I’ve recently been comforted by some simple, yet profound words from Jesus in Matthew 6.
31“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” -Matt. 6:31-33 ESV
Jesus had just finished telling His disciples not to “store up” treasures on this earth. He encouraged them to spend their lives investing into the Kingdom of God. In doing so, they would “store up” for themselves a reward lasting an eternity. Jesus then moves to a beautiful promise I believe we often ignore in moments of difficulty—God promises to meet the physical needs of His children (Matt. 6:25-30). Jesus bases this truth on God’s role as our Heavenly Father who sovereignly meets the needs of His children simply because He wants to out of His love for us. As God’s people, we are valuable to Him.
Now we have come to the really sweet part of this section of Scripture. Jesus commands us as His disciples not to be anxious and worry about the physical needs we have as human beings. In fact, He tells His disciples that worrying about their physical needs and living their lives focused on providing for themselves is what people who don’t know God worry about. As the people of God, we look no different from the world when we spend our lives chasing physical provision over eternal joy. Jesus urges them to see how God calls His people in the gospel to trust him as they submit to a new way of living. The transforming work of the gospel in you is currently working to reorient the values of your heart to match God’s. As God works to change the way you see the world, you will begin to desire two things above any ambition this life can offer.
You will desire His Kingdom over your own.
The chief desire of God is to make His own name famous. In everything He does, He is seeking to expand His Kingdom and reign on earth as it is in heaven. As followers of Jesus, this too begins to come forward as the chief desire of our own hearts. In everything we do, we look to glorify the name of God and make Him known to all people. As God continues His redemptive work, we begin to notice opportunities in our life where we can glorify God through the things we do. We long to learn more about who He is so we can grow in our love for Him—this is why we pick up and read our Bibles. We hope to experience God in our day to day life and join Him in the work He is doing in our community. We confess where we are still prone to trust in ourselves more than we are prone to trust in Him. As we seek His Kingdom, the anxiety we have over our circumstances or future begins to move out of our minds. The two are incompatible because what we view as most important changes.
You will desire His righteousness over your own.
Where anxiety calls us to take control of our circumstances and worry about how we are going to “fix it”, Christ Jesus calls us to dependence. The fact of the matter is all things provided to us are given to us by the hand of God. Whether we are in physical difficulty (poverty, disease, relocation) or relational difficulty (family, friendships, relationships at work), God is calling us to be completely dependent on His righteousness. This means when we are worried or wondering how to handle these situations we run to Him in prayer. We ask Him for wisdom and guidance to go before us in difficult conversations. We confess our need for Him to continually transform our hearts to be in line with His. Peace and assurance replace anxiety as we approach any difficulty in complete dependence on Him.
These desires ultimately lead us to trust.
Rather than let anxiety paralyze us with worry, trust in our Heavenly Father motivates us to worship. Our trust in God to meet our needs is the antidote pushing anxiety out of our hearts. Our anxiety will wash away by the power and grace of God as we prioritize His Kingdom and clothe ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus. This will enable us to faithfully trust our Heavenly Father regardless of the circumstance.