Anxiety

Matthew 6:31-34 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. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We at times confuse what we think God wants for us with what God’s will actually is for us. This disconnection causes anxiety when we can’t do or have or receive what we think we should. When anxiety strikes it blurs our vision of God’s glory and the greatness of his sovereignty.  It distorts the majesty and omnipotence that is God.   Anxiety slowly eats away at the future that he plans for us and brings doubt upon God’s promises.  So the promises of God become unknown and are replaced with our own desires as well as plans.  Our godly contentment turns to lust, envy, covetousness and idolatry.  Now all we do, even prayer is not coming from a heart of faith but a heart of necessity and materialistic want.  Our hearts lead us to appease God and not worship God.  Our assurance of salvation also corrodes and the foundation of faith and hope matters less and less.   Simply put our faith is being attacked.  The root cause of anxiety is our failure to trust all that God has promised for us in Jesus.  As ugly and as evil as it sounds it is the truth.  Just think of how Peter felt when Jesus told him that he would deny the Christ three times.  Peter was floored to hear that Jesus thinks that he would deny him.  Yes, I said “think” because we all feel at times that God is not sure about his knowledge of us.  I can imagine Peter thinking that Jesus got it wrong.  The crushing of our trust in God releases our anxiety.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

From Peter we get a clue to what makes anxiety possible and powerful.  Before he instructs us to cast “ALL” of our anxieties on Jesus Christ.  He tells us to do this because Jesus cares also he tells us to humble ourselves.  Under the protection and eyes of God do we submit ourselves in humility so that in God’s perfect time to be exalted.  Our lack of humility pushes our wants and perceived lack to the forefront causing anxiety when we don’t have what we think we need.  What we trust most are the things we possess and the jobs we have and the companies we work for. “I love my blessings more”, this is a statement I have said to myself and analyzed.  Searching to find any truth in it?  The very idea of it reminds me of Satan‘s charges against Job and the protection of God which he enjoyed.  Satan was sure that Job would fold as soon as the material evidence evaporated.  Satan told God point blank, they love you because they have been bought by blessings.  We thank The Lord for a lot of things and we praise Him for our many blessings.  Humility came into play as Job just could not believe that God would allow such suffering to fall upon him. Job’s lack of humility caused him to proclaim his lack of sin.  It caused to him to question God’s motives and lack of action to save him.  The less humble we are the more entitled we become and it drives us to wonder.  It makes us anxious as we believe things should be going differently for us.

Have we ever thanked The Lord for being the king of kings? I have heard the saying that we should come to God expecting to receive something. I have seen and been apart of the arrogant approach and witness the commanding of God to do something. I have never seen a call to prayer that comes to the throne of God with the humble heart of a child. I have seen the angry mob beating on the castle gates. Sometimes our goal is to simply use God but he said that he will not be mocked. We see our anxiety of meeting needs as supreme verses seeing Christ as supreme. Sometimes our blessings can cloud our view of God. We become so depended on them that we try to manipulate Jesus. Our situation now becomes our god and we worship at its feet offering all of our schemes to appease it. Sometimes we are always looking for the windows of heaven to open up and pour us out a blessing. But usually it’s already here and our anxiety plus lack of trust choke out the vision like thorns until we no longer see the answered pray before us. Heartache, regret and disappointment sets in when things don’t go our way. Yet we don’t realize that things are always going God’s way. Regardless of what stage we are in; tilling & planting, watering or harvesting know that the Sun shines through it all. Jesus said don’t worry; that includes worrying about being blessed. Before Christianity can be about or be for anything else it has to be about God’s glory first!

When the lack of faith and anxiety is mention, Matthew 6:31-34 is quoted and it brings comfort to a tired soul who has been struggling with doubt.  We are told to not worry about tomorrow and that all the things we need will be given.  The key to receiving is given in this phrase; “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”.  But how do we seek?  how do we do that in order to receive?  To not be anxious about tomorrow you must first lose your life for Christ.  To understand what it means to seek the kingdom you must understand what it means to follow Christ.  We find this in the following scripture.

Luke 9:23-25 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

To forget about controlling tomorrow and to forget about getting the earthly things that the Gentiles are concerned about you have to forget yourself.  It is humility at its highest.  To put God first we must become last which is at odds with the anxiety of surviving in this world.  Putting Jesus first as we follow him brings to question the very things he spoke about in Matthew 6;

Matthew 6″25 “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? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

The entire chapter, Jesus is calling us to put us at the back of the line.  He talks about feeding the needy, fasting and warns us about our treasures or hopes being on earth.  He presses the disciples on trusting Him for there needs as to give all for God’s purposes.  Jesus taught with the end result of obedience being revealed last, so to keep the horse from coming before the cart.  Luke 9:23 states that we can’t follow Christ without denying ourselves, taking up God’s will, God’s commandments, and bearing whatever may come because of our obedience.  We must follow him in the sense of learning, growing, building, renewing and creating a relationship with him.  We must conform to Christ’s image and bear the fruit of the spirit.  Jesus goes on to say that we must lose our life for him and in him in order to save it.  But if we seek to save our lives through worry and laboring to save it, we will surely lose it in the process.  We will gain the whole world and lose our souls.  This is how the two sections of scripture fit together in the midst of our anxiety.

We can’t receive the land of milk and honey because we have yet to be content with the manna from heaven. A hungry belly can lead you astray even when it’s pushing towards Jesus (John 6). Those seeking earthly things will turn away when Christ ask you to die to self.  And if the old man refuses to die, how can the message of the Gospel transform a harden heart?  How will the Holy Spirit regenerate a heart that is harden towards God?  Anxiety is our god and we constantly feed him sacrifices

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: