In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches with great conviction about how reprehensible and stupid it is to worry.
He opens His message about worry with these words: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25.
People worry, not only about material goods, but also about what others might think about them. And what the future will hold in general. But when we are in the spirit of faith, what is uncomfortable for the flesh will only be to our benefit. Suffering in the flesh in these circumstances leads to divine nature.
Care for the inner life
Worry is therefore Satan’s tremendous deception, because it occupies our thoughts and often leads to great unbelief. Anxious thoughts are like a python. They strangle our inner life with God. Jesus says, “Is not life more than food?” He is talking about our inner life with God. We must take great care of this life and let it be nourished by words of faith so that it does not wither away. But it’s easy to think. “I have to have that, and I must have that too!” By thinking like this, we have a lot of care for our physical body, the outward things.
But what Jesus is really saying here, is: “Care for your relationship with God, and never let your care turn into worries about material things.” When we concentrate on the essentials, on the life that the Father wants to give us, we will be freed from all worries because the Father watches over our inner lives. It is not possible to have an inner life when we are constantly worried about outward things.
Worry is unbelief
In the Sermon on the Mount, when teaching about worry, Jesus speaks about the lilies of the field, among other things. (Matthew 6:28-30) If we think a bit more about this picture, we can admit that it is unthinkable that the lily would say, “I don’t think I look good in this location. I don’t have the right background. I should have been placed somewhere else!” No, it isn’t worried about its location. But some people can be anxious and worried about these things – for example, that they don’t have the place in life they think they deserve.
Jesus says to those who worry: “You of little faith!” And Jesus regards unbelief as sin. (John 16:9) We have to see worry in the same way. It is unbelief, and therefore sin.
The best antidote to worry is to fill ourselves with words of faith and simply believe in the many faith-strengthening words. Just think of Hebrews 13:5-6 or Romans 8:31-32, for example. God will never leave us nor forsake us, because He is for us. These promises are for true disciples of Jesus, who have chosen not to waste time on worrying and anxious thoughts.
This article has been translated from Norwegian and was first published in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in June 2004.
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