“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. Matthew 6.25-33
Anxiety is a debilitating emotion which, can all too easily, affect our wellbeing at any and every level and even a cursory read of a newspaper or half an ear to a news bulletin is likely to cause anxiety unless we are firmly planted on the rock of God’s word.
The news is not the only thing that can cause anxiety and, depressingly the list of such things is endless – health, finance, job prospects, family breakup, aged relations, death – but as you consider this add your own areas of anxiety to the list!
Focussing on these things and worrying about them can very easily lead to downward emotional, and indeed in many cases, physical spirals from which there may seem to be no way out. If you sense even the slightest thought that such pressures are at work in your life and circumstances then the passage above from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7 is the place to turn.
Don’t dismiss such a suggestion as being too simplistic for nothing in God’s word ever falls into that category. However it is important to note before continuing that anxiety and worry can be the result of physical imbalances in our bodies which in addition to the glorious truths of Jesus’ words need the help and skills of medical professionals, an area which I am not competent to comment on. However, I guess in the majority of cases we simply need to take Jesus at his word.
The truth is that if I am a Christian and therefore ‘in Christ’ then my times are in his hand and I can trust him completely for he knows all about me and has not called me to himself to then abandon me to the pressures of the world.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 11.29 ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ add to the picture for anxiety so often leads to restlessness and Jesus offers rest.
In a restless world therefore, we need to cultivate a way of life which gives heed to these great promises and the next offering on Saturday will indicate one way to achieve this.