How Jesus Addresses Our Anxiety (Part 1 of 3)

“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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Matthew 6:26-27

In today’s verses, Jesus says that we should not worry about what is not ours to worry about. Instead, we should be more like the birds, which do not doubt the faithfulness of God. When we intentionally “look at the birds,” we remind ourselves of how dependent all creatures are—and especially ourselves. As we wait on the Lord, our responsibility is to actively do what he commands and to leave the rest to him.

Three Comforting Truths

Worry distracts us from enjoying the love of our heavenly Father, but Jesus offers us comforting truths to settle our anxious hearts.

Your heavenly Father feeds his creatures (v. 26). God cares for the things he creates. He takes responsibility for them. Jesus directs us to look at the birds—to consider how their needs are faithfully met. They own no barns and have no ability to store up for the future. Yet God meets their daily needs.

You are more valuable than any non-human creature (v. 27). Jesus also reassures us that we are infinitely more valuable than animals are. Human life possesses fathomless value because man and woman are created in God’s image and likeness. We are designed to reflect God’s glory. This is what gives human beings their worth.

Your heavenly Father has a plan for the span of your life (v. 27). When King David praised God for the wonder-filled way he had created him, he also acknowledged that God would providentially lead him according to his sovereign plan. “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them,” he testified (Ps. 139:16). Since this is true for each of us, worrying about tomorrow will not “add a single hour to [the] span of [our] life.”

God faithfully provides for us. He does this primarily through our work and through our disciplined stewardship of our resources (see Prov. 6:6–11). Nevertheless, even if we are faithful with our responsibilities and resources, we may have needs that remain unmet. If this is the case for us, then we trust God to provide for us in his way and according to his timetable. To fret is to heap fake cares on our large-enough stack of legitimate ones.

For Further Reflection and Application

  • Reflect: What are your fake cares? List them, and also review your “care list” from day 1. Are the items you are currently worrying about legitimate cares, or could some be things that you fear might happen?
  • Act: If you can’t distinguish between fake and true cares, turn to a wise Christian friend and ask for help.
  • Act: Read Psalm 127:2. Compare it to what Jesus teaches about the heavenly Father’s care and provision.

*This devotional is a daily excerpt from the 31-day devotional, ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace. Consider working through this devotional yourself or with a friend or two.

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