On our last Thursday of the semester, we welcomed Adam Tarnow. Adam talked about anxiety and what the bible tells us to do when we feel this anxiety. We are always going to be placed in situations where we can be anxious about something, but it is what we do in these situations that determine if we feel anxious or not.
In order to understand what the bible says about worrying and anxiety, we looked at Matthew 6:25-34. As we look closer into this passage, we can take away 3 things:
1. Worrying is a waste of time.
Matthew 6:25-27 states, “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? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Worrying is like going on a run around campus, but instead of actually running around campus, you decide to go to the gym and run on the treadmill. You put forth the same effort on the treadmill that you would running around campus, yet you don’t go anywhere on the treadmill. This is a prime example of worrying because we put forth all this effort into thinking about it, but worrying about it in our minds won’t actually fix anything. In fact, we typically find ourselves worrying about the future, typically a part of our life that we don’t want to be changed. When we are focused on worrying, we are changing the way we act today, not how the future is going to end up. Therefore, since we cannot change any of it, it just wastes our time and causes us to be absent in our daily lives.
2. God knows you, knows what you need, and knows what to do
Matthew 6:28-32 states, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
God created each and everyone of us individually, and knows everything about us from our summer plans to calls with family members. He knows all of these small details, yet when we start to worry or get anxious, we are telling him that we don’t trust him. We assume that we are in control of our lives and can do things better than he can. We say that God will get things wrong in the future, which is why we are worrying so much. Yet we also worry because when we look at situations we realize we have no idea what to do because we don’t trust ourselves to handle it on our own. Therefore, we need to stop doubting God and trust that he knows what’s best for us by giving him complete control.
3. Fight worry by getting to know God
Matthew 6:33-34 states, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We don’t need to be a victim of worry and anxiety, yet we don’t have the strength to overcome it when it does overcome us. Therefore, we shouldn’t resist anxiety, but refocus the root of where our anxiety comes from and give that up to the Lord. We are present with two options, either focus on the unknown of the future and things we don’t have control over or we can follow Jesus and have complete faith that he will take care of our future.
So at the end of all this, Adam tells us not to resist anxiety or worry, but to refocus the attention on the heart of God and that getting to know the Lord and becoming dependent on him will ease this anxiety and stress.