Anxiety is that feeling of being paralyzed with worry of a stressful situation of misfortune. It pines away at our soul with nervousness, uneasiness, and uncertainty. Everyone most likely has experienced this. It’s a global epidemic. And we can be anxious for a number of reasons: low finances, insurance issues, an empty fridge, loss of a job etc. If there’s any common theme in causes for anxiety, it’s this: a seeming lack of provision. And if there’s any common internal theme of anxiety, it’s this: unbelief. At the core, anxiety is an expression of unbelief—unbelief that God will provide for your needs.
When we come to the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5–7), Jesus addresses anxiety and reveals its foolishness and tells us we shouldn’t be anxious. Why? Eight reasons:
1. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus says:
“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?”
Though you must eat and must be clothed—to sustain your life and have physical protection—your whole being is much more than the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Though you might have neither food nor clothes, if you are in Christ, none can take your life. Therefore, don’t be anxious.
If you trust in Christ, your life hidden in Christ (Col 3:3) and he is your life (Gal 2:20). And so, to die is gain (Phil 1:21) because you get Christ (1:23). Don’t fear the loss of food or clothing when you can lose both body and soul to the fire. In other words, there is much more to fear, namely, death, but Christ has already defeated death (1 Cor 15:55–57; 2 Tim 1:10) for those who love and trust him.
In short: Do not be anxious because life is much more than food and clothing, and the only thing that really can destroy you has been destroyed by Christ.
2. You’re worth more than birds—and God feeds them.
In Matthew 6:26, Jesus says:
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
The argument is simple. If God feeds birds who are clearly less valuable than man—who is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26)—if he cares and feeds for lowly birds, he will certainly care for those who are created in God’s own image. God feeds birds. He will surely give you what you need, and sometimes that might look different than how you imagine it, but it’s still provision from an all-wise God.
In short: Do not be anxious because if God feeds birds, he will feed you.
3. Anxiety does no good.
In Matthew 6:27, Jesus says:
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
In other words, anxiety does nothing beneficial for you. It keeps you awake, eating the bread of anxious toil. It’s laborious and tiresome. It destroys your energy and keeps you from doing good. In fact, it accomplishes nothing—it adds nothing to your life. It doesn’t do anything positive for you. You get nothing from it.
In short: Anxiety does no good for you. So don’t be anxious.
4. Grass lasts for a short time—and God clothes it.
In Matthew 6:28–30, Jesus says:
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
The argument here is similar to that of the birds. God clothes the grass—that simple, bland plant—of the field. If he clothes the most basic plant, he’ll surely clothe you. So don’t be anxious. But the argument goes further.
Grass withers and dies. It’s alive one day and then it’s dead and is thrown into a furnace the next. But you have an eternal outcome. If he clothes that which lasts for a day or so, would he not clothe you?
In short: Don’t be anxious because God clothes the grass, he will certainly clothe you.
5. Anxiety is unlike those of Christ’s Kingdom—that is, it’s worldly.
In Matthew 6:31–32a, Jesus says:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things.”
In other words, all those daily needs—food, drink, clothing—are those things that the Gentiles (or outsiders) worry about. Don’t be like them because you know God. Anxiety makes you look like you don’t know God. Anxiety is an expression of unbelief in God’s provision.
In short: Do not be anxious because it makes you look like one who doesn’t know God.
6. Your heavenly Father knows.
In Matthew 6:32b, Jesus says:
“Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
There are multiple things to be said here on why not to be anxious. (1) God is a Father to you. Jesus, here, says “Father” instead of “God.” This clearly has overtones of provisional care. A Father gives to his children, he provides for them, and he will provide for you, so don’t be anxious.
(2) Your Father is your heavenly Father. He oversees all things, and all things are under his control. If he is sovereign and upholds everything, he certainly has the power to provide for you, so don’t be anxious.
(3) Finally, Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Food, drink, clothing—those are things your Father knows you need them. And he will provide in ways that may not be fitting our ways, but he provides exactly what we need.
In short: Don’t be anxious because you have a heavenly Father who knows your needs.
7. Seek the Kingdom, and God will give you these things.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
There will be persecution, tribulation, affliction, and suffering for Christians. Be sure of it. Suffering is an essential aspect of the Christian life. Nevertheless, God will supply your needs (Phil 4:19), even in the suffering, and furthermore, in eternity. But there’s a specific provision here, namely, God will provide for you exactly what you need to do his will.
In short: Don’t be anxious because God will provide exactly what you need to do his will.
8. Each day has its own troubles.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Jesus, here, appeals to common sense. There’s so much going on each day, you have so much already to pay attention to, so why be worried about things that may not even happen? Worry about future misfortunes is nonsensical because you have enough things to occupy your mind even today, and if there is trouble tomorrow, God is sufficient to meet today’s trouble and those future needs just as we have already seen, so don’t be anxious.
In short: Don’t be anxious because you already have things to occupy yourself with today, and if today’s troubles are met with God’s grace, he will meet those in the future too.
Don’t Worry, God Is for You in Christ
Anxiety is ultimately an expression of unbelief—it’s worldly and makes us no different than those who don’t believe. Anxiety is purely nonsensical if you trust Christ. Why? because if you’re in Christ, you have no reason to worry. You have a heavenly Father who cares for you upon whom you can cast all your anxieties (1 Pet 5:7), and who has not spared his Son, but has given him up for you, therefore, in Christ, how will he not also give you all things (Rom 8:32)? Furthermore, the only real enemy has been defeated by Christ—you have no reason to worry. Don’t be anxious, be at peace. God in Christ is for you. And Christians therefore have the greatest reason in the world not to be anxious. Indeed, Christians are those who can be the happiest in the world. Don’t be anxious, God is for you in Christ.