WHAT JESUS SAYS ABOUT WORRY AND ANXIETY
In these 10 verses, there are 8 questions total.
- Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
- Are ye not much better than they?
- Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
- And why take ye thought for raiment?
- Shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
- What shall we eat?
- What shall we drink?
- Shall we be clothed?
Jesus is still preaching the sermon on the mount, which started being recorded in chapter 5. He is talking to his disciples, but the multitude was gathered hearing him preach as well. The multitude was made up of religious leaders and random people from the area coming to hear Jesus.
Prior to this set of verses, we have a discourse from Jesus about receiving earthly versus a spiritual, heavenly reward.
Additionally, we read about Jesus teaching them how to pray. We see this dichotomy displayed between the temporal and the spiritual throughout the sermon on the mount.
After clearly setting the boundaries between earthly vs spiritual rewards, Jesus says,
Do you want to serve the spiritual, or do you want to be a slave to the physical, which is temporary?
He says we cannot do both.
The wonderful thing about the way Jesus teaches is He answers our questions before we even ask. He knows what we need before we know ourselves (Matthew 6:8,32).
I’m reminded of that hymn we sing “He Knows Just What I Need.”
After teaching that we have to choose who we will serve and that it cannot be both, He uses these set of questions to answer the one overriding question: “So, if I focus on God and not the physical needs I have, how will I sustain myself physically?”
Addressing the Anxiety
All 8 questions highlight the anxiety/worry that stems from that question: “how are we going to survive?” and “what are we going to do?”
In the therapy/counseling world, rhetorical questions, not only highlight (or bring to the surface) the anxious thoughts hidden underneath, but they help the person refocus on what is important. They reframe the distorted thought process that happens when we let worry and anxiety overwhelm us.
Just by asking a certain question, a person can move from a highly anxious state, ridden with overwhelm about a matter, back to the reality of the situation.
We can easily become overwhelmed with “what if” and “what are we gonna do?” questions, to the point that the reality of the situation becomes so distorted and distant.
Jesus the Master teacher
Jesus (master of teaching and counsel), often asks questions for just this purpose, and it is the reason for asking these question in these passages.
He highlighted (or brought to the surface) the anxious thoughts He already knows the audience has. He takes the anxiety of the “what are we going to do?” type of question, and shrinks it back to reality just by asking the questions!
Moreover, just by asking these questions, He puts God in the seat power (where He belongs in our lives if we are being honest and humble), and He kicks the worry and anxiety out of that seat of power!
32. “for after all these things do the Gentiles seek”-those focused on temporal, not spiritual are those who are overwhelmed and concerned with their physical needs- “for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things”-God knows what you need. He is your creator. Jesus is concerned for your well being. HE KNOWS YOU.
33-“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”– Put God in the seat of power and the things that you need to sustain your life will be provided as He sees fit. God promises to take care of you when you put Him first.
34. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” -We have enough to worry about in this world to also be so entangled in the anxiety of “what are we going to do?” and “how are we going to survive?” Let God provide for you today while you focus on being right with Him.
Many other passages corroborate what Jesus is teaching here, Psalm 37:25 specifically.
We make it difficult, He makes it easy.
As you live your life, concentrate on the daily “righteousness” (right living) that Jesus teaches, knowing that God will provide for you when you put Him in the seat of power in your life.
If you have any questions or comments in general about this passage or need any assistance in any other way, feel free to comment or send feedback. I hope that this has been helpful to you in your journey towards eternity in heaven with Him.