Let’s walk thru Matthew 6:25-34 noting the words in bold.
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[a]?
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.
Notice in verse 25 what the word worry is linked to–you. I didn’t write this stuff, but I do live it out everyday.
My son goes overseas for 6 months in close proximity to North Korea. I am afraid. I am afraid he will get hurt, but is that all I am afraid of ? Am I really worried about his life and how developments there can affect him, his goals and dreams for life or am I worried about how this all affects me? Good question.
My daughter tells me she is moving to another state, my other daughter is going to Africa for three months, my son takes his first trip out of state a new driver. I get anxious. I love them and don’t want to see them get hurt and I will miss them. Who am I really worried about? Is my onset of panic a concern about how this affects me or them?
Do not worry about your, you, your, and you.
Why worry about you instead see.
But ultimately seek first His kingdom.
If we can see that a lot of worry is self-focused this provides us with a way out. We simply change our focus. Well it’s not simple, but at least it can provide a way to overcome the cycle of worry and panic. This passage provides the overarching principles:
- Do not worry instead look at how God provides for others who can’t take care of themselves.
- Look at things outside of yourself.
- Understand that God knows your need and trust that He will take care of it.
- Seek Him first, everyday, every hour, every minute. Seek Him first, not you.
All of this sounds so nice and is frankly easy to write. It’s easy to quote Scripture and not too hard to pull some meaning out of the text. I mean we know this verse, right? We know the Bible says something about how we are not to worry, how we are to follow God and trust Him for our needs. I worried myself into a depression last year that dove into suicidal thoughts. I did that knowing full well that I was not to worry, be anxious and stop trusting God.
I read the books, I had counseled others, and mentored them through their depression. I knew the answers. I knew God’s Word had answers, prayer was key to connecting with God and that I needed to be in community with others who could help me. I didn’t need to memorize Matthew 6:25-34. I needed to take action and at the time I needed that suffering. It was an opportunity for God to work and shift the priorities in my life.
When I stood in front of the Atlantic Ocean last summer I was ready to walk into it and keep walking until it overtook me. I knew at that moment that I was consumed with self. I was consumed with how everything in my life was affecting me. I had no true care for why my daughter was moving, her goals and her dreams. I had no concern for how she was following her husband, how scared she was, how difficult this move was for her or anything about her. I was terrified of what it would feel like when I didn’t get to see her anymore more. It was all about me.
My focus on self did damage to my marriage, relationships with my other children, friends, and destroyed my self. So what changed?
She moved and it was okay. In fact it was great. We don’t see each other a lot, but we text and talk almost everyday. Her moving helped me to refocus relationships that I had neglected. My time of despair drove me back to God. My focus shifted away from me and to others. It was a gradual shift that 10 months later is still in progress. I am so proud of her, excited for her, and happy she followed her husband so that he could pursue his dream. Don’t worry about you, instead look and see first His kingdom.
Read the verse, read it again. Keep on reading it and in the mean time take action to shift your focus from you to them and then to Him. It’s a process. Do I still worry? Absolutely! Do I stay in my worried self focused state? Not now I don’t. I can see when I begin to get self-focused and start reading, praying and taking action. I make myself focus on others when I want to sit and sulk and by all means I keep moving forward. It’s a minute by minute and day by day struggle that is producing a renewed passion for life and for helping others.
Look and seek. Not you, but Him. Look and seek. Think more of them and not us. It is then we will find peace and have the ability to trust God.
1. Do one thing today that focuses on others and focus on that one thing.
2. Regularly read Scripture. You got 5 minutes? There you go. That’s a great start. Don’t just act like you read, read.
3. Examine yourself. Are you helping others, focused on others, do you understand the promises given to you, do you seek God first in very real and practical ways (notice I didn’t mention church, but God).
*Follow this blog on Instagram for daily inspiration. You are not alone! If anything we can worry together?