“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” —Matthew 6:33-34
This week I have had many conversations with friends that are feeling the pressure of anxiety. Anxiety over young children, adult children, personal finances, situations of physical sickness, mental struggle, positions at work, the state of the country, the state of their marriage, and the list goes on. The struggles of everyday life are very real. It’s part of the human condition to realize that no matter how hard you strive, so many elements of everyday life are completely out of your control. This sense of not being able to ensure the outcome that you want, concerning people and issues that matter very much to you, can cause serious anxiety. In the end anxiety is fear. It is fear of an unknown future.
But in these verses Jesus commands us to not be anxious. Jesus commands us to not fear the future. These are stern words. Often when the disciples found themselves caught up in fear or disillusionment, Jesus did not just comfort them, he would rebuke them. “Oh, you of little faith,” He would say. Why do you not believe that the Lord is sovereign over the affairs of the world? Why do you not trust in the goodness, love, omniscience, and omnipotence of Jesus our Lord? If we are honest with ourselves, when we let anxiety get the better of us we are failing to believe in at least one of these attributes of the Lord. Perhaps the Lord is not really good, or He no longer loves me. Perhaps Jesus is not really aware of my situation, or if He is, He’s powerless to act.
In this passage Jesus calls for the disciples to rise out of the common situation of humanity and stop fretting by seeking first after the Kingdom of God. Before you focus on the struggles of the day you should begin by fixing your mind’s eye on who the Lord is and what He is doing in the world through the cross of Jesus Christ. This is a walk of faith. Believing in the work of Jesus Christ in the world will cause you to take your eyes off the anxieties of your own life and put them in perspective in relationship to God’s work in the world around you. So many of our anxieties are self-inflicted through seeking after the things of this world. Anxieties that arise from wanting the approval of a fickle world. Anxieties over wanting to compete with others over worldly possessions, or compete over the accomplishments of children, or compete over positions of status. All of these things are immediately put to death with godly contentment which comes through seeking first the kingdom of God.
However, even in seeking Christ first there are many troubles and struggles in life. The promise of this passage is that those who seek Christ first will have added to their lives what is needed. Jesus Christ is faithful and will meet the needs of His people. Our call is to live for today. This is not hedonism because we aren’t living for our own personal pleasure. It’s “in the moment” Christianity. We are striving to obey the greatest commandment of loving the Lord our God with all our heart. Doing anything with all your heart requires that your focus be in the moment. Here Jesus is admonishing us to not try and spin out future events that we cannot control. By faith we trust the Lord for the future and live with godliness, hope, and joy today.
If you find yourself struggling deeply with anxiety, recognize it for the lack of faith that it is. Confess your anxieties to the Lord as unbelief and ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith for today. Abide near Jesus Christ (John 15) through Bible reading, prayer, being with other Christians in church, singing songs of worship, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper. As you abide with Christ, pray for the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24), and live for Jesus with hope in the day. In this, you will find that the peace of Christ Jesus will guard your heart and mind.
Tomorrow will be full of trouble. Trust the Lord and His provision for tomorrow. Live for the Lord today and lay your head on the pillow tonight resting in His perfect peace.
The peace of Christ be upon you dear friends,