34, he gives us seven reasons why followers of Christ should not be anxious.
First, the passage; then, the seven reasons…
25 “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? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
7 Reasons Not to Be Anxious
Anxiousness causes us to lose sight of the best things in life (v. 25).
As Jesus said, life is more than food or clothing. This is his way of reminding us that the greatest enjoyment in life is knowing God. So often, our anxiety comes from the fear of losing or missing out on things of life that don’t ultimately matter. What matters most is knowing God and living in communion with him.
God will bless us tomorrow just as he has blessed us today, so we don’t have to be anxious (v. 26).
Like the birds of the air, we can count on God to bless us each day.
Anxiousness is pointless (v. 27).
Anxiety does little to change our circumstances and worrying will not reduce our problems.
God delights in providing for his children (vv. 28-30).
The provision of God means that he will give us what we need to do his will. So, we must adjust our expectations based on that understanding. Much of our anxiety is the result of the unrealistic expectations we have of God. We expect God to give us every little thing we want, but God never promised to do that for us. What he has promised is to provide us with all we need to live a life that glorifies him, thus fulfilling us.
Anxiety reveals that we are no different than unbelievers (v. 32).
When we seek after things in an anxious manner, trying to control things instead of trusting in God, we aren’t living in a way that distinguishes us from someone who does not follow God.
We don’t need to carry burdens that God promised to carry (v. 33).
God provides real things for real needs based upon what he has called us to do.
Today has enough trouble without being anxious about what has not even happened yet (v. 34).
As one author says, “Do not bring today’s worries into tomorrow and do not bring tomorrow’s worries into today because each day will have its own issues and problems.”
When we think about these seven reasons not to be anxious that are given by Jesus, we realize that we can choose to not be anxious. We can choose to not be consumed by worry.
If you want to learn 7 Ways to Choose Not to Be Anxious, then join me tonight at 7 p.m. on Alameda’s Facebook page for our Wednesday Night Virtual Bible Study.