“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27)
Whether you have been a Christian for one day or your entire life, it’s likely that you have heard some version of Matthew 6 quoted. It is part of a passage referred to as The Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus plainly lays out many of the teachings He will spend His next few years proclaiming. Contained in this chapter are countless Gospel truths to encourage us in our pursuit of Christ.
Before last week, though, I often viewed these words about anxiety and worry as a little bit of a reprimand. We all know that worry should not take over our thoughts…yet it often does. We all understand that our God in heaven can take care of our every need…but knowing this fact often does not calm our anxieties. No matter how many times I have heard these verses, I still struggle at various times with worrying about the past, present, and future, and I can’t help but feel chastised when I am reminded again that I am doing the very thing Jesus warned against.
Last week, as I opened my Bible to this familiar passage, though, I saw these words in a whole new light.
The beautiful truth hidden in the verses here is that Jesus took the time to show His deep care for our worry. Rather than simply saying “do not worry” and moving on, He gave us reason after reason why we can trust our heavenly Father in the midst of these worries. His words are not dismissive and unkind. In this passage, we can understand that:
In the final verse, Jesus acknowledges that we experience difficult days and seasons; in fact, He chose to live like us so that He could sympathize with our struggles, (Hebrews 4:15), not stand at a distance and tell us that our worries are not real enough or big enough to matter.
Knowing the truth of this passage does not erase our worries, nor does it make every day easier. But understanding that Jesus spoke with deep compassion towards us should be an immense comfort.
In the next few days and weeks, I would encourage you to re-read these familiar words from a new light, understanding that the One who spoke them was filled with so much love that He would lay down His life to bring us peace in this life and the next (John 15:13).
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