In this sermon, Pastor David Capoccia examines Jesus’ teaching on worry in Matthew 6:25-34. In this passage, Jesus commands his disciples not to worry but instead to seek God. Pastor Dave identifies three main reasons from the text as to why Jesus’ followers can obey Jesus’ command:
1. Worry Is Idolatrous (vv. 25-30)
2. Worry Is Unnecessary (vv. 31-33)
3. Worry Is Overburdening (vv. 34)
Near the close of his sermon, Pastor Dave also suggests seven practical applications to help overcome worry:
1. Confess and Repent of Worry
2. Search for and Destroy Idols in Your Heart
3. Pray to Your Father (Philippians 4:6-7)
4. Replace Worried Thoughts and Other Avenues of Temptation
5. Clarify Your Responsibilities versus God’s Responsibilities
6. Get Support from the Body of Christ
7. Get to Work, By Faith
It’s good to see you all again and we look forward to the time when all of us can gather without these restrictions. Let’s go before the Lord in prayer as we look to hear more from Him in His Word. Pray with me. Our God, thank You for Your Church and for Your Word. Lord, help us to understand it and help me to be able to speak it as it ought to be spoken. Transform our Spirit by what You say to us now through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
See if you can finish this phrase for me, “Don’t worry… be happy!” This is a phrase that is popular all over the world and made famous by Bobby McFerrin’s song of the same name published in 1988. It’s a simple thought in this phrase which is that worry makes people unhappy so if you just choose not to worry, you’ll be happy. Well that’s a pleasant sentiment but not very practical and actually it’s quite naive. Especially these days we look around and see a lot of danger and uncertainty. How can we not worry?
In fact just speaking from a Biblical perspective, the non-Christian has plenty to worry about because they face the crises in the world and in their lives all alone. There’s no one to help them because it’s survival of the fittest. Or if you do have a god, which the Bible says is false, you can’t rest there either because that god will always demand more of you. Really we all ought to worry about the true God because He is jealous of His glory and the honor due Him and we’re not giving it to Him. God is patient but we don’t know when it will run out. We don’t have any right to be happy!
But the Biblical Christian is the only one who has a right to not worry and be happy. This is because the Biblical Christian is saved under the Father’s care and doesn’t face the crises of life alone but instead has a Heavenly Father. Yet how many Christians live still with so much worry and they’re not very happy. Do you find yourself worrying in your life when you consider your present situation? Do you only have peace when life is going well and you’re through the crises? Can you calmly say that you are content and confident in the Lord no matter what situation you face because you know He will take care of you?
I think we all struggle with worry to one extent or another. So we are going back to our Lord’s authoritative teaching on worry in Matthew 6. Please open up your Bibles and we’ll read Matthew 6:25-34. We need to do this so we can put the sin of worry to death and instead walk by faith and joy in the Lord which will be a witness to our surrounding world. So we’re in Matthew 6 which is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and here Jesus is contrasting true righteousness and false righteousness. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34:
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is a wonderful passage where we see from our Lord the basic level of commands and reasons to obey those commands. There are two main commands in this passage. The first one is quite obvious and emphatic, which is do not worry. We see this command three times. Jesus is trying to get a certain point across. He emphasizes His authority in order to say this. In verse 25 it says:
For this reason I say to you.
We saw last time that Jesus is the Son of God, the Authoritative Revelator of God and His Truth. He is saying that He knows how we ought to live and this is a binding command from the Master, the Lord of the universe. Don’t worry, but what does it even mean to worry. Worry is not the same as mere concern or even fear. To have fear or concern in your life on some level is a good thing. Think about the fear of heights. To some level it is a good thing because if you had no fear of heights, you would get up on a high place and act so recklessly that you might hurt yourself.
It’s good to have a certain amount of fear. It’s good to fear certain animals and poison. That’s God’s grace! The same with concern. It is right to be concerned with how you’re going to feed your family. If you weren’t concerned with that then you’d probably run out of food. Those are not the same as worry. Worry is inordinate concern and over-the-top fear. It is continual concern and concern without bounds. It is terrorized, overwhelming, paralyzing concern and fear. God says this is now what you are to have without bounds. You should not be anxious or worrisome in that way.
Have you ever been worried that way? You’re human if you have. It’s just some problem you face and it seems serious and you’re not sure how you’re going to get through it. There are different outcomes and you wonder how it might damage you or ruin your life. If you feel certain anguish or despair in your heart, that is all worry. Jesus says stop doing all of that. Stop being so concerned with your life. Stop letting these fears and concerns go beyond their proper bounds. This is what our Lord says, to not let worry go beyond life’s needs. If we want something and fear we won’t get it, we might worry about it.
Jesus is talking about the same thing in our passage. In verse 25 He says not to worry about our lives or bodies, which all are part of our temporal existence. That’s clarified with the three terms that follow, what you will eat, what you will drink, and what you will wear for clothing. These are the basic necessities for life! We often say we need food, water, and shelter. In ancient times in that environment it wasn’t so bad to sleep outside so you can get by without shelter.
Jesus says do not be overly concerned with life’s’ needs but instead, let’s look at the second command in verse 33:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
What does He mean by Kingdom, well the concept is all throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament. God has a Kingdom, a realm, of righteousness, blessing, prosperity, and life that is coming to the earth. One day you will be established by the Lord Himself on the earth and it will extend into the new Heaven and new earth. Not everyone is getting into that Kingdom but Jesus urges all who hear Him to seek entry into it.
In this second command, Jesus says to first seek His Kingdom and righteousness. You are to seek entry into God’s Kingdom and the advancement of that Kingdom by honoring the Lord, making new disciples, and drawing in new Kingdom citizens. You are also to practice God’s righteousness. The ways of God are right, He has prescribed them to us and we are to imitate God and do what He desires and commands. So we could encapsulate all of that with the simple command to seek God.
We have two straightforward commands in this passage, do no worry but instead seek God. We can revise that catchphrase I said earlier to be, “Don’t worry, be holy.” There’s happiness involved in that too but you don’t have to worry if you just be holy. There are still a lot of dangers and uncertainties in life and you may ask how you’re supposed to do this.
Jesus is Lord and He doesn’t have to give us an explanation, just saying, “Do it” is enough. Our gracious and compassionate God gives us reasons and encouragements to obey this command. There are a number in our passage but I think it will be helpful if we just group them into three main reasons. We can look at the repetitions in the passage and look at the reasoning around it and summarize that.
The outline of this sermon is three reasons that we should not worry but instead seek God. Reason number one is that worry is idolatrous. Reason number two is that worry is unnecessary. Reason number three is that overburdening. Let’s investigate this verse by verse. This is what we see in Matthew 6:25:
For this reason.
Now that’s a key phrase, a transition, that what Jesus is about to say is based on what He just said. Now in the Scripture reading we had earlier in the service, you heard what came before and Jesus was just speaking about treasures in Heaven versus treasures on earth. He concluded that section by saying that you cannot serve God and wealth at the same time. The Lord demands your entire devotion and you cannot try to split it with something else, especially not mere things like wealth from this world.
What ’s the connection between that teaching and our passage? Jesus says, “for this reason.” Jesus is saying that worry is basically worship of wealth. Or another way of saying it is that worry is worship of things of this world. It is a manifestation of that kind of worship, it is idolatry. You cannot serve God and worry at the same time. That’s even obvious from the commands of this passage. Why do they contrast? Because you can’t do both.
Have you ever noticed this in your own experiences of worry? The thing you worry about is something that you basically love and think it is essential to your life. You have this treasure and something threatens your access to it and your enjoyment of it. That’s where you begin to feel all those negative feelings and you become consumed with thoughts about how you can keep access to it or what it would be like to lose it. You begin to be filled with anger or depression or uneasiness. It’s worry! It’s an expression of worship.
Based on what Jesus says before, He says that this is a senseless expression of worship because things do not deserve your worship as they cannot last, satisfy you, or save you, and they offend God! When you worship those things, you do not give proper worship to the true God. It is blasphemy and God cannot abide it. Worry is idolatrous and this is emphasized with what Jesus says. This is the more positive says in the rest of verse 25:
Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
This is a rhetorical question but the answer is yes. Life is certainly more than these mere things and basic level of sustaining yourself. What is life about? It’s about walking before the Lord, worshipping Him, serving Him, enjoying Him. But you cannot get to that level if you’re stuck worrying about mere things. The majority of our thought should be devoted to life’s greatest purpose which is the Lord.
Of course there are basic needs that you have to take care of but that should not be your dominant thinking on your part. Instead it should be on God. So ask yourselves where is the majority of your thoughts? Is it on your troubles? Is it on your needs? Or is it on the Lord? We fall into this kind of idolatrous thinking because we often overestimate the importance of creation versus the Creator.
Jesus actually draws that to our attention in a number of ways going forward in the passage. In Matthew 6:26-30 we see this contrast about how we overestimate creation rather than the Creator and one of the ways we do this is by thinking about how we must prepare for the future. If you don’t prepare for the future people think you’re toast and there’s no hope for you. This is what Jesus says in verse 26:
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
This is interesting because Jesus says to look at and learn from the birds. There are probably birds flying overhead the mountain of Galilee and Palestine. They don’t prepare for the future; you don’t see them sowing, reaping, gathering their crops, and putting them in barns. They do work and go out looking for food each day but they don’t prepare for the future. What is the outcome for the birds? Well they survive and thrive. There are birds all over the planet. How can they do this when they don’t do the smart thing and prepare for the future? Well, God provides for them. Psalm 145:14-16 says:
The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Now is Jesus saying that we don’t to prepare for the future then? No, the Scriptures export us to be wise. Just go to Proverbs where it talks all about preparing for the future. But what if you can’t and don’t have the resources? What if you did prepare and all those preparations just melted away due to some market downturn, theft, or emergency. There goes all your preparations! Should you start worrying then? No. Why not?
Because if God can take care of the birds who can’t prepare for the future, can’t he also take care of you if you are unable to prepare or if you suddenly lose your preparations? Think of what Jesus ends His little lesson with at the end of verse 26:
Are you not worth much more than they?
If Jesus can take care of birds who don’t prepare and can’t prepare, then He also can take care of you! You’re made in the image of God and He is your Heavenly Father who is delighted to meet your needs! He will not allow His name to be sullied by failing to provide for one of His children. You are worth much more than a bird to God. He can take care of the birds and also you. Another way we overestimate creation versus the Creator is by forgetting who really has the power in our lives. Look at Matthew 6:27:
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
This is another rhetorical question from Jesus. It would probably be less rhetorical today because we don’t have the same theological understanding in our society. But to the Jews this was obvious, can anyone add a single hour to his life by worrying? No, why? Because God is sovereign. God has determined everyone’s lifespan and you can’t change that. Listen to Psalm 139:16:
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
Do you hear that? No matter how much effort you put into prolong your life, if God has ordained it then it won’t happen. Not even by one hour! We could even stay not by one minute. Well Jesus says explicitly says here and in Luke 12:25 that if you can’t even lengthen your life by one second, what makes you think you can do anything beneficial by worrying? You don’t have that kind of power! Someone may ask whether their efforts are just totally pointless.
No, there’s a mysterious way where our agency and responsibility fits in with God’s sovereignty. You are responsible to make good choices and be wise. If you are not and experience the consequences of it, you cannot blame God for making you do it. You chose to do that and you weren’t forced or coerced. You reap what you sow. Nevertheless, in your agency and meaningful action listen to what Psalm 127:1-2 says:
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
This is a liberating truth even as it is a sobering one. Who supports you in your life? Who is the One who keeps you alive? God. It’s not you although yes you are the means by which God works through in your handwork and wisdom. You are called to exercise those things but it’s not you. Ultimately it is God.
Why is that liberating? Because what if you suddenly can’t work or are injured or lose your job? What if a crisis suddenly comes and you are no longer able to support yourself? Should you worry? No, because you weren’t the one supporting yourself in the first place! If you can’t be the means anymore, He will provide another. If the power is not really in your or in creation, then why are devoted so much to things instead of thinking about Him? Why are we so concerned and worried for our cares?
There’s a third way and this is the last one in this section, which is about how we overestimate the importance of creation over the Creator. That’s when it comes to adornment. This is a little funny because our worries about adornment regarding clothing and such are different than the worries of the ancient world. Back then, they were worried about clothing because they feared they wouldn’t have any. At that time, making clothes was laborious and buying clothes was extremely expensive so the average Israelite had two or three pairs of clothes. And if you lost one or ripped one, it was a big loss and a source of worry.
But that’s not the way we worry about clothes, because we often think about if the clothes fit properly or whether it’s fashionable enough. Now we do worry about our appearance and to some level, concern is appropriate. But what about an inordinate concern over appearance? Jesus says in Matthew 6:28-30:
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!
We learned a lesson from the birds, now Jesus wants to teach us a lesson from the flowers. These are wildflowers even though it says lilies in our translation. The term is broad and can refer to any number of wildflowers. Have you ever looked at a field of wildflowers in a picture or real life? It looks so beautiful! Where we live in Southern California, we get a lot of them that grow on the side of the road. Jesus says to notice something about these flowers; they don’t toil or spin. This means they don’t work hard at a difficult day job so they can earn money and buy garments for themselves. They don’t even spin meaning they don’t spin thread or make clothes for themselves. Why don’t flowers do that? Because they can’t, they’re flowers! All they can do is grow and they accept whatever God gives them. But then notice what else Jesus says, “See how beautiful the wildflower is, I tell you not even Solomon looked better.”
Solomon was the greatest, richest, wisest, most prosperous king in Israel’s history. Jesus says with all his riches and artifice, Solomon can’t match the beauty of a simple flower and yet Jesus says that flowers are so transient. They are here today and gone tomorrow. When they wither, they dry up and people gather them and use them as fuel for their ovens.
Jesus says to notice God taking interest in adorning these short-lived flowers. He makes them more beautiful than Solomon. Why would God do that, isn’t that wasteful? This is who our God is! He has such a mind, such wisdom, such beauty in His thinking that He loves to adorn His creation. Wherever you look in this world and in the cosmos, you see what Psalm 19:1 says:
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Creation declares the glory of God and there is beauty of the Lord and all the things that He has made. He can’t help but adorn it, it’s who He is. If God delights to adorn mere worthless flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He delight to adorn you beautifully? They say really? God is going to make you beautiful, what a sweet deal! But God is not promising you expensive clothes and a nice figure. God makes everything beautiful in its own way and doesn’t necessarily require expensive things. God may give that but we are not to expect or agonize of that. Where is beauty really found? Not in the outward appearance according to the Scriptures, but in the heart.
When someone loves the Lord and is truly righteous, you notice that there is a glow and attractiveness about them that comes from within and it’s like it colors the outside. That’s why 1 Peter 3:3-4 says:
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses but let it be the hidden person of the heart.
As you display righteous contentment and trust in the Lord, you will be quite beautiful. Does that mean that we are to just let the outer appearance go because it’s all about the inner beauty? Please don’t do that! Your family will appreciate your efforts to make yourself look nice and you don’t want to put a stumbling block before the gospel or ministry by a disheveled and uncared for appearance. What is the point the Jesus is making while talking about flowers? It is liberation! You can stop being so consumed in your thoughts, time, efforts, and even money with your outer appearance.
Make certain practical preparations there but let the Lord take care of it. He will do it for you because you are His child. Ask yourselves, how much do you stress out about your appearance? Are you worried about it and does it takes a lot of your thoughts? I don’t want you to be distracted in that way because you are a disciple. Jesus wants you to be seeking Him.
In multiple ways then, worry is wrong worship. It distracts us from life’s true calling which is to seek and enjoy God. It values the creation improperly and more than the Creator. Jesus says stop being so concerned and instead seek God. That’s the first reason that worry is idolatrous and unnecessary. The second reason we see is in Matthew 6:31-33:
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The term Gentiles here is not refereeing to non-Jews but people who don’t know God: pagans. What do you notice about them? Jesus says that they eagerly seek all these things of the world and life’s needs. They multiply needs for themselves and the things they actually need. They pursue these relentlessly, furiously, and unendingly. They always have to have more and store it up. Jesus says that this is what the Gentiles do, and that Christians should not because we know God.
True, Biblical Christians contrast greatly with the people of the world and should not be chasing in a terrorized way all their needs. Neither should Christians be hoarding supposing that if they store up enough stuff, they will be safe. They know that this is not gonna help because God can take it away in an instant. What do Christians do then? They give away in order to meet needs and are generous. They also give away whatever distracts them from following the Lord. Christians remain confident that God is able to supply anything they don’t currently have. Why are Christians so confident? Look at Matthew 6:32:
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
This is an amazing comfort not only that we have God who is our Heavenly Father who cares and knows and loves us. But He is also intimately acquainted with all the things that we need, not just food, clothing, and shelter. But He also knows what we need like rest or encouragement. God knows exactly what you need in your life. He is a good Father and He is committed to providing it for you.
Sometimes we suspect this isn’t true based on problems and situations. We will say to God that we needed something and that we can’t handle the current situation right now. What does He say in response? He says to His sons and daughters that He knows our needs, even better than we do. This isn’t more than we can handle, and we didn’t really need that thing we lost. All we need is God and everything that He has deemed to give. Trust Him and continue to be obedient. Don’t worry.
Now this may provoke a certain question in your minds and maybe you’ve been thinking of this the whole time, but aren’t there Christians out there who actually are lacking their needs. There are Christians who don’t have food or much. There are Christians who are basically walking in rags. How have they been provided adequate clothing? This is true historically and in our present world and even in the record of the Scriptures. There are times when God’s children go through a period where they lack even life’s basic needs.
There is a good example of that in 1 Corinthians 4:11:
To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless.
In other places he says he doesn’t get much sleep. Now did God fail then? Paul’s not complaining, instead he is giving praise to God. He determines that in this moment of deprivation, Paul would glorify Him best and that’s what he wants most of all. Paul says to live is Christ and that he is here to serve the Lord and glorify Him. If he can glorify the Lord and serve Him by suffering need then he wants that. It’ll be hard and he will need the Lord to sustain him, but he knows that is what he ultimately needs. He needs that more than his own comfort.
Paul understood that but it’s also true for us. It may be that God is going to bring you into a period of life where you’re suffering without basic needs. It maybe very heard and you may suffer persecution or death. God may provide that for you. You say that seems like the ultimate failure to meet needs. But that’s not true. Paul said something when he faced his own death. In 2 Timothy 4:18 when he was about to be executed by the Roman emperor for serving the Lord, Paul says:
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
How is that possible if Paul is about to die? That is the Lord’s provision and deliverance, to bring you safely through. You never know how things will go in this country or what God might arrange in our lives. It may be necessary in God’s sovereign plan that we die for the Lord. We’re all gonna die eventually unless the Lord comes back in between. But that is God’s good provision for us and just as Paul says, God will bring us safely through even into His Heavenly Kingdom.
But if you say that you can’t handle being persecuted and executed for Christ, well it is wise to make practical preparations. If you’re not serving the Lord now, then it is not super likely that you will stand up under persecution. But it is also true that God gives grace in that hour. You can’t handle martyrdom right now because you don’t need to, but God will give you the grace. He will enable you to stand so that you don’t have to worry. So now what Jesus told His disciples will happen. They will bring you in the courts and threaten with death. But don’t worry what you’re going to say in that hour.
He is not saying that you cannot prepare at all, but don’t be inordinately concerned because He will be with you and give you what to say. God’s omniscience and care as our Father make worry unnecessary. He gives us an amazing promise in Matthew 6:33:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We saw this a little bit already when we see the second commandment is to seek God. Notice that it’s part of a conditional statement. If you will first seek and prioritize His Kingdom and righteousness, all these things will be added to you. All your life’s needs will be given to you. If we seek Him and His Kingdom first, perfect provision for life will also be thrown in. But if you seek the things of the world, you will lose those and the Kingdom and your soul forever. Isn’t that an obvious choice and a no-brainer?
It’s kind of parallel something in the Old Testament. God came to Solomon and he said to ask for whatever he wants and he will get it. 2 Chronicles 1:10 shows what he asked for:
Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?
God says because he asked for this and not long life, wealth, or the death of his enemies, he will get everything else too. It’s the same thing with us! You will seek the Lord and His Kingdom and God will provide perfectly for you. Now that’s not the prosperity gospel where they promise a private jet, an expensive car, or a beautiful exotic spouse. But it is exactly what you need according to God’s perfect wisdom and abundant love. God’s omniscience, care, and promise make worry totally unnecessary.
There’s no reason to worry if we have this promise from God and if we have Him as our Father. So we have the last reason why we should not worry. Number one, worry is idolatrous. Number two, worry is unnecessary. And finally number three, worry is overburdening. We see this in Matthew 6:34:
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Imagine when we worry we go up to tomorrow and say, “I know you have a lot of troubles coming so just let me know now because I don’t want uncertainties anymore.” But tomorrow says back to us that it has these for now and will let us know tomorrow when we’re ready. Why does tomorrow need to respond that way? It’s because of the second part of verse 34:
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is a sobering admission of human capacity rather than of human incapacity. You see, when God made men even before the fall, He decided man to be dependent on God. He didn’t just make all this stuff and say that He doesn’t need to be bothered again for the next 5,000 years. He says that we’re going to continue to need to seek Him and it’s true today that we are designed to depend on God, even daily!
When we try to go outside of that design and try to take care of it all by ourselves, what do we find? It’s too much, it’s overwhelming and we can’t handle that kind of burden. But God did not design us to. We heard earlier in the passage that Jesus taught His disciples to pray for daily bread. Not bread for the rest of their lives or for next year, just for tomorrow.
Does that mean that we’re not to prepare for the future at all? No, we already talked about that we are called to be wise stewards. But you’re not to be inordinately concerned and it does you no good because you are limited and have limited knowledge. You can’t know everything there is to know about the future because you have limited resources and abilities to act. So God says just take care of what is in front of you. Ultimately God is in control of what is happening tomorrow.
God will give you each one little by little as we’re able to handle them. We need to just take what is in front of us. As Christians we need to just take it one day at a time, even one hour at a time. Maybe you have several big tasks coming up, don’t worry about it being too much. Take it one hour at a time and God will provide for those other things. Leave them aside and focus on what’s in front of you.
You wanna know what is so beautiful about that command? Not only does it prevent us from being overwhelmed, but it also prevents us from missing out on what God is doing right now. God is working, sanctifying, and blessing us! There is joy you can have right now that you will just sacrifice if you start taking on tomorrow’s problems. Take it one day at a time so you don’t miss out.
So let’s review Jesus’ argument. We are commanded by the Master of the Universe, our Sovereign Lord, and our Great Savior to stop worrying. Instead we are to seek God and Jesus gives us three reasons. Worry is idolatrous. It overestimates creation and it underestimates the Creator. Next, worry is unnecessary. We have God’s care, omniscience, and promise. Worry is also overburdening and goes beyond the capacity of man to go against God’s design for man to depend on Him. This is the Lord’s Word to you this morning, how you respond to Him. Will you heed and obey, or will you say that you hear what He is saying but not be persuaded because you don’t trust Him.
Do you think you still have to worry? Don’t you see that this really dishonors the Lord? Not to mention that it needlessly afflicts ourselves. The way of God is always so good, it is the way of life and blessing. So won’t we heed what our Lord says? It’s for our good! He says stop worrying! If God came down and said to stop worrying otherwise He will judge you, that would be right but with God is very gentle. It’s almost like an entreaty. He wants to enjoy Him, serve Him, and not be distracted. We should stop worrying.
Are you willing to do this? It is an act of faith and it will be one you have to keep coming back to as you face new challenges in your life. But it is what the Lord commands, and it is the weight of blessing. Now to help us with this, I thought of some quick practical applications to not worry and instead seek God. Here are seven applications of our passage:
Number one, confess and repent of worry. Worry is a sin but don’t hide it from God, be honest with Him about it and turn away from it. Number two, search for and destroy idols in your heart. As I said, worry is a function of idolatry. If there is something you treasure more than God and that you think is more needful than God and what He chooses to provide, you have to get rid of it. You have to let go of it, if not taking it our of your life completely. As long as an idol is still there, it doesn’t matter how much you go to the Scriptures because you will still worry.
How can you identify the idol? Maybe you already know it, but sometimes a good brother or sister around you who is mature can help you. As you go to the Scriptures, they will help you expose what it is that you love more than the Lord. You have to get rid of that idol if you’re going to get rid of worry. Number three is to pray to the Father. This is a big part of how we deal with worry. Khaleef preached on this not too long ago at the beginning of the COVID crisis. Philippians 4:6-7 say:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
You got to pray and have peace! Number four, replace worried thoughts and other avenues of temptation. You’d be amazed at how you continually fall into worry when you just keep thinking about your problems. What’s the solution? Stop thinking about your problems! Make the practical preparations and pray to God. Then stop thinking about it and think about something else! Think about the challenges and grace God put before you that day! If you don’t replace the thoughts, worry will come back. Also, get rid of things in your life that are causing you to worry that are unnecessary.
I remember hearing a story about John MacArthur, who is a pastor in California. Someone sometime gave him some stocks as a gift. That was a kind thing, and maybe they were thinking about his retirement or something like that. But John decided to get rid of them, not because he has anything against stocks, but because they were a distraction in his life. He said that he would be in the middle of a sermon and suddenly start to think about how his stock was doing. He is confident that the Lord can provide for him without this stock, and it was just causing him to worry and be distracted so he got rid of it.
That’s a good example of what we ought to do in light of this passage. There is something in your life that is unnecessary and causing you to worry, and you should get rid of it. We don’t want to stop following the Lord because then we miss out. Number five is to clarify your responsibilities versus God’s. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed because we’re not sure which are our responsibilities and which are God’s. Just take some time, even on a piece of paper, and list what Scripture asks you to do and what Scripture promises that God will do. So then you can focus on what you are to do and leave the other things to God. If we don’t organize our thoughts we can be overwhelmed.
Number six is to get support from the body of Christ. Worry can be overwhelming and blinding, but that is why God gave you the Church. It is one of the great errors and injuries of the church to take the mindset that it is just me, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. That will get me through everything. Well that will get you through if you have nothing else! But God has provided a body around you and you may need them and they may need you! Get help from your mature brothers and sisters in the church! If you’re praying to God to help you with worry, He will often answer it in a practical way to seek help from the body.
Finally number seven is to get to work by faith. Sometimes the situation is going to just seem daunting no matter what. But you have to still go into it like Israel in the Old Testament. They had to go into the battle even though it is scary and could cost you your life. But God says to trust Him because He is the One who brings the victory or defeat and who preserves your life. But you have to go into the battle. If you’re tempted to worry, you just got to go do it whatever it is that God has called you to do. Practically, haven’t you found that once you start doing the task you have been fearing you ultimately find that you stop worrying because you realize that it is not so bad. The Lord will help you do it. So these are just some practical ideas.
Confess and repent of worry, search for and destroy idols of the heart, pray to your father, replace worried thoughts and other avenues of temptations, clarify your responsibilities versus God’s, get support from the body of Christ and get to work by faith. Let me clarify before we close, that these comforts in this passage as to why you should not worry only really apply to true believers in the Lord. If you don’t know Jesus Christ or if you only think you do because you think you’re saved by your church attendance, baptism, good works, or some ritual you went through then you are not really saved.
Only those in Christ by repentance and faith and who turn from their sin, old life, and way and embrace Christ as Lord and Savior can benefit. His sacrificial death on your behalf to pay for your sins and His glorious resurrection and ascension which shows that God accepted a sacrifice makes you acceptable to God and nothing on your own. This not only help you in your practical needs but also helps you to be obedient.
If you haven’t done that then there is no comfort for you. In fact you’ve plenty to be worried about because you’re still living in sin, and worse than that you’re under the anger of God. He says that you continue to rebel against Him and impugn His character and He will have to judge you. God is patient with you now but you don’t know how long that patience will last. What does this passage exhort you to do? Turn from that and you could be free from worry! You could have a Father who provides for you, delights in you, and wants to take care of you if you will repent and believe and give up your old ways. The Lord is calling you to do that this morning from this passage. It’s not an accident that you are here or listening.
Finally, for those of you who do know Christ there is no longer a need to worry like the rest of the world does. We have such a Father and let us show the world that we don’t need to worry if we seek God truly. That is the way to happiness and the way to be a witness. If it helps at all, just remember that phrase I mentioned earlier, “Don’t worry, be holy” and the Lord will take care of it.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for Your Word. Forgive us for our worries God, we have impugned Your character and have devoted our thoughts to things that don’t deserve it. We have been overly concerned with things instead of just trusting You. Lord, we know we are called to make practical preparations with the various problems and dangers we see in life. But we can’t trust in those things ultimately, we must trust you. Lord, I pray for those listening today where idols feed the worry that exists in their lives. I pray they would repent of their devotion to things. I pray, Lord, for those who don’t know your provision but that they would repent today and turn to find your life and love. We thank You for this wonderful Word and that You are so kind to provide it this morning. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.