Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why Worry Despises God:

Matthew 6:24-27

   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.
Do Not Worry
    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

I've read this passage on worry many times in my life.  Matthew 6 has become one of those "go-to" chapters for me when I feel that my emotions have gotten the best of me.  It's as though these verses have been medicine to my soul, reminding me that God is bigger than all of my problems, that He knows my needs, and that He will take care of me.

But this passage took on a more serious tone as I was reading it the other day.  I noticed something that I had always skimmed through before: the context.  

A rule of thumb when studying the bible in context is to always be aware of verses that start out with the word "Therefore".  The word therefore always signals that you need to take a deeper look into what you are reading.  It signals that this verse cannot be taken alone, but must be looked at in consideration with the verses that came before it.

I've always known this, but for the first time- the context of this passage helped me look at the meaning of worry in a whole new way.

Right before Jesus begins his talk about worry, He is reminding us of our tendency to have a fragmented heart.  He explains as followers of Jesus we can not be double-minded, loving God- but also loving something else, in this case- money.  

I don't necessarily consider myself an idolater.  I don't see myself as a person who serves two Gods.  Whenever I read those verses about worshiping God or worshiping money, I always supposed I was choosing God....undoubtedly so.  

Jesus boldly proclaims that you cannot serve both God and money.  He explains that if you serve will hate the other.   Those are some serious words.

But here's what got me.  Right after making this declaration He goes on to say:

Therefore, [aka with what I just said in mind] do not worry about your life.

Essentially, what Jesus is saying is that by worrying about our life- we have chosen to serve that master of money rather than God.  By worrying, we have allowed the idol of material things to take root in our hearts and become the very thing to which we are pledging our allegiance.  By worrying, we have in essence said that we are devoted to the things of this world...and not to our God.  

We need to take a serious look at the dangers of worry.  We need to begin to see it as the pedestal that allows the material to take the place of the supernatural.  The seed that allows the sin of idolatry to take root in our hearts.  The god that divides our hearts and minds and fools us into believing that this life here on earth is our final home.  

May we say no to the idol of worry


  1. Debbie,
    Material things and money is what pays the bill and allows us to live in a manner we see fit in this life. I am not saying that one should be obsessive about it but it is easy to dismiss when we have food in our bellies, and shelter for our children and ourselves.
    I don't think God want people to suffer and I fear if one does not put some worries into the matter one will not strive to provide.
    Beautiful Post

  2. Jessica, this verse keeps popping up in my God trying to tell me something about worrying?

  3. Jessica,

    I like your thoughts! I do an extent. There is a difference between "worrying" which is always harmful to us- emotionally AND physically...and "concern" or "caring". I think we need to care about our lives- do our best to make a living and provide for our families, but the moment we have entered into worry we are in a negative place. God wants us to trust Him! Not meaning we sit back, relax, and don't do a thing...just meaning we do our part, and trust Him to do His...

    And He certainly always comes through- not always how we expect Him to....but He always does. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!!!

  4. such thing as coincidences ;)

  5. We can as humans do what we have to do to provide food and shelter for our kids...but what happens when you're on the edge and you can see no food on the table and the shelter being torn from you.. I know those verses in the bible.. I too have read them many times before and after..but I can say I still worry because ...I can still see no food on the table and the shelter being removed....UUUUGGGGHHHH this is such a struggle ....Thank you Debbie...As always...XOXOXO

  6. I love your blog! It's beautiful. I found it from reading your article on Relevant. This post attracted me right away because I struggle with an anxiety disorder. I am a very calm person, but I will randomly get anxious in certain situations and then have panic attacks. It's gotten better now but in the past, it's gotten so bad that I was afraid to leave my out b/c I was worried I'd have another panic attack. I, too, read over this verse a lot, especially when my anxiety flares up again. It has taught me to trust, something that is really hard for me. I love how you talk about serving two masters. It's so true. You can't worry and be trusting in God at the same time. It's impossible.

    I keep a list in the back of my Bible of all the times that God says either "Do not fear," "Have no fear," or "Do not worry." So far it's a page long and it keeps on growing. I guess I could biblegateway the passage but I like coming on the verses by myself. God knows that were are apt to worry and fear. It's funny how many times we need to be reminded to trust Him.

    Thanks Debbie! I'm excited to follow your blog. And your article on Relevant was beautiful :)

  7. Bongo, you are is hard to trust when you cannot SEE. Seems like He won't come through. We're used to Seeing to believe. Jesus says blessed are those who do not see and still believe. I think it's easy for those who can see to believe...but it's people like you who will have the greatest reward, because you don't see....yet your faith stands. Thanks for your thoughts as always.

  8. Al, thanks for your kind words about my article!

    I appreciate you taking the time to look me up and follow along. You are right, anxiety is a difficult struggle. I know that as a therapist with the many clients I see struggling with anxiety, but I have also been through it myself.

    I love your ideas about surrounding yourself with what God says about anxiety. It's smart to allow those things to permeate your mind, because anxiety starts in the mind whether we recognize that or not.

    Thank you for your thoughts and for being so open and honest, that always takes courage. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say!!


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