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Countering Anxiety

“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?  

Matthew 6:25 ESV

At this point in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has finished his teaching treasure in heaven and has led us to understand and apply the important mindset of serving God alone without any duplicity and with complete devotion. Having taken this principle into our hearts, we are to apply this in such a manner that all anxiety is cast far from us. This sounds so simple as we read this passage and make the connection in our mind that Jesus is our perfect loving Master and as we give our whole hearts and lives to him, he alone will care for us and give us everything we have and need in this life and in heaven. Life is more than food and clothing. Life is more than these outer adornments and gathering of material things. It is more than a multitude of novel and unique experiences. It is more than indulging our cravings and desires. Life is meant to be lived in the presence of our Lord and Savior with humility and devotion. Jesus is life… our life.  

I find myself at odds with this passage many times in my life, including this moment. Times where I am so overwhelmed and concerned about the cares of my world that I worry and fret to my own detriment. Granted, worry and anxiety are always going to be a part of human existence to a certain degree. Yet there should be an upward trend of faith and trust in Jesus as he cares and provides for me on a daily basis. This I think is one of the central tenets of the sermon. Jesus wants me to know, understand, and apply his love for me to my very core. To know his love so deeply in my heart that my only care in the world is fellowship and communion with him.  

This is where theology and doctrine meet the footpath of life and faith. I know all these great things about God and my knowledge about the Almighty is extensive. The question posed by Jesus at the moment is whether that knowledge is shallow or deep. Shallow to the extent that I can recite and repeat the mantras of the Christian faith and speak the correct Biblical truth on a wide variety of subjects. Deep to the extent that these same Biblical truths are a part of me. Deep in the sense that I know and experience Jesus. I don’t just know about him or occasionally commune with him, but I am deeply in love with him.  

When I am deeply in love with him and understand the vast endless ocean of love and mercy and grace he has opened to me, then I am able to do away with anxiety and worry. I will be so enamored by my Savior that all these other cares will pale in comparison. It’s not that they become any less important to life, it’s just that Jesus is far superior. When I fully grasp and dive deep into the vastness of Christ’s love for me, I will see that he has clothed me and fed me. He knows I have need of these things and he will provide. My anxiety stems for a lack of appreciation of what he has brought to me. I despise my daily bread. What I need is to rest in the love and care of my Savior. To give thanks to him for everything. To give thanks each and every day for his provision of food, clothing, shelter, job, family, friends, and material things. To take my eyes off the world and stop chasing after the illusion of more is better. No, the answer here is that deeper is better. Deeper in the love of Jesus is the outworking of faith and obedience. Deeper into the mercy and grace of my Savior. Giving thanks to Christ for each and every breath that I take. Sharing with everyone about his overwhelming love for me and for you.

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