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The Root of Anxiety…According to Matthew

October 2, 2011

When unanswered questions concern people and situations that are close to our heart,  fear, anxiety, and even depression are often the result. We have all been faced with these or similar types of questions: when will I get a job; will my daughter get into the college she desires; what if we can’t pay the bills this month; how can I help my friend struggling with addiction; or why does my child struggle in school. Today I was pondering similar types of questions. As I was talking to God about my unanswered questions, I confessed that the unknown was making me feel lost, anxious, and even depressed. I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6.

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  – Matthew 6:25

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?'” – Matthew 6:30-31

In verse 25, Jesus points out that God has given us something far greater than food or clothes; He has given us life. Every day that we take a breath is a gift from God. THEN why do we worry about the lesser things like food, clothes, or any of the other unanswered questions in our lives? What is producing this anxiety? Verse 30 tells us that the root of anxiety is lack of faith. When I worry or fear about the issues in my life, it is because I don’t fully trust God to take care of my loved ones or me. I think it also demonstrates something more. In verse 33 Jesus exhorts us to:

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

The anxiety that creeps in when things aren’t going according to my plans demonstrate that I am living out of self-centered rather than God-centered motives. I am conveying to those who are observing my life, that I am much more concerned about what happens to me or to my loved ones, than what I can do to bring glory to God and further His plans. I have to accept that some temporary, earthly pain can be used by God for the furthering of His kingdom and for His glory.  I have to not only be okay with this but to joyfully surrender my plans for His.

I don’t know the answers to my questions but what I do KNOW is that scripture tells us that God is: faithful, long-suffering, loving, kind, just, in-control, purposeful, missional, in-charge, creative, unconventional, generous, organized, persistent, gracious, merciful, available, approachable, wise, patient, capable, determined, jealous, trustworthy, protective, strong, sovereign, safe, awesome, majestic, and glorious.

Today, God reminded me to stop focusing on what I don’t know, and instead focus on what I know.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2011 6:38 PM

    “The anxiety that creeps in when things aren’t going according to my plans demonstrate that I am living out of self-centered rather than God-centered motives”
    So True! As long as we live selfish, natural lives, we will continue to live in anxiety. We depend on our own strengths. But if we are brave enough to let go, empty ourselves, and rely more on God (which is not easy but essential), then we can live in joy and peace. This does not mean that suffering and problems will cease to exist. It means that, even if problems remain, it is not up to us to solve them, but up to God. We become His instrument to start serving others, which is what Jesus commanded us to do.

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  1. Resources for Matthew 6:30 - 31

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