Another year has come and gone. As we move into 2017 this week, there is much to be thankful for, as well as much that remains unknown! We plan and we think about all that we’d like to do…all of which are good things to do. We also know that there are lots of things that remain a mystery; we’re not even guaranteed to make it to tomorrow. So what do we do?
Well…I think we plan, work, dream, and do all that we have to do each day the Lord has given us. But, as we do all of this, we do it placing our complete trust in Him…His sovereign will. This means that we’re going to need to commit to hearing from Him; we’ve got to include time for Him to speak to us through His word. We need to let God guide us through the days and year to come.
As we move into 2017, let’s spend some time this week looking at some truths that we can stand on as we live out His will.
Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 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? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This passage is the definitive teaching on worry. Worry seems to be a tough one for us, myself included. Worry can sideline us; it can take our focus off of God and turn it completely back on ourselves. This focus on ourselves leads us into a pursuit of things that are temporal, that can rust and be destroyed, and that can be taken away as quickly as they are received. If we’re not careful, these things become our master, so it’s important that we be able to identify the key indicators of worry.
Worry is an indicator of a defective value system. Verses 19-26 remind us that there are more important issues than food, clothing, housing and entertainment. Yes, these things are needed, but our Father in Heaven knows this and He’s not taken off guard. When we start to worry about these things, our trust shifts from trusting in Him to trusting in ourselves…we’ve got to figure it all out; we’ve got to take care of ourselves.
Worry can also reveal a defective self-image of us. Jesus wants us to know that we’re more valuable than anything God has ever created, including the birds of the air! We have value, great value.
Worry shows us how far off we can get in our thinking. We can pursue all kinds of things looking for the good life, in an effort to add to our life. We can go far down this road and become consumed with worry. The farther we go down the road, the more we see how much we don’t control, which causes us to work even harder at trying to control outcomes and possessions. It really is futile!
How does all this worry extend our life? It doesn’t. It indicates that our thinking is bad and that we’ve moved to a defective understanding of our purpose in life.
Jesus wants us to know that if we take care of the things that are important to God, He’ll take care of the things that are important to us. This is why Jesus tells us not to get caught up in worrying about tomorrow. He wants us to deal with today’s issues and not to worry about tomorrow.
Verse 33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” is the answer to worry!
William MacDonald, when writing on this verse, says “The Lord, therefore, makes a covenant with His followers. He says, in effect, ‘If you will put God’s interests first in your life, I will guarantee your future needs. If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then I will see that you never lack the necessities of life.’”
Worry can cause our health to fail, it can consume our thoughts, it can paralyze us and make us nonproductive, it can cause us to treat others harshly and lead us to a lack of trust in God.
As we move into 2017, is there worry or anxiety that you need to let go of?
What could you do today to put God’s interests first? What could you do to make verse 33 a reality in your life right now?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.