Matthew 6:25-34 Do Not Be Anxious (Worry)

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Do Not Worry

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. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

  • What does Jesus command? “I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” ie. DO NOT WORRY. Period. Ever.
  • Did He say:
    • Do not worry unless you are about to lose your job.
    • Do not worry unless the dollar is tanking and your retirement is being ate up.
    • Do not worry unless in your opinion there are people in power ruining the country.
    • Do not worry unless you have severe enough health problems.

Nope… just DO NOT WORRY.  Let’s see if there are any loopholes:

  • Do not worry about what you will eat:  food, sustenance.
  • Do no worry about what you will drink: water, the highest necessity for life next to breathing.
  • Do not work about your body: health, imprisonment, clothing, freedom, sickness, dying.

And just in case we missed anything:

  • DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE.  That covers everything.

DO NOT WORRY: all inclusive.

  • If the Lord Jesus were standing in front of you and specifically said “I’M TELLING YOU, ***DO*** ***NOT*** ***WORRY***”, would you do it then?

“Yeah, but….”

  • “You don’t know what I’m going through…” Want to switch places and go through what Jesus went through?
  • “You don’t understand…” Really? The Omniscient, Omnipresent, Eternal Son of God doesn’t understand?

DO NOT WORRY.

  • Jesus knew what He was commanding. DO NOT WORRY.
  • It is a command, an imperative; not suggestion, not an option, not good advice… a COMMAND
  • To do otherwise is to disobey Jesus Christ.

Matt 6:25 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? 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.

Worry – The Joy Killer

Most Christians worry occasionally, if only briefly.

I would propose it is impossible to have a joy-filled life if you allow worry to be part of it. To worry means “to strangle” and that is certainly the affect it has on joy.

Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)  22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

1 Peter 5:6–7 (NKJV)  6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,   7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

  • What do we worry about? The “cares” of this world.
  • If you have none because you have cast them all on Jesus, that is one way to combat worry

Philippians 4:6Be anxious [worry] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (NKJV)

  • Nothing… the Bible defines that as “nothing”. All encompassing..

We are never FORCED to worry.

  • Worry is caused by wrong thinking, poor knowledge, and a focus on circumstances or self.
  • A heart that is focused on Christ, secure in the knowledge of salvation and our assured victory as well as our future home in heaven, is a heart that will not be overly troubled by the hardships of this life, nor robbed of the joy found in Christ alone.

Paul gives us several reasons not to worry:

Philippians 4:5 – Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (NKJV)

  • The Lord is at hand, meaning that He is near,
  • He is accessible and He is paying attention.

Stop and think about that for a second.

  • If we REALLY believe Jesus is near, why worry?
  • If we REALLY believe we have access to Him, why fret?
  • If we REALLY believe He watching over us carefully, what is there to be anxious about?

To the degree that we worry, we reveal the degree to which we don’t truly believe those things, or are choosing to ignore them. A key to having joy in troubled times is acknowledging Christ’s presence and be secure in it.

How can we do that? Verse six and seven tells us:

Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

  • We focus on Christ’s presence by talking to Him through prayer.
  • It’s hard to think God is far off if you are praying because it is counterintuitive.

Why would I pray to a distant Lord who cannot not hear me and is not paying attention.

  • The very fact we are praying is an acknowledgement that He is listening and He cares.
  • Worry is dissolved and replaced with the peace that surpasses human comprehension.

Not only that, this peace then sets up a guard in our heart, and in our mind, protecting us from worry and anxiety.

  • The opposite of worry is peace and we find in the next couple of verses if we get our mind and our attitudes right, it results in God’s peace being on us.
  • We get our minds and attitudes right by choosing to meditate on those things which are Godly… whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure and lovely, whatever is good news… whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

These are the things which we should focus our mind on and by doing so, we open the door for the peace of God which will wash away all worry and anxiety.

  • A key to having joy in troubled times is choosing to think about the right things which replace worry.

All of this preparation of the mind and heart and attitudes leads us up to one of the cornerstone passages of the Bible:

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

This verse is far too often pulled out of context to simply mean that whatever we decide we want to do, Jesus will give us the power to do it.

  • It’s used as a “rah-rah” positive confession, motivational message…

When we read the verse in light of the entire book of Philippians we find its true meaning:

  • No matter what the situation, hardship, sacrifice or circumstance, when we have the right thinking, right attitudes, right praying and right living we will find that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to live both in joy and victorious power.

There is no need to worry because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • There is no need to get caught up in the cares of this life because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • There is no need to be insecure about the future because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • There is no need to live even a moment without joy because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Because we believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us…

  • and because we know who wins,
  • and because we know where our future home is,
  • and because we have put the past behind us and are pressing on toward the prize,
  • and because we have counted all things but loss for the sake of Christ,
  • and because we know that to live is Christ and to die is even better,
  • and because we know that our willingness to be humble will result in future exultation…

…we come to understand why the Lord clearly and confidently tells us to never worry, never be anxious about anything, ever.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

Practical Application – HOW?

Remember who you are praying to and who is in control…

  • Don’t let prayer become “worry on my knees”. 
  • Remind yourself who you are praying to
  • Remind yourself of the promises of Christ and the attributes of God

Be honest with God about what is worrying you…

  • Pretending you aren’t worried when you are doesn’t fool God
  • Tell God what is worrying, and “cast it” on Him
  • God gave you permission to do that
  • Take Him up on His offer

Give thanks in all situations, hardships and circumstances

  • Remind yourself of everything God has done for you, and thank God
  • Consider the tremendous hardships of the persecuted Christians, and thank God you are not facing the same
  • Consider the destitution, poverty, hardship and trials of millions of your brethren all over the world, and thank God that we American Christians have relatively light troubles comparatively

Ending Worry When It Tempts You

Recognize how little worry can help you. 

  • Worry doesn’t have the power to prevent anything bad from happening in your life.
  • Also, the bad things that you worry about may never end up happening, and many good things can happen instead.
  • So worry is completely useless.

Recognize how much worry harms you. 

  • Worrying doesn’t benefit you in any way, but it does harm you in many ways.
  • Worry harms your health physically (such as by contributing to high blood pressure, causing insomnia, and suppressing your immune system), mentally (by sending a stream of negative thoughts into your mind), and spiritually (by encouraging fear rather than faith in God).
  • Worry also wastes valuable time and energy that you could be using for better activities.

Distinguish between worry and concern. 

  • While it’s healthy to be concerned about something, it’s unhealthy to worry about it.
  • That’s because concern motivates you to do something to solve problems or plan helpful ways to cope with them, but worry keeps you stuck on problems and distracts you from planning any helpful ways of dealing with them.

Identify what triggers worry in your life. 

  • Once you understand what triggers worry in your life, you can begin to guard against worry in those situations.
  • Memorize Scriptures and have prayer ready to combat those situations
  • Know your Bible so you can respond with “it is written…”
    • 2 Peter 1:3–4 (NKJV)  3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,   4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

CHOOSE not to worry… feelings follow choice 

  • If you struggle with worry, you cannot wait until you FEEL like now worrying
  • You have to CHOOSE not to worry, and inevitably, feelings follow choice (as it does in all things life)
  • No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop bad things from happening, because you live in a fallen world.
  • However, you do have the choice of how you respond to whatever happens.

Trust God to carry your burdens

  • He said he would; he commands us to cast our cares and burdens on Him
  • Take Him up on His offer, obey His command; God is faithful
  • Change your worrisome thoughts rather than suppressing them. The more you try not to think about something that worries you, the more preoccupied your mind becomes with that thought, which makes you think about it even more. So suppressing thoughts about your worries doesn’t work. Instead, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and help you evaluate how every thought that enters it compares to biblical truth. When the Holy Spirit shows you that a worrisome thought doesn’t reflect what’s true, you can replace that thought with a new thought that’s based on the reality of what God says is true.

Develop healthier lifestyle habits including what fills your mind

  • Exercise and good nutrition help us not to be weak or depressed physically
  • Fill your mind with the WORD instead of endless amounts of TV, movies, social media and other spiritual garbage

Transcend your circumstances

  • When you focus your thoughts too much on your circumstances, it’s easy for your mind to wander off into worrying.
  • But if you focus on God – who is in control of your circumstances – you’ll get to know more about His great power and love, which will help you see that it makes sense to stop worrying and start trusting God more.
  • Understand that God is control, this life is temporary, all of the problems are going to end soon and forever

Cultivate contentment 

  • 1 Timothy 6:6 (NKJV)  6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
  • Our culture cultivates relentless discontent
  • We are conditioned to always want more more more
  • This is a fertile ground for worry when that discontentment is not quickly remedied

Matthew 6:25–34 (NKJV)  25 “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?   26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?   27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?   28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;   29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?   31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’   32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.   34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble