Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You Don’t Have to Take It

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(Matthew 6:31)

The New King James Version reads, “Therefore do not worry, saying …”
Many people worry all the time. Some worry about implausible things, things that are not very likely to happen, but somehow grip the mind and fill the heart with fear anyway. Others worry over “sensible things,” like the basic necessities:
  • How shall we pay the rent?
  • How shall we buy our food?
  • What will we do for clothes?
  • How shall we get to where we need to go?
  • What will we do for money?
  • How shall we pay the doctor bills?
  • How will we ever get out of debt?
These are the people Jesus is addressing, and He tells them, “Take no thought.” This reveals something very important about how we get into the place of worry. We have generally been conditioned by the world to think that we have to take whatever thought comes into our head and accept it as our own. We do not. We are perfectly free to choose the thoughts we will accept and which ones we will reject. Jesus shows us that there are some thoughts that do not belong to us and we don’t need to accept them.

Notice another thing Jesus teaches us about worry — how we activate it. Once we have taken the worry thought, we usually then give voice to it by our words. But Jesus said, “Take no thought, saying.” What we say is very important because our words cause things to happen.

Words are very powerful. In the beginning, when darkness was on the face of the deep, God spoke a word, “Light, be,” and there was light. He did not worry over the darkness and start talking about how terrible it was. He simply spoke the answer. We are created in the image of God, we have the breath of God in us, and we have been given the mandate (authority and responsibility) to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it. We do this in the same way God did — by words. (See Having Dominion)

When we take thoughts of worry and then begin speaking them, we are calling for the very things we dread. We are giving place to them in our lives by our words. Jesus says don’t do that.

Look in the next verse: “ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32).

Here is another reason why we get into worry: We think that it is our job to seek after the necessity of our lives. That’s the way the world thinks, and that’s the way the way the world has taught us.

Pagans (that is what the word “Gentiles” actually refers to) have no covenant with God, and so they think their provision is all up to them. But if you know the Lord Jesus Christ, you have a covenant with God. You have a heavenly Father who already knows your need. You don’t have to take thought about it because Father God has already considered it and made all the provision you’ll ever need.

Instead of getting into worry and fear, we can start taking different thoughts, speaking different words and seeking after something the world does not even know to seek after.

1. Take God’s thoughts.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). That does not mean you cannot know the thoughts of God. He sent His Word precisely so you could know His thoughts and think them with Him. Your mind was made to think His thoughts. (See Created to Know and Speak the Mind of God)

So when the world tries to plant thoughts of worry, you do not have to take them. You can take the thoughts of God instead. His Word has a promise for every need and circumstance of your life. Start finding those promises and thinking them with God.

2. Speak God’s words.
Jesus said, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23). Just as worry is activated by what you say, so it is with faith. The words of Jesus are pretty straightforward: Believe in your heart, say with your mouth, and receive what you say.

Now, God always knows what to say in any given situation. So find out what He says, then start saying it with Him. That is how Jesus operated. “I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him … I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:26, 28). If that was His modus operandi, shouldn’t it be yours also? Your mouth was made to speak the Word of God.

3. Seek God’s Kingdom.
The world seeks after the necessities of life and gets stressed out over it. That is completely upside down, for Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The way to get your needs met is not by seeking what you need. The way to get your needs met is to seek God’s kingdom, for that is where every provision has already been made for you.

The kingdom of God is His rule and reign. His righteousness is His rightness — His way of doing and being right. Your heart was made to seek His heart and walk in His ways.

The world teaches you to take thought for your needs, which leads to anxiety and stress. But you have a choice. You can think God’s thoughts, speak Gods words and seek God’s kingdom. When you do, you will find that they are more than enough to take care of everything you’ll ever need.

(See also How to Not Worry)