“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”Matthew 6:31-32
In today’s passage, Jesus brings up a relationship that unbelievers (Gentiles) do not have. They worry about the basic necessities—food, drink, clothing. But we have spiritual blessings that far outweigh material ones as well as a confidence that cannot belong to the non-Christian. Through our repentant faith in Christ, the heavenly Father has become our heavenly Father. He takes care of the animal and plant kingdoms, and he loves his children infinitely more (see Matt. 6:25–30). Therefore, we should not be anxious (see v. 31). We have no need to worry about our basic provisions (see v. 32). What supports this confidence in our heavenly Father’s personal care is the gospel. The redemptive work that Jesus completed to deliver us from the penalty of sin also rescues us from the orphanage of the Evil One and places us into the family of God.
We were not always his children. Before we were born again, we were “children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). We were God’s enemies (see Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21). But when God opened our hearts to the gospel and we believed in Jesus, we were set free from the penalty and power of sin. God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). His amazing grace initiated our adoption as children of God (see Gal. 4:4–5).
Spiritual adoption is the gracious act of God by which he places the believer in Jesus into his family and gives him the full rights and privileges of mature sonship. In light of this adoption, the apostle Paul explains why we should not be controlled by fear: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons” (Rom. 8:15). Unlike unbelievers, you have a heavenly Father whom you can turn to—one who knows and cares.
This secure relationship should produce in you a peaceful, trusting disposition—one that is different from those who do not have God as their Father. This is the basis of Jesus’s directive “Do not be anxious.” Children of God can rest in the promise that our Father has made to meet our every need, but “Gentiles [unbelievers] seek after all these things.” Our relationship with God should lead us to have heavenly priorities and a distinct outlook that is unbound by anxiety. Because you are God’s, you don’t have to worry. As pastor Philip De Courcy says, “Anxious care, or illegitimate concern, is out of place in the company of Christians and certainly in the presence of God.” When our hearts settle into the reality that the God of the universe is our very own, personal heavenly Father, there is no longer a need for us to be anxious. He knows our every need and will provide for us.
Do you know God as your heavenly Father—and, if so, what difference is that making in your life? Does it help you to no longer worry?
For Further Reflection and Application
- Reflect: Why and how is anxiety not God’s will for you as a Christian?
- Act: Read Romans 8:15–17. Journal about the blessings of adoption in Christ.
- Act: Write a personal prayer to your heavenly Father. Thank him for adopting you and for promising to meet your needs.
*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.
PREVIOUS TWO POSTS