Medical research increasingly shows the connection between worry and a host of diseases that man struggles with, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and dementia. While all of us know not to worry, we find it hard to put it into practice. All time favorite iconic song ‘Don’t worry, be happy’, by Bobby McFerrin is perhaps the most hollow song ever sung, because of the wide chasm between what is prescribed and what is possible. Yet in the timeless wisdom of God, Jesus talks about worry in Matthew 6 and provides us with definitive solutions to the same.
- Recognizing the intrinsic value of our life and our body:
“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. (v25)
When Jesus says that the body is more than food and the body more than clothes, he is inviting us to recognize the intrinsic value we have. More often than not, man confuses the physical provisions of life with life itself. In his quest for food, shelter and the multitude of pleasures that we seek after, we end up mistakenly thinking that these provisions equate with life. Not so! These are provisions for life, but human life is a unique conjunction of the physical and the eternal. While the body perishes after a while, the eternal lives on and our true value as a human being lies in our recognition of the eternity we possess.
Likewise our appearance is something we often think and worry about- be it clothes we wear or the way we look. Recognizing the distinction between the intrinsic value of the body in God’s eyes and the value we create in our body’s appearance is an antidote to worrying about our bodies.
- The futility of worry:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (v27)
Worry is pre-planning imagined circumstances in our lives and finding solutions, often within a context of emotional excess. For example, with great anger and fear we might think about the unreasonable nature of our employer and worry about our job. Research indicates that 85% our worries never come true. Pre-planning, thinking furiously and being drowned by emotional baggage are all futile, because circumstances rarely work out according to the lines of our thoughts. There is an option to stop thinking and pre-planning and abandon worry from our thought pattern.
- Trusting in the goodness of God:
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (v32)
Ultimately, it is knowing the goodness of the God we believe in and understanding his nature that helps us to rest from our ceaseless activity. The pagans run after these things, but these things come to us who trust and delight in God’s provisions. The former worry, while the latter do not, the end result being the same.
- Set your priorities right:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (v33)
Trusting God can only take place when our priorities are set right and we make the seeking of God’s kingdom and his righteousness our greatest priority. When man re-orients himself to ensure that God’s purposes are being primarily met through his life, he also finds it easy to trust God to meet his daily needs.
- Live in the present:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (v34)
Another way to look at worry is to define worry as living in the past or the future. Living in the present is the recommendation that Christ gives us. To be able to live each day, accomplishing God’s purposes for us that day and also delighting in God’s goodness for us make life meaningful, satisfying and stress-free.
‘Do not worry’ is a command, and as with all things that Jesus asks us to do, he also makes it possible for us.
- NO PLACE FOR SIN
- THE REAL WORLD