“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:25-33ESV
I was a horse girl growing up. Some girls liked dolls or makeup or playing dress-up… but for me, it was all about horses all the time. Naturally, the majority of my toys were plastic horses, and there aren’t enough pages to record all the stories I wove out of their flashing hooves and flowing manes. At one time, I think I remember counting around 250 horses of varying sizes and colors stashed in my closet (the “barn”).
Inevitably, in these valiant horse-stories, there were also casualties. Sparring stallions sometimes broke legs. A foal slipping from careless fingers would lose an ear. My favorite toy horse (a black stallion named Spark) even had two broken legs. My horses were well-loved, thoroughly played-with, and they showed it. Broken legs, in particular, were a cause for tears. How can a horse with broken legs roam free?
But I always knew where to take my anxiousness. His oversized coffee-cup proudly proclaimed him “Mr. Fix-It”…and in my world he was better known as “Dad”. I knew if anyone could fix my horses, he could. I also completely trusted him to never turn me away. He never had before, and even if it took a long time, I knew my horses were well-cared-for in his hands.
In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus tells us “do not be anxious about your life.” It is easy to get caught on these words and frame the rest of what He says in the context of an impossible command. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with anxiety constantly. I am uncomfortably familiar with the knotting stomached, pounding-hearted, sleepless nights that leave you feeling exhausted and even more worried the next day. Viewing this passage only as a command would easily leave me anxious about trying not to be anxious.
But to stop at “Do not be anxious” would be to miss the life-giving truth Jesus points us to over and over again throughout this passage:
- verse 26 – “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Emphasis mine).
- verse 30 – “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you…” (Emphasis mine).
- verses 31 & 32b – “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Emphasis mine).
Jesus is reminding us not to be anxious because we don’t need to. I didn’t need to be anxious about my horses’ broken pieces because I knew the character of my father. He loved me and wanted to help me. In his hands, I knew my horses would be fixed.
We don’t need to be anxious our lives because we can trust in the character of our God, who…
- is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13),
- is patient (2 Peter 3:9),
- created all things (Genesis 1:1),
- is more powerful than anyone on earth (Isaiah 40:23),
- provides all good things (James 1:17),
- sacrificed His only son to save us (John 3:16),
- keeps promises (Numbers 23:19),
- is perfect (Psalm 18:30),
- is compassionate, gracious, and righteous (Psalm 116:5),
- and even more!
Compared to our anxiety, our God is far more mighty and able to handle what we cannot control. The creator of the universe, in the midst of your anxiety, taps you on the shoulder and reminds you “Look at me. Remember me.” He whispers quietly in your ear “I am with you always, to the end” (Matthew 28:20b).
- What are the things causing you anxiety right now? It may be helpful to list them out.
- Search for a list of bible verses about the character of God online. How do the characteristics of God speak to your list of anxieties?
- When anxiety is ruling you, how does that impact your decision making?
- Challenge for this week: using the bible verses you found about God’s character, pick one characteristic that really spoke to you and spend a little time each day reading Bible passages that explore this characteristic of God.