4th February 2023
4th February 2023
Read (Matthew 6v25-34)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
There are probably very few of us who have never experienced worry. Worry is defined as feeling uneasy or troubled or anxious about someone or something and frankly it can be a frequent and even daily visitor. Some take worry in their stride and soon get over it but others are almost crippled by worry, so much so that their lives are changed by the constant dread that hangs over them.
What's to be done? Jesus says to flee from worry and anxious thoughts (v25). Christ counsels us to avoid worry over life's basic concerns. We are not to worry about food, drink or clothing because life is about so much more than these everyday issues (v25). The Lord feeds the birds of the air and we are worth much more to Him than the birds ever will be (v26). Indeed worry is utterly futile as we cannot add a single hour to our lives by spending all night tossing and turning filled with anxiety (v27).
The flowers of the field provide us with another challenge to our worries. Jesus says that even King Solomon in all of his glory couldn't compare to the beauty of a blossoming field of lilies. There is a field just outside Seaforde which has been sown with rapeseed and when the fulness of time comes, the whole field is gloriously yellow as far as the eye can see. Why worry about our clothing when we follow a God who displays His glory in creation and is able to meet our material needs (v30)?
Famously Jesus here declares "O you of little faith" (v30). What is faith? Faith is a receiving and resting in Christ as He is offered in the Gospel. Therefore when we descend into endless worry we are far from resting in Christ. Instead we should adopt the posture of faith which rests fully in the unchangeable character of our good and gracious God. The Lord knows our needs and will certainly meet them (v31-32).
Worry gets us absolutely nowhere and it is always based on an incomplete picture. We have no clue what tomorrow will bring and we have no idea how every situation will work itself out. Tomorrow will arrive with its own difficulties and so the Lord counsels us for focus on the day that we find ourselves in (v34).
How then should we respond to the worry in our own lives? Repent, rest and seek. Firstly, worry is a sin that we must recognise and repent of. If our hearts are filled with dread we are to seek God's help to overcome. Secondly, we are to rest in Christ. This is hard work when faced with the troubles of life but nevertheless we are to look to Jesus and we are to rest in Jesus. Finally, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (v33). In other words we are to realise the preciousness of the faith and we are to seek of first importance the things of God. Practically this means that we don't stay away from church but we run to church. We don't stop praying but instead we seek to spend as much time as possible at the feet of Jesus. We are to meet our worry head on by delving deeply into the Word of God.
These verses will bring a different challenge to the starving Christian in Africa than to the prosperous Christian in the West but nevertheless the Lord speaks to His children regardless of their circumstances. What does He say? Jesus says do not be anxious, do not worry, do not fret. The Christian's life should not be marked by endless dread and worry about what may or may not come. Instead we repent, rest and seek knowing that the Lord knows our needs and will surely preserve us to the very end.
Q68 What is required in the sixth commandment? The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.
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