Matthew 6:22-35: 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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The core issue here has really nothing to do with the food we drink or the clothes we wear (though our anxiety often manifests in these areas of eating/drinking and shopping); the issue is really our heart posture. The material things, the tight schedule, the busyness – these are not the things Jesus is after. He’s after our hearts. In this passage, Jesus provides the antidote for our anxiety about all of these things (praise, amirite?):
The first dose for curing our anxiety is knowing that our identity is in Jesus (Matthew 6:32: For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all). God is our Heavenly Father, and He knows everything about you (your worries, your dreams, your fears. And he cares about every single one). In the case of earthly adoption, the law states that an adopted child is the same as a child born into the family; an adopted child is seen exactly the same as his or her biological counterpart. It is the same for us in the family of God. When He adopts us into His Kingdom, it is as if we were part of the family starting on day 1 (just like Jesus!). His holy adoption eliminates any separation between us and Him, our Father. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we are now considered related to God.
The second dosage for curing our anxiety is to seek Him (Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you). Jesus doesn’t tell us to stop doing something without also telling us what to start doing. He’s a God of abundance. He wants more for us than to stop being anxious; He wants us to be part of His family. We have this beautiful invitation to seek His invaluable Kingdom (Matthew 13:44-46: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.)
The Greek translation of “seek” – as in “seek the Kingdom of God” – means seek in order to find. This happens by meditating, reading, thinking, inquiring, striving after, and aiming for. This is God’s invitation for us! It’s important to remember in our seeking that it’s not about the “to-do list”, or our goals, resolutions. It’s all about the fact that we are seeking after Yahweh, the Living God, with everything we have to give. That’s exactly what he wants of us: our hearts. That’s our invitation; let us take Him up on the offer!
Biblical references: Matthew 6:22-35; Matthew 13:44-46
12 Questions for the New Year:
- What is one thing I could do this year to increase my enjoyment of God?
- What will my personal times of worship look like this year?
- How will I approach reading the Bible this year?
- What one thing could I do to improve my prayer life this year?
- Whose salvation will I pray for most fervently this year?
- What books will I read this year?
- Who is the person I want to encourage most this year?
- What is the most helpful new way I could strengthen my church this year?
- How will I make time in my schedule for these things to actually happen?
- What is the single biggest time-waster in my life, and what will I do about it this year?
- What changes should I make with my finances this year?
- What single things that I plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?