How Jesus Addresses Our Anxiety (Part 2 of 3)

by Paul Tautges | April 20, 2020 1:40 am

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Matthew 6:30

We are earthbound people who naturally focus on earthly burdens. Our smallness of faith exposes itself in our predisposition to worry about our needs instead of resting in the care that our Creator promises. Our faith is not yet fully grown; it continually needs to be nurtured. Knowing that this is the case, Jesus develops our faith by gently confronting our unbelief.

In the verses that precede our verse for today, Jesus employs another image from nature to ask a conscience-stirring question. “Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider [i.e., deliberately notice] the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” (Matt. 6:28). Clearly he intends to redirect weary eyes of faith to look godward.

Jesus directs us to think about how the flowers are clothed. They do not buy or spin their own fabric. They are beautifully adorned by the Lord—such that “even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matt. 6:29). Jesus does not discourage us from working hard in order to provide for ourselves. But no matter how hard we can possibly work, God is always working harder on our behalf. He is the ultimate provider. If God cares for the flowers and dresses them in a dazzling array of shapes and colors, how much more does he care for you. We must acknowledge his tender care and trust him with our concerns—for, as Jesus asserts, “your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8).

Jesus then presents the grass of the field as another illustration. If God clothes the grass—which is destined to be destroyed— with such a lovely array of flowers, how much more will he care for you.

God’s faithful care should produce great confidence in a believer. In light of this, Jesus relates anxiety to having “little faith.” The root of our anxiety is unbelief. He challenges unbelief and the small view of God that it takes—the fact that when we are anxious, we fear that God is lacking. But God is not deficient in any virtue. Nor is he ever unfaithful.

In all these questions and exhortations, Jesus is saying the same thing over and over. “Look at what God is doing. Look at the flowers. Look at the grass. God takes constant care of them, and they are temporal. He tends to their needs. Why do you not trust God when you are infinitely more valuable and will live for eternity?” Unbelief and anxiety both whisper in your ear, “Your needs won’t be met. What are you going to do?” In our fight against anxiety, a small view of God will never suffice. God delegated the care of the earth to man (see Gen. 2:15), but he has always been the Gardener. And the pinnacle of God’s creation is man (see Ps. 8). Therefore, believe that God will meet your needs. Have faith. God cares about you!

For Further Reflection and Application

*This devotional is a daily excerpt from the 31-day devotional, ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace[1]. Consider working through this devotional yourself or with a friend or two.

  1. ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace:

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