In Matthew 6:25 Jesus gives a direct command. His followers must not be unduly anxious about the essentials of life. The Lord offers valid arguments, or reasons as to why Christians should not worry. The first argument is from the lesser to the greater. “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:26). The reasoning is compelling. If God will take care of the birds that do no labor for their food, will He not feed His own children? The answer is, “Yes! God will provide for His own.” God places a premium on people, and He does so even when man does not.
The second argument Jesus uses against worry is the meaninglessness of the time spent in such a state of mind. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matt. 6:27). I knew a dear Christian lady who was diagnosed with cancer. The end was near and yet this wonderful woman became an inspiration to all who met her. During the final days she kept saying, “I’m not worried. I am going home.” Only the grace of God, and a firm desire to obey Jesus Christ can elicit such words from a heart. It is true that there are many things in life that are final, irreversible, and unchangeable. The day of death is certain. Income taxes are certain. The height of a person is certain. Therefore, on a practical level, why worry? Worry has never changed a single thing. Many years ago, in the early 1940’s during World War II, Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr was preaching in the Congregational Church of Heath, a little hill village in Western Massachusetts, where for many years he and his wife use to spend the summer. He wrote this prayer. “God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
There is yet another reason why the Christian should not worry according to Matthew 6: 31-32 which is: worry is characteristic of the heathen. It is not simply lack of faith, or else we could say, “Lord, increase our faith.” Worry is much more serious, for it speaks of being like the person who has no covenant relationship with the living God. Our Father in heaven knows what we have need of. He knows, because He cares enough to monitor our lives. But God does more than just take notice of our needs. The implication is that He is willing to supply them.
If you are prone to worry, let me exhort you to do the following. First, confess the time spent in worry as sin for it is. Worry is a waste of time, and energy and emotions. It is sin, for it misses the mark of having the peace that passes all understanding. The Bible says that God will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon Him.
Second, reaffirm in prayer your faith in God. There is a language of faith, and it ought to be spoken. The language of faith should be spoken to our selves, and it should be communicated to God in verbal prayer. Reviewing what God has done in the past enhances faith. That is what David did. David stood before Goliath and said, “As God delivered the lion and the she bear into my hand so will He deliver you.”
Third, begin to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of God in our life. The Christian is a citizen under a Sovereign King. The Christian is a servant, a slave to the Master. The Christian is a person under authority, but the submission is voluntary. According to John Bunyan, the Castle of Mansoul has been stormed by the arsenal of divine revelation. The hammer of the Law has broken down the stony heart, and the gospel has brought peace to a troubled place. All is in order. There is security when the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Seek the rule of God in your life. Consciously seek, and daily ask for the guidance of God. Seek God’s authority by the Bible, and by prayer, and then seek righteousness. God will have His people to be holy as He is holy.
If these actions are taken, there is a Divine promise: “And all these things shall be added unto you.” How many things? All things. We ask in light of Scripture, “Why do you worry?” John Wesley said that he would just as soon swear as worry. One man has a motto that hangs on the wall in his home that reads, “Why worry when you can pray?” “Worry saddens the day. Worry blights, destroys, and kills. Worry depletes one’s energies, devitalizes the physical man, and enervates the whole spiritual nature. It greatly reduces the spiritual stature, and impoverishes the whole spirit” (E.E. Wordsworth). Put away worry.