Do Not Be Anxious part 2: Your Life Is More Than Food

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)

As we have seen, anxiety is fundamentally a god problem. It should be no surprise then that the strategy Jesus uses for fighting anxiety follows the same lines. Money must be dethroned with God re-established as master. For that Jesus makes arguments, appeals and exhortations centred on the nature, character, actions and promises of God.

My assumption as a Bible believing Christian is that Jesus, the Son of God through whom all things were created (Colossian 1:16), knows what He is doing. He knows our hearts and He knows how to help. We should be careful to listen to Him and apply His strategy.

Before we look at the particular arguments Jesus makes, we can learn something from the length of this section of teaching on anxiety. Jesus makes eight arguments over the span of ten verses to help us not be anxious about our lives. This indicates we have a fight on our hands; the fight of faith. Jesus considers it necessary to hammer our hard hearts again and again and again with powerful truths about God. We need to do the same. If you are struggling with anxiety, preach these things to yourself, and don’t stop until they penetrate your heart, shape your thinking and redirect your trust.

Jesus begins with an argument from the greater to the lesser.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Jesus is asking us a question here. Which is greater, Life or food, the body or clothing? The question answers itself. Yes, of course life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. What is His point?

God, not money (nor any other god imposter), gave you your body and your life. He alone is Creator. And if God has given you the greater things, how much more is He able to give you the lesser things? Trust Him.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written,
every one of them, the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
(Psalm 139:13-16)

Jesus' question, and the fact that our lives and bodies were created by God, raises a second complementary point. Our God given life has a greater purpose than eating. Life is more than food. It is not an endless hunt for the next meal. Food is not the end to which life ought to be aimed. But anxiety about life causes us to live that upside down way. Our focus becomes redirected to the lesser things. God's kingdom purposes are forsaken for food. Jesus will expand on this point further in verses 31-33. For now, take a moment to ponder your life in this regard. To what degree has the pursuit of God's kingdom purposes been supplanted by the pursuit of basic physical necessities?

Underlying the anxiety and the misguided living that goes with it is trust in the creature (money, self etc.) rather than the Creator. The turn around will come when God regains our reliance. And there is probably no better place to start than to meditate on God's wonderful work of creation. Read carefully over Psalm 139 again. Think about the competency, care and concern God showed in forming you. Did all of that cease with your birth? If He has given you your life and your body, how much more will He give you the food and clothing that your body needs? Trust Him.

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