Title: The Giant of Worry
Series: Facing the Giants (2/5)
Reference: Matthew 6:25-34
If you have a Bible, I want to invite you to open up to the New Testament book of Matthew. Matthew 6 is where we’re going to be, this morning. As you’re finding your place there, we’ll dismiss the kids to Children’s Worship. So all the little ones, you can make your way to the back of the Sanctuary, and from there you’ll be escorted off to another great Bible adventure.
For those of us who remain, we’re in Matthew 6. The title of today’s message is The Giant of Worry. I’ll begin reading with verse 25, and I’m going to ask if you’re physically able, let’s all stand in honor & reverence, for the reading of God’s Holy Word.
The Word of God says in Matthew 6, beginning with verse 25:
25 “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? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 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! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Father, would add Your blessing upon the proclamation of Your Word. This we pray in the strong name of Jesus, amen. You can be seated.
Last Sunday we started a new series called “Facing the Giants.” We’re looking at what it means to equip ourselves to stand against giants that are common to all of us. Last week we looked at the giant of shame. We saw how shame makes us feel like we need to run & hide. Shame makes us feel like we can’t go forward with God, but we also learned last Sunday that feelings of shame have to be faced with the truth! The truth of who you are in Jesus, what you have in Jesus, and what you can do through Jesus!
That was last Sunday. Next Sunday we’re going to flip over to the book of James and look at the giant of temptation! I’m really excited about our time in the Father’s Word there. That’s where we’ve been and where we’re going, but today we want to deal with the giant of worry.
There can be little doubt that we are a worried people who live in a worried world. Often it’s carved into our bodies by the sores we call ulcers. Sometimes it’s etched into our faces by the lines we call wrinkles. It can be seen in a frown, or heard through footsteps that pace back and forth through the night. Sometimes it’s recognized by the silence of simply lying in bed, while a million faithless thoughts race through your mind. Some call it tension; others call it anxiety; Jesus calls it worry!
Three times in this passage Jesus says “don’t do it!” Verse 25 – For this reason I say to you, do not be worried… Verse 31 – Do not worry then… Verse 34 – So do not worry…
The word “worry” carries with it the image of being divided (of being pulled in opposing directions). It’s the very opposite of peace. The word “peace” is the image of being together. When I have peace, my heart and my mind are together. But worry is division! Worry divides us from contentment. It divides us from effectiveness. It divides us from joy! Worry divides us from the abundant life that Jesus desires to give!
So three times Jesus says “don’t do it”, and yet the truth is (for the vast majority of us)–
Worry is something we often struggle with! Our hearts are weighed down, our minds are
clouded, our physical bodies are the less because of it (and we know we shouldn’t do it), but yet we worry, and then we worry that we are worrying!
Let’s take a look at the words of Jesus and see if we can’t get a handle on this oppressive giant in our life.
If you’re taking notes, let’s start off by thinking about this question– (Your notes start off like this): WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH WORRYING? WHY IS WORRY A SIN? I think this is a good place for us to start because worry (for far too long) has been viewed almost like a “respectable sin.” It’s like we know it’s bad and we shouldn’t do it, but you know… It’s not all that bad, right! Surely something like worry isn’t that offensive to God, right!
Well Jesus says “WRONG”, and He’s going to give us four reasons why worry is a sin.
Number one, Worry is inconsistent with God’s priority.
25 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.
Jesus is talking about the basic necessities of life. What will we eat? Where will we live? How in the world are we going to buy clothes for these kids? I mean, good grief, their feet are growing so fast they keep knocking the top off their shoes (how are we going to keep clothes on them)! Jesus says don’t worry about it. Don’t become preoccupied with, “What are we going to do? Are we going to make it?”
(Now that’s not to say we shouldn’t plan and be concerned with things, but in your concern, don’t worry)! Don’t let your heart be filled with anxiety! Don’t be so preoccupied with the things of life that your heart & mind are divided, and you miss out on God’s priority, which has less to do with material things and more to do with spiritual things!
You say, “Well, who’s going to look after our needs? If I’m not making our life the #1 priority, who’s going to look after us?” The answer, according to Jesus, is that God will.
One of the points Jesus is going to make in this passage (over & over), is the truth that God is not just Creator, but He is also Provider. God isn’t just the One who made the birds; He’s the One who takes care of the birds. Likewise, God is the One who made the wild flowers, and God is the One who takes care of the wild flowers, and you know what– He’ll take care of you to! You can trust Your Father to do that, but you’ve got to get your priorities right! Jesus says, “Life is more than food, and life is more than clothing.”
Jesus is saying you exist for a higher purpose! You are here, on this earth, for a greater reason! Life is not just about food & fashion (and making sure you’re taken care of)! But it’s in God, Acts 17:28 says, that we live and move and have our being. It’s in God that we find our purpose! The Bible says in Colossians 1:16 that we are created for Him, and Isaiah 43:7 says we are to live for His glory.
Jesus says don’t be worried about the necessitates of life! Don’t let your heart & mind become preoccupied with them. Your Father has a higher priority for you!
God has made you, saved you, redeemed you, placed you into His family, gifted you to serve in a particular fashion, to have a particular ministry, to live in a particular way that might reflect His glory and grace, and as you do that– He’s going to take care of you (that’s the promise Jesus makes down there in verse 33)!
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (that’s the priority– His Kingdom, His righteousness), and all these things will be added to you.
Worry is inconsistent with God’s priority. Number two, Worry is inconsistent with God’s provision.
26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Jesus says look at the birds! Birds don’t sow, reap, or gather into barns! Birds don’t have any kind of food pantry; they are totally dependent on God. Every day, all they have is that which God provides.
Now that doesn’t mean birds don’t work! Birds are very busy trying to find their food (from one day to the next). So the point is not to say we should stop working and trust God to provide. The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if a man isn’t willing to work, then he shouldn’t eat!
Jesus is not saying it’s okay to become idle people who wash their hands of responsibility, but the point is that God does provide. He provides the resources. He provides the strength. He provides the opportunity. God provides, and birds understand that! The Father provides when we’re living according to His purpose. So you know what you’ll never see? You’ll never see a bird with an ulcer! You’ll never see a bird with high blood pressure! Why? Because they understand the nature of their Provider! The One who has acted as Creator will also be faithful to act as Provider!
That’s the point! God takes care of the birds, who are part of His creation, so how much
more will He take care of us, who are the crown of His creation!
But you see, worry sits down on our heart when we feel like we’ve got to do something (like we’ve got to come through & provide). We often feel the weight of that, which is why the Bible says (Psalm 55:22), “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you…” That word “cast” means I’ve got to let go of something, and truth be told, that’s the problem!
I’ve got to let go of something (and trust God), and that’s hard to do because I’m like “Jr. Holy Spirit or something” and I can do this! I can come through with the provision, when, all along (when I’m living my life like that), I’m taking up the responsibility that God has said He would handle!
Number three, Worry is inconsistent with God’s plan!
27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
The idea here is why be worried about how long you’re going to live? Why allow your heart to go crazy trying to think you’ve got to eat this, stay away from that, do these things (but not too much because then it becomes stress)…
I mean, Haley has got me to the place where I will eat a salad just about every day, and I like it! I actually like it! But I’ve got to tell ya– Part of me is worried that now that I like salads, one day some scientist is going to discover that it’s all been bad for you all along!
And then you’ve got to have the right vitamins, and supplements, and medications, and on & on it goes! And Jesus says none of it adds one single hour to your life!
God has a plan for your life. The Bible says in Psalm 139:16 that all of your days were ordained before you were even born! So all the worry & all the anxiety & all the effort you put forth to prolong life is in vain!
Now again, that doesn’t mean you wash your hands of responsibility! The truth is, you should be disciplined. You should eat in moderation. You should exercise. But you don’t do those things to prolong your life. You do those things because life is better / more enjoyable when you are healthy, but even beyond that– You do those things so that you can serve the Lord with all the strength of your heart!
Jesus says don’t worry about your life. You can’t add to it. Now you can shorten it by sin! 1 John 5 says there’s a sin unto death. 1 Corinthians 11:30 talks about some folks who had desecrated the Lord’s Table, and they lost their life because of that sin! So we can make our life miserable by sin, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do to make it longer…(so go ahead and eat the cheesy fries today at lunch, okay)!
You get the point! Why worry about how long you’re going to live? Why spend all your money & time trying to live longer (why let that be your driving preoccupation), when the reality is: you can’t do anything to add to your life. Worry will divide your mind, multiply your misery, subtract your happiness, but it will never add to your life!
Worry is like the little mouse in a cage that keeps running on the wheel but never going anywhere. It’s like every day, the mouse gets up and thinks, “I’ve got to get on that wheel! I’ve got to keep running! I’ve got to do this thing (bust on out of here)!” And the average pet mouse will run 9,000 miles on a wheel, and he’s still inside the cage!
That’s how worry works! You could spend a lifetime running with no destination! And once you hit empty– Once you finally exhaust every bit of strength the Lord gives you, you find out that you’re still in the cage! One author said it like this– “Worry doesn’t rob tomorrow of its sorrow. It robs today of its strength.”
Why is worry a sin? Because worry is inconsistent with God’s priority– Worry is inconsistent with God’s provision– Worry is inconsistent with God’s plan– Here’s the last one, number four, Worry is inconsistent with God’s favor.
Now I know we live in a world that likes to point to evolution, and so we’re just supposed to be like the latest model of monkeys… But it doesn’t take a scholar to look around and see a great gap between all these animals and species that God has created, and then over here is man! Man, who the Bible says, is made in the image of God. That is to say we bear something of God’s likeness! Something of the divine nature is in each of us, and I mean that literally if you’re a child of God!
If you’re a child of God, God lives in you! Through the Holy Spirit, God lives in you! And because you are God’s child, God looks upon you with favor! He looks upon you with this desire to bring good things into your life! And it’s not “good” in the sense of things you can buy (that would be no different than the world), but it’s “good” in the sense of things you cannot buy! Peace, purpose, a deep-seated contentment in life (these are the things only God can give)!
28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
Jesus says not even the best dressed man in the history of Israel clothed himself like the lilies of the field.
30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field (just the wild flowers out there in the field), which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? Do you see the point Jesus is trying to get through to our thick heads!
Over & over He says look & consider! Look at the birds and consider! Look at the flowers & consider! Look at the grass out there in the fields and consider! Jesus wants us to look at them and consider– Look at them and learn something about the nature of Creator God, who also shows Himself to be faithfully, ever-providing for their needs! And if God does that for the lesser things in creation, how much more can we be confident that He will provide for us as we’re living according to His plan!
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
How can we doubt God, when He’s already given us His best in Jesus? How can we question His daily provision, when He’s already made arrangements for our eternal provision! Surely if God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for our sins (to make a way for our sins to be forgiven)– Surely that same love is strong enough to provide what we need, as we seek to live out the plan that He has designed for us!
So why do we continue to doubt Him?
30b …You of little faith!
Note that it’s “little faith.” It’s not “no faith”, but it’s “little faith.” Worry is a sign (not that you don’t have faith), but that you’re not applying faith to all the areas of your life! This is the way most of us do– We apply faith in Jesus when it comes to salvation & spiritual matters, but we want to live by sight when it comes to physical matters. That’s often the way we are, and that’s often the way the disciples were! When Jesus was on the boat with the disciples and a storm came up. They rushed over to Jesus and said, “Master– Don’t you care that we’re going to die!” And Jesus said, “Where’s your faith!” Jesus was saying it’s crazy that you’re not applying your faith in a situation like this!
That’s what He’s saying in verse 30. When we worry, we show our faith is little. We show our faith is lacking. It’s not reaching beyond the spiritual to the physical, and it’s not showing up in the daily problems of life!
So worry is inconsistent with God’s priority. Worry is inconsistent with God’s provision. Worry is inconsistent with God’s plan, and worry is inconsistent with God’s favor (if you want another “p” word, then think “preference”)!
Clearly, worry has no place in God’s plan for your life. It is not God’s desire for your heart to be weighed down with worry & anxiety, so what can we do about it? That brings us to number two on your notes, HOW CAN WE DEFEAT THE GIANT OF WORRY?
31 Do not worry then, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear for clothing?” Jesus is saying, “Don’t make things the pursuit of your life. That’s not what your life should be about!” 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Jesus says the world (those living apart from Him), they live and eagerly seek all these things! From their perspective, life is about what we will eat, and what will we drink, and what will we wear for clothing!
From the perspective of those who are separated from God, life is all about looking out for me– Doing what’s best for me– Keep my wants & my dreams & my desires at the forefront of my life! That’s the world, and it’s very much a dog-eat-dog world! And I’ve got to tell ya, folks– It’s a very hopeless way of living your life!
But that is the person apart from Jesus (without hope)! So it’s no wonder all their time & effort & concern revolves around the accumulation of stuff, because that’s all they have! If you’re here without a relationship with Jesus, the Bible says the only life you’re going to know is this life. The only joy you’re going to know is the joy of this life. The only fulfillment you’re going to know is the little you can find in this life, and once this life is over, it’s all over and it’s all gone, and you’re left with nothing…
But in contrast, Jesus says you (those who know God through Christ) shouldn’t be like that! You don’t have to go through life like that! Why? 32b …for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
God knows! God is aware! Your Heavenly Father, who acts much like an earthly father (a
protector and a provider)– Jesus says He’s aware of what you need! So what are you worried about? If you believe God sees your need, and if you believe God is able to meet your need, then why do you allow your heart to be weighed down with worry! Trust in God!
Now look at how Jesus ends this! And this is the key to the whole thing! How can you defeat worry? How can you live life worry-free? How can you live and know that God has got your back? Whatever decision? Whatever move? Whatever course of action– How can you know (through it all) that God is going to provide?
Real quick let me give you two thoughts here! Number one, Put first things first!
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Jesus says to seek first the things of God. Seek first (that’s a matter of priority)! I can promise you that as long as you try to run your own life, steer your own car, fly your own plane, push your own buttons, make your own decisions, you’re going to worry!
It’s only when you seek God first– It’s like buttoning up your shirt! Have you ever buttoned up a shirt and (at the end), you had more shirt left than you had buttons! So you look and see that you started off wrong! You’ve got to get that first button right, and when the first button is in place, then everything else just sort-of lines up!
That’s what Jesus is saying! You seek God first! You seek after the things of God first! You give yourself to that which honors Christ first! You give yourself to obedience, and to service, and to worship, and to witness. You give yourself to those things! That should be the preoccupation of your heart! I mean, if you want to worry about something, worry about being in hot pursuit of the things of God!
It’s like the parables in Matthew 13: You’re selling it all to buy that one pearl! You’re selling it all for that one treasure hidden in the field. It’s the picture of self-abandonment! It’s me dying to me, living to God! Devoted to His cause! Pursuing His glory! Focusing on that which is eternal, knowing this life is but a vapor that’s only here for a moment!
So put first things first. Here’s the second thought– Live one day at a time.
34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Live one day at a time. It’s been said that most of us crucify ourselves between two thieves: the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow!
You can’t live like that, folks! You can’t change anything about your past, so stop with the regrets, and only God knows the future, so unless your name is “Jesus”, you need to chill!
God’s grace will be sufficient for your tomorrow! I love this phrase tucked away in Deuteronomy 33:25, which says your strength will equal your days! Lamentations 3:22-23 is another good one. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
God is saying whatever tomorrow’s pressures & needs may be, I’ll give you strength for that! But it’s coming tomorrow, okay! God’s grace for tomorrow doesn’t come today, so live one day at a time!
Let me pray for us…
Father, we thank You for Your Word…Your Truth that is so vital to quench our spiritual hunger & provide for our spiritual growth…
We thank You Father that You have a plan for us! We thank You that You’ve made provision so we can live our lives with our hearts locked-in to that plan, knowing that You’re going to provide for our needs.
Help us to remember that, Father. When worry shows, when anxiety begins to set down on our hearts, help us to remember that our Creator is also our Sustainer, and You’ve promised to take care of us (a promise that we don’t really deserve, but a promise that we are so thankful for)!
So increase our faith, Father, so that worry & fear may just be but a passing thought rather than a village we live in. Help us to release our worries as we turn to You & trust You with it all! Work in our hearts to this end, Father, for we ask it according to the saving & life-changing name of Jesus, amen.