Yes, last post I wrote that worrying was for the birds, but as I continue to reflect upon the teaching of Matthew – and all the Scriptures, I realize there is something that you should worry about.
Your focus. That you have it wrong. Your thinking. That it’s misguided.
Admittedly, my own focus and my own thinking may have been off, too. While I wrote that worrying was for the birds, was I making too light of it? When we look at the teaching of Matthew 6, we are told several times not to worry. Specifically, in Matthew 6:25 (CEB) we read, “I say to you, don’t worry about your life…” Verse 28 asks, “Why do you worry about clothes?” and verse 31 says, “Don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?” And if we missed or misunderstood any of those, verse 34 makes it crystal clear, “Stop worrying about tomorrow.”
Whether you read the Common English, New International, King James or some other translation, the teaching is the same. Whether your Bible tells you not to worry, not to take thought or not to be anxious, the command is the same. No translation offers suggestions; they all offer edicts. Directives. Decrees. Commandments. And this is where and how we get off base with our thinking and our focus.
Let me be clear. Worrying is not just problematic. Worrying is wrong. Worrying is a sin. At the risk of offending some readers, I will be bold. Worrying is a sin just like stealing, killing and adultery. OMG you say. But if we disobey God’s word, we sin. Hmm, you wonder. Don’t just take my word, let’s consider examples. Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:2-3). Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:7 and Luke 17:32). Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25-33). Jonah (Jonah 1:1-3). While you are reading, read 1 John 2:3-6 which cautions us, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Can it be any clearer? If we do not keep the commandments of God – not just the ten, but all the commandments of His word, we sin.
And worrying is not somehow a little or a lesser sin. That’s more of our “misthinking.” Adultery is a BIG sin. Stealing is a BIG sin. Murder is a BIG sin. Worrying is a little sin. A cute sin. A “I can’t help myself, and anyway we all do it” sin. As my pastor says, we think people go to hell for the BIG sins and, perhaps, to an air conditioned hell for the little sins. No. Sin is sin. If you’re thinking otherwise, I caution you; your thinking is misguided.
Matthew 6:33 (CEB) tells us that we should “desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.” In other words, our focus should be God, His kingdom and His righteousness rather than worrying about our lives, our clothes, what we will eat or drink or about tomorrow. Further, Matthew teaches, when God is first, all those things will be ours, too!
THIS WEEK reassess your thinking and your focus. What are you choosing to worry about? Understand that worry steals your strength and buries your blessings. Search the Scriptures for examples of those who worried and disobeyed God and those who cast their cares upon Him. Decide which group you want to be associated with.