Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Christi Matthews - Journey Church Member
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I once had a doctor tell me that he was glad to be retiring. One of the reasons he gave for this transition in his life was that he could see that I, a patient, was a worrier. Maybe he thought that retirement would bring less worry in his life, but the truth was that he was right about me. I was struggling with anxiety…and I was convicted by his words.
In Matthew 6:25-43, Jesus teaches that a transformed life can be a life free from the worry of daily needs, and he points to the examples of birds and lilies. Jesus observes that God the Father provides for both birds and lilies, and yet we are even more valuable to God than those. As a result, we should not live in anxiety about our daily needs. Why? Because our Creator knows exactly what we need.
Jesus gives us a couple practical ways to deal with worry. First, he tells us to “have more faith” (verse 30). In other words, when I trust God with my circumstances, my worries are relieved. This nearness to Jesus paves the way to sooth my anxiety, while a distance from him can amplify my fear. Do we find ways to cope with anxiety by self-soothing escape methods, or do we use spiritual practices like prayer, Bible reading, and corporate worship that draw us near to Christ and strengthen our faith?
Second, Jesus tells us we must “seek God’s kingdom first” (verse 33). Personally, I have a tendency to focus on myself more than I should, but Christ is reminding us that a life surrendered to God’s plan is the only way to find true peace and rest. The default of slipping into an anxious response to life’s pressures is easy to do, but the Bible teaches us to trust that God is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28).
If you are like me, I often fear the unknown of the future, but Jesus gently reminds us “not to worry about tomorrow” (verse 34). A great question to ask ourselves is: “Will these issues that I am worried about matter 10,000 years from now?” And in answering this question, I try to remember that God knows things I don’t know. God also sees things that I can’t see (Isaiah 55:8-9). Ultimately, we must settle this question in our hearts: “In whom do I trust?”
“God, give us grace to accept with serenity
The things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
Which should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”
– Serenity Prayer
Daily Prayer Initiatives
- Jesus to change more lives as we double the square footage of our Castle Pines location.
- Momentum as we launch our Highlands Ranch location.
- Someone you can invite to Journey on Friend Day (Sunday, September 11)
- One bold prayer you sense God is personally inviting you to pray during the 21 Days.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.