Jesus tells us not to worry, but what does this mean in a world full of worry-causing circumstances? How can we not be anxious when there are so many troubling issues that we face? This teaching addresses what it means to trust God in anxious times to the point that we know that Jesus is with us as we face our worries.
When we read this passage, it can appear to be rather unrealistic and naïve. It can cause some to ask if Jesus actually knows what’s going on in the real world. We face so many issues in day-to-day life that worry and anxiety are par for the course. To not worry seems to be something that only those who do not live in reality can do. This is especially troubling when we take into account the fact that many of those who followed God in the Bible actually faced significant troubles, including hunger, lack of clothing, and even death.
What does it mean then to follow Christ’s teaching in this passage regarding worry? In this sermon, Emily Morrison offers three insights that can help us understand what it means when Jesus tells us to not worry about our life.
First, life is more than this life. In verse 25, Jesus says that there is more to real life than what we commonly think of as comprising life. We often find ourselves anxious about life because we are only thinking of life in terms of our day-to-day circumstances. From an eternal perspective, there is much more to life than food and clothing. If we allow how we feel about life to be dictated by our day-to-day circumstances, worry will inevitably dominate our existence. In John 6:35, we read “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is the ultimate source that fills us, offering a sense of peace in the midst of the ups and downs of day-to-day realities. This does not discount the reality of our everyday needs for food and clothing, because Jesus actually addressed those issues. But when we only focus on the needs of this world, we are no better than the pagans because they don’t see the reality that there is more to life that that.
Second, the family of Jesus cares for one another. A fundamental part of living in the kingdom is love, and living in love means that we are taking care of each other. Being a part of the church means that we are making sure that everyone has enough and in this way we do not have to worry because we don’t have to deal with the struggles of this life by ourselves. We can lean on others in our times of need, and we offer support to others when they have need.
Third, God gives us what we need most: Himself. Jesus is not a distant God who does not know what it means to live in the real world. In fact, he became one of us, giving up the privileges that come with being God, even to the point of becoming the lowest of the low by dying on the cross. In doing so, Jesus experienced the depths of what it means to be human at its lowest points. In Hebrews 4:15, we read how he experienced all that we have experienced and was victorious over every challenge in this life. Therefore, he knows what it meant not to worry because he stared the troubles in this world in the face and overcame them. He knows our pain and our fears, and now he walks with us while we face troubles. Jesus does not promise that things will not be difficult. God’s promise is that he will be present with us.
Whatever you are facing today, Jesus is with you in the midst of that challenge. We do not need to discount the realities that we face, and we need to address the challenges of anxiety and worry—even getting professional help—but in the midst of all that we must address, we can know that Jesus is walking with us.
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