Averting Anxiety

Why do we worry? What are matters we worry about? How do we overcome anxiety? What are positive worries we can have? How can we switch from negative to positive anxieties? What assurances does Jesus give when we are anxious?

Overview

Matt 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-32

  • Introduction
  • Causes of Anxiety
  • Commended Cares
  • Consider Creation
  • Cure for anxiety
  • Discussion

OBJECTIVES

To understand:

  • Causes for anxiety
  • Futility of anxiety
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Seeking first God’s Kingdom

Bible Passage

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Bible Passages (Cont'd)

Matthew 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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

Causes of Anxiety

Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Meaning of anxiety[1]:

1.A disquieting, tormenting thought (Lack of peace)

2.A distrustful, unbelieving thought (Lack of trust)

Seeking these things

“Seek” carries the idea of:

  • concentrating on
  • highest priority
  • burning attention
  • center of your life[2]

Seeking these things

Who seeks these things? (Matt 6:32)

  • Comforts (Matt 8:19-20)
  • Family (Matt 8:21,22),
  • Wealth (Matt 19:21,22)
  • Status (Matt 20:20,21)

Everyone including those wanting to be disciples. Christ raises the bar.

Commended Cares

A positive twist to anxiety or care by redirecting it as follows:

  • Stewardship – care over responsibilities- Prov. 27:23
  • Paul’s care of the churches – 2 Cor. 11:28
  • Timothy’s care for the state of spiritual well being – Phil. 2:20.

Jesus teaches from the Horns of Hatin [3]

Jesus is teaching His now 6 disciples from the two volcanic hills known as horns of Hattin. These overlook the ruins of the city of Sappores once a refuge Amalakite city, destroyed by Romans when enemies were using it as their stage. Covered with salt and stone surrounded by trenches of burning sulphur never to die out. In this ruins grew the lilies and birds Jesus was talking about as per Dr. Ron Charles.

Consider Creation-The Birds

Jesus points to the ruins in burning sulphur and poisonous gasses. In the midst of the deadly fumes where only death is meant to reign – birds are flying and plants are growing. Jesus points to them and says: 

Matt 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Consider Creation - The lilies

Jesus then points to the Sosanna lilies growing in the place where no life was meant to survive and says – Matt 6:28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how theyCure for Anxiety
Security in God grow:
they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Cure for Anxiety - Security in God

Matt 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Cf. Matt 6:20

  • Grow larger than those who don’t know God
  • Know that your Father knows

Cure for Anxiety
Seeking first God’s Kingdom

Matthew 6:33a But seek first the kingdom of God…

Prioritize over comfort zone, family, wealth, status:

  • His Kingdom on Earth (Matt 13)
  • His Eternal Kingdom (Matt 19:27-30)

Matthew 6:33b and his righteousness…

Prioritize holiness over happiness

Cure for Anxiety-Seeking His Righteousness

“all these things will be added to you.”

How does comfort zone, family, wealth, status get added?

  • In this world?
  • In the next? (Matt 19:27-29)

Drive to succeed for God exceeds any other drive in the world.

EgEric Liddle. God wants me to go to China. But “He also made me fast and when I run I feel His pleasure”

Michael Phelps (read purpose driven life) won individual medals more than 52 countries put together.

Cure for Anxiety - Seeking to live for Today

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

..Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? V 25

Value life

Every minute is a gift.

There is not much time left.

Phoenix city

In Jesus’ time itself at a later date, the burning city of Sappores was reborn anew and known as Phoenix city – the city that rose from the ashes. Phoenix is the fabled bird that never dies but destroys itself by fire and gets reborn through it’s ashes every few hundred years.

No matter what poison surrounds us, Jesus encourages us implying we too can rise from the ashes into something completely new.

Recap

Causes of Anxiety

  • Security in the world
  • Seeking “these things”

Commended Cares

Redirect anxiety to’

  • responsibilities
  • churches
  • spiritual well being of people

Recap (Cont'd)

Consider Creation

  • The sparrows
  • The lilies
  • The grass

Cure for anxiety

  • Security in God
  • Seeking First God’s Kingdom
  • Seeking God’s Righteousness
  • Seeking to live for today

Discussion

1.She appears to be seeking gain in the “kingdom of God”. What was wrong in James and John’s mother’s attitude (Matt 20:20-28)?

2.Why does anxiety control us and peace elude us? How do we overcome it? (Phil 4:6,7)

3.How do we gain the peace and trust required in trying situations?

4.What practical steps can we personally take to centre our lives around God and redirect anxiety?

Tips for stress aversion

1.Reduce Stress: Never bite off more than you can chew

2.Redirect Stress: Focus on Kingdom goals, God will take your load on earthly ones.

3.Remove Stress: Make time for things you enjoy- Retail therapy (shopping), etc.

4.Release Stress: When people don’t change, accept it and let it go. Just love them

References

1.Matthew Henry’s Commentary

2.Grant – Verse by verse commentary

3.Dr. Ron Charles

Related Posts

True Righteousness

How can we discern between true and fake righteousness? In ourselves and others? What motivates fake righteousness? True Righteousness? How can we examine our hearts before God to be righteous in God’s sight? Matt 6:1-4 Objectives Position Intention Renumeration False...

Successful Prayers

How can our prayers be simple, successful and effective? How to pray? When do prayers not reach God? How can we listen to God and make prayer a two-way process? What were the pointers Jesus gives to be effective in prayer?Passages: Matt 6:5-15, Mark 11:25 Luke 5:16,...

Fasting

When and why should we fast? What changes when we fast? How are fasting and prayer related? Biblically fasting represents true sorrow for sin. Without that it is not a fast. Fasting is affliction of the soul in true repentance Matt 6:16-18 Objectives Bible Passages...

Permanent Wealth

Compare and contrast Kingdom wealth with earthly wealth. How do perspectives change our choices and guide our path? How do we get an enlightened perspective? How do we strike the right balance between wealth in this world and the next?Matt 6:19-24; Luke 12:33-34,...