Some anxiety can justifiably be termed as ‘healthy’. Anxiety for the welfare of others will bring the positive results we long for. Paul wrote about the ‘anxious care’ he had, on a daily basis, for all the churches that he was involved with. He spoke of a young man, Timothy, who would ‘anxiously care’ for others, Philippians chapter 2 verse 20.
Let us challenge ourselves today as to whether there are those, Christians or otherwise, for whom we have this same anxious care for their spiritual and physical well-being.
However, the primary focus of our meditation this week is to consider what we might call the ‘unhealthy anxiety’ that can grip us from time to time and rob us of peace and joy. It can paralyze our will and lead us to make totally inappropriate responses to people and situations. Sadly, worst of all, it can result in a total lack of trust in God. Indeed, we become self-centered and look within ourselves for help, rather than looking to God.
There is, of course, an ever-growing ‘industry’ of human expertise to help us confront our anxieties and we would not wish to belittle what they do. Disappointingly, however, we are often reluctant to turn to the divine help that can be found in the Bible.
JESUS’ ANSWER: Matthew chapter 6 verses 25-34.
Jesus identified the major cause of our anxieties; namely, THE CARE OF THE BODY, i.e., what we will EAT, DRINK and WEAR. He warned against being anxious for our own welfare! He gave three key words to help us cope with our anxieties:
- FAITH, verse 30 – if we have faith that He will take care of our life and our body (the greater), He will provide us with food and clothing (the lesser); if He looks after birds and flowers (the lesser), He will look after us (the greater). We must trust Him to meet our needs!
- FATHER, verses 26 & 32 – birds, lilies and grass do not have a Father, only a Creator; yet, they are not anxious but cared for; we have a Father in heaven, who cares and provides for us.
- FIRST, verse 33 – if we put the correct things FIRST (God’s kingdom and His righteousness), material things, that cause anxiety, will follow.