Read Matthew 6
Focus on verse 27
If I had a brick for every anxious thought I’ve ever had, I would probably have enough bricks to actually build that imaginary bridge over the dangerous river that I imagined I might need to cross…someday…in the misty future…just in case…in case of what? Anxiety is something we all deal with at some level. In many cases it is legitimate concern over situations which depending on the outcome may have lasting consequences affecting our lives. In other cases it is needless anxiety about situations over which we have no control, the result of which will likely not seriously affect us one way or another.
It is one thing to feel a little anxiety in the final days or hours prior to an event like one’s wedding. It is entirely another to be stressing over the outcome of the coming presidential election. In the first case you are in control of whether or not you decide to go through with the wedding or not, and your choice will affect the rest of your live quite dramatically. In the second, you have one vote, which you can cast in favor of the candidate you think is best, but beyond that you have no control of the outcome. Regarding how it will affect the rest of your life? Despite all the media hype, the affect it will have directly on you may well be the same either way.
In today’s reading Jesus tells his followers not to be anxious,
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… (v. 25)
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (v. 27)
In other words, Jesus says anxiety is a colossal waste of time and energy because it doesn’t change anything! All it does is rob you of your joy and peace, and make you tired. When worrying becomes excessive, it can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety that can cause one to become physically ill. So not only does anxiety have zero positive effects, it has the potential to cause us manifest physical ailments.
So how does one avoid anxiety? Is it possible to just choose to not be anxious? Jesus actually gives us the answer to that question as well. He reminds us that God knows our needs better than we do, and is willing to provide for those who choose to trust Him. He then adds,
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (v. 33)
It would seem that if our focus is on keeping God first, and if we follow up that focus with actions that validate that we are keeping God first, then we need not worry about “needing” anything because He will see to it that we have all the things we need. I would add that it has been my personal experience that He often provides us with much more than we need, though I would add it is not always what “I think” I need.