A Godward Focus – The Cure for Anxiety - Matthew 6:25-34
Worry. It’s a temptation that is common to us all. We all have things we fear may happen, or things that we fear may not happen. We don’t know the future and there are things that are out of our control, and so we worry. We are tempted to worry about big things and small things – things that matter a lot and things that really don’t matter all that much.
But in Matthew 6 Jesus calls on the people of God to stop worrying. In fact, He says it three time in ten verses – Do not be anxious. And His repeated command should get our attention. Jesus is showing us that our worry reveals something significant about our hearts and about our trust in God.
Thankfully Jesus doesn’t simply tell us to stop worrying. He doesn’t simply acknowledge anxiety as a problem, but He goes on to help us see the solution or the answer for our anxiety. Jesus turns our attention to God and helps us recognize that as those who are in the care of the Father, we have no need to worry. We can replace our anxiety with a deep and steadfast confidence in God.
Context – Matthew 6:19-34
While Jesus begins talking about anxiety in verse 25, He’s carrying on the main idea that began in verse 19. In verses 19-24 Jesus discusses the temptation to value and love the things of earth over the things of God. This is the same temptation that drives our hearts to worry. In both cases we love, trust and rely on the things of earth more than we do on God.
It’s important to recognize that Jesus isn’t calling us to ignore the things of earth. The Bible has a lot to say about wise planning. But there is difference between careful thinking and anxiety. Anxiety is when we allow uncertainty or fear to grip us and consume our hearts and minds, leaving us restless and unsettled.
Do not be anxious – Trust God, He cares for you (6:25-30)
- The necessities of life – In order to teach us, Jesus uses two things that all people are tempted to be anxious about. Food and clothes are basic necessities all of us may be tempted to worry about not having.
- Worry fails to consider that God cares for every part of our lives (v. 25) – Life is more than food and clothes. Worry takes one aspect of life and makes it seem like the whole. If we trust God as the sustainer of life – we can also trust Him for the things of life (food and clothes).
- Worry minimizes or forgets the care of God for His people (vv. 26-30)
- Look at the birds (v. 26) – In order to show us the care that God has for His people Jesus turns our attention to His care for the birds, reminding us that they have no lack, and God values us more than He values the birds (1 Peter 5:6-7; Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:1).
- Your worry can’t change reality, but God is over your life (v. 27) – While we cannot gain anything through our worry, God is the One who is over all. We should rely on Him, knowing that He can be trusted.
- Consider the lilies (vv. 28-30) – God has created flowers that are dressed more beautifully than kings, and yet they are temporary. How much more will God care for us, those who have been made in His image and given eternal life?
- Your worry is a sign of small faith (v. 30b) – We are worth so much more to God than flowers. But even still we are given to worry. Jesus says that our anxiety is a sign of small faith. We can put off worry when we truly believe that our God knows us and cares for us.
Do not be anxious – Seek God, He will provide for you (6:31-33)
- The way of the world – Seeking the things of the world (v. 31-32) – To fix our minds on the things of the world is to live like those who don’t know God, forgetting that God knows our needs (Luke 8:14; 10:38-42).
- The alternative – Seeking the things of God (v. 33) – Throughout this passage Jesus is lifting our eyes to heaven. He’s helping us see God and to remember that He can be trusted with the details of our lives.
- Seek His Kingdom and righteousness – While the world seeks the things of the world, we are citizens of a different kingdom (Matthew 6:9-10) and we are called to a different standard (Matthew 5:6; 5:20). These are the things we must seek and pursue first (Psalm 27:8). And as we do – this focus will kill the temptation to anxiety.
- His provision (v. 33) – This is the promise of God, that He will provide for those who are His, we can trust Him (Romans 8:31-32).
Do not be anxious – God is sovereign and gives enough grace for each day (6:34)
- While each day will bring its own cares, we can trust that God will give us grace, wisdom and strength for each day – and He will do the same with each new day (Lamentations 3:22-26).