Overcoming Anxiety – How Worry Reveals What We Worship

by Jason on February 20, 2010

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching a Young Marrieds class at my church about finances and faith.

The first week we walked through Luke 12:13-34 and discussed what it means to live missionally with our money, some pitfalls to living missionally with our money and then how to actually live missionally with our money.

This weekend I’ll post one of the pitfalls we discussed from that passage, which was worry.

Here’s Luke 12:22-31:

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, 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. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you,  O you of little faith!

29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead,  seek his  kingdom, and these things will be added to you

Worrying about food and clothing was more common in that day than it is for us in middle-class America.  I’ve never once got up in the morning and stressed out because I wasn’t sure there was food in my fridge!  Or freaked out because I didn’t think I’d have any clothes in my closet.

In that day, in an agricultural society if there was a poor crop you were out of luck – this was your livelihood.

When we’re hungry, we just go to the fridge, grab some food and we’re good to go – or we go to a restaurant and pay someone to make our food and bring it to us.

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We have to understand that this was more common back in that day than it is for us. So what would this mean for us today?

In today’s society – and especially coming through what many are calling the Great Recession, maybe we could say: “don’t be anxious about your job security, or meeting your monthly expenses because work is slow.”

  • Don’t worry about how you’ll provide for your family.
  • Don’t be anxious for that big promotion that you think will be the answer to your problems.
  • Don’t worry about where your next paycheck is going to come from.
  • Don’t worry about your comfort or security.

Why?  Verse 30 says it’s because the Father knows you need them – He knows you need a job and you need to provide for your family and if God provides for the filthy winged-rats (ravens) and He clothes the grass, how much more will He take care of you!?

Usually, the things we worry about reveal how badly we want those things OR it reveals how we think life will end if certain things don’t happen.

Ultimatley, worry reveals what we worship!  Look at verse 30 again:

“…All the nations of the world seek after these things!”

Everyone is working for more money, more clothes, more status, more house, more,more, more.

But as Jesus repeatedly does throughout Scripture – He calls us to a different and radical standard.  He calls us to live differently than the world by setting our affections higher.

William Hendricksen puts it this way,

“What Jesus is saying is that believers must differ in their inner yearnings, must set their hearts on different things, must be controlled by different ideals, and must be motivated by a  different love.”

See, as Christians,  we are different in our yearnings and affections – we are different because of our worship.

We don’t worry about our possessions or our job, or our next paycheck, or depleting our savings accounts, or our cars, or our homes,  or whatever it is that we worry about because as Christians we don’t worship that stuff!

We worship the great, triune God, the Sovereign Creator of ALL, the Great Provider, the Sustainer, the Lover of our soul,  the Giver of good things – We worship HIM!!

And we seek the kingdom of God – “and these things will be added to you”.

The irony is that when we worry about and strive for earthly treasure – we’re left empty.  But when we seek the kingdom of God – He makes sure you’re provided for.

Trust in Him!

photo courtesy of Roberto Bouza

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