I thought I would add more to the subject of Worry. In October, I talked about Matthew 6:24-34 in Do Not Worry About Tomorrow, Part 1. And, the three initial lessons I learned about worrying, which were:
Worrying Wastes Time
We Have to Differentiate Ourselves From Unbelievers.
God Knows Our Needs.
So, God tends to show me when I haven't conquered something. Or better yet, he allows me to get tested even more to overcome negative or sinful things in my life. Does that ever happen to you?
Like I told you before, we are all going to worry sometimes. And, I am learning day by day to try and overcome it. So, I felt the need to slow down and to even go a little further with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:24-34.
I am a control freak—- first of all I know this, and my husband knows this. I am just admitting this to you lol. If you are a fellow control freak, then you know worrying begins when things fall out of your hands. You worry about every SINGLE.LITTLE.DETAIL. It keeps you up at night, can create additional work, and ,worst of all, prevent you from even beginning a task.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunate), worry has a cause and effect relationship with God. The more we worry, the less we trust and depend on God. And, ultimately, we have less peace in our lives with worry. Yet, there is hope. And, you can turn that equation upside down. But, we are going to have to learn to trust Him. Of course, we know it is not going to be easy. That is why, you are reading this right now. But, we can do it.
Today, I am focusing on Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (NIV)
and Matthew 6:30
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? ”
— Matthew 6:30 (NIV)
These are the key lessons learned.
God Comes First aka God Over Everything
You have probably seen a meme or a shirt that says, “(Fill in the blank) Over Everything.” I’ve used Family Over Everything quite a bit. Well, I feel that Matthew 6:24 really embodies that saying. God desires to have our full, undivided attention. He wants to be first and THE guiding force in our lives. Yet, we have been conditioned and conditioned that we have the personal ability to do and have it all. And, oftentimes, when WE are done with our day, we have nothing to offer to God. I know I’m guilty of this. Would you agree?
When God says He wants to be all, this mean He should be put first. This means, he must be put ahead of our own agendas. God has to be put over money and even people. And, that’s hard sometimes.
When I am excited about taking a trip or working on a project, I typically can’t wait to do those things. I’ll even put Bible Study aside, pretending that I will get to it later. But, we must challenge ourselves to do things that would put God at the forefront. This could simply mean praying before all decisions, listening to a devotional on the way to work, or attending a church service.
Communicate with God on how you can work on putting him first. We want to get to a point where serving God becomes more intentional and second nature.
We Have to Know that God is Bigger than Wealth
Why is this important? Jesus had already told us that we cannot serve two masters. Yet, again there is this emphasis on money or wealth. I believe this is a cautionary tale for us to be particularly mindful of how we view money. If we are not careful, we can be tricked into believing only money will bring us happiness and that it will solve all of our problems.
I have been guilty of worrying because I didn’t have enough money to pay a bill. And, because of my worrying, I didn’t depend on God to handle the situation for me. I’ve even said, “If I had this much money, then… But, what if we start saying, “If I have God, then….”
We cannot always control our finances, but we can control having God in our lives.
Interestingly enough, I read a quote from Jim Carrey, which said
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
This was profound for me. Jim Carrey’s quote signifies that we can not be filled or made complete with worldly things (i.e. wealth) Instead, we have to learn to let Jesus be enough. Then, provision will be made for us.And, if I am honest with you, I am still working on this. I honestly can say that I do need some things to die in me, in order for God to bless me. I can literally feel my flesh warring with my spirit to let go of the world's notion of what an ideal income looks like for me. It is a process.
I'm not saying that we can't have money or wealth. But, I am sure that God has to know we understand where resources come from. It's easy for us to see God, when he is the only thing left to depend on. But, will we remain faithful with fat pockets? Will I give Him thanks, when I receive the first million?
God, the Ultimate Controller, likes details
You are made in God’s own image. We are of a royal priesthood --Daughters of the King. He knew us before we entered our mother’s womb. The Scriptures say so many things, how we were uniquely knitted to be.
So, I am in awe when Jesus describes God as clothing grass. That is detail at its finest. Are you like me and ever in awe of the beauty of nature? It is quite breathtaking at times. Again, this message is geared towards my fellow “control analysts” , so you have to admire God’s attention to detail. We obviously cannot top his attentiveness and understanding of circumstances in any area of our life.
You Are Valuable to God
What I like about the King James, New King James and New International version translations is the part that says, “much more”. I’ve always been told not to limit God or quantify your blessings. Scripture tells us, that God can do more than what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
What is “much more” to you? Well, think about your favorite person in the world. How much more attention, do you give them, then say your second favorite person? I love everybody, but I give “much more” to my family.
Jesus is telling us that we are “much more” to God. This is life changing. If we mean “much more” to God, we have nothing to worry about. Please remember, you are favored in the eyes of God.
You Have to Recognize Your Faith Issue
When someone provides you with constructive criticism, how do you react? And, how do you react especially when you know it’s true. I react with an inside “Ouch” and a tug at the heart. It also feels like I have been roasted really good and I deserved it.
At the end of verse 30, Jesus ends the question with “you of little faith”. This was one of those ouch moments for me. Because the question we (particularly believers) will ask is “God, can you see me? Are you going to work this out? Can you handle my situation?” The answer to all of those worrisome questions is Yes. But, the real problem and the serious question that needs to be addressed is our faith.
Jesus is asking why do we have little faith. I'm just going to keep it real. In some instances, it is not even little. Faith is nonexistent. I would have not wanted to be those believers standing in front of Jesus, dumbfounded and with no excuse. But, we should all put ourselves in the shoes of those believers in Matthew 6. Jesus reminds us that we have been given evidence repeatedly. However, that is still not enough. I have moments where I question whether God will come through, because I forget all that he’s done in times of new problems.
When I first looked at this passage and questioned my own issue of faith, I initially couldn’t put my finger on the source of my doubt. In deeper reflection, I think it is because life hurts. And, we don't always understand where God is going or doing. His idea of comfort and sustenance may not look like our fleshly expectations.
Can I tell you that Summer 2017 was the Summer of Hell for me? I unexpectedly lost my mother and beloved pet. I thought another dear loved one was on his way out of here, and then I endured my seventh miscarriage. We quote Romans 8:28 on those sunny days. But, it can be hard to see “for my good” on those dark days. It is hard to hold on to faith, because we want to feel something. So, once we acknowledge that we have a faith issue, what do we do next?
1. Pray – Be sure to ask for forgiveness for doubting God. Trust me, we do not impress God with our doubt. And, ask the Lord to help you with your issue of faith.
2. Create a Prayer Journal – It could be a simple notebook or something super fancy. But, you should really write down some of your prayers. Then, go back and provide detail on how God has answered some of those prayers. It is important for us to remember and acknowledge all the ways God came through for us.
3. Find Faithful Mentors - Find and confide in others, who have a higher faith level than you.
4. Commit to depend less on feeling and sight, and more on faith. – If God has given us a promise, we should be able to wait it out. If you are prone to giving up easily, when you don’t hear from God. You should challenge yourself.
5. Learn to accept that God is not going to always answer like we want. - I hear you fellow control freak. That last suggestion might send you over the edge. Because the truth is God can be silent, when we are walking through the valleys. And, you know it is hard for us control freaks to keep still and be quiet. Yet, he may want us to be quiet too.
I am asking everyday for God to increase my faith and to stop my worrying. But, I have also learned to pray against the spirit of worry and Satan’s tactics to fill my mind with worrisome thoughts. Oftentimes, I have to quote Mark 9:24 “I believe, but help my unbelief.” I am not 100% at where I want to be, but I am thankful for the continuous growth that I am seeing to release my mind from constant worrying.
Remember, we do have the power to flip the equation (Trusting God - Worry = More Peace)
P.S. Stay Tuned because there is more to come on Matthew 6 and the topic of worrying. In the meantime,
· You can read about my thoughts on Matthew 6:27 and 32 here
· If you are looking to use these scriptures as memory verses, you can download this free scripture document here.