DO NOT BE ANXIOUS
by Becky Cooke
Prior to our passage, Jesus makes the pronouncement that “a man’s real life in no way depends upon the number of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). He then gives this caution to His disciples, “Do not be anxious for your life….” (v.22)
Today, worry is engulfing both young and old alike. When Luke selects the word “anxious” (merimnao), meaning “to worry or to be troubled with cares,” he leaves no doubt we all engage in this ungodly practice.
The amount of information in both Old and New Testaments highlights the seriousness of this subject. Philippians 4:6-7 straight out commands us to: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Fortunately, in his devotional, Psalm 94:19, David offers this comfort to those of us who often fail to keep this command, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and peace.”
A. W. Tozer suggests “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us … and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”(1)
Is God Almighty real?
· Do we understand who God is, how He does things, what He cares about?
· Do we believe and practice that He is sovereign? Keeper of His promises?
· Do we believe and live like He loves us and sees us righteous without sin?
It’s so easy to redefine God by what we want Him to be, do, or provide. If He doesn’t fall in step with our paradigm of Him, worry creeps into our thoughts and emotions. Soon the lies of the enemy take over: “See, God really doesn’t care about you. He’s too busy to bother with your concerns. Can you really trust Him?”
Luke provides a path to truth and tranquility. Jesus, in verse 23, reminds His disciples that their lives are more than food. By highlighting His care of nature – birds, flowers, grass – He reminds us how much more valuable we are than any of these; and if He provides for their every need, won’t He do the same for us? In fact, the “Father has chosen gladly to give us the kingdom” (v.32)! He’s calling us to reorient our focus/trust (v.34) to see Him accurately. Kenneth Bailey says, “The way we live influences how we see God,”(2) and it will also evidence where our treasure is (v.34).
Be anxious for nothing and untangled to walk in the light. Don’t be bound by worry; but free to live unfettered lives, cocooned in His care.
Thank you, Father, for your immense love for us. Forgive us for bringing sorrow to You by not receiving what You offer us, instead wanting to do it our way. Come Holy Spirit, give us heavenly glasses to reorient our focus to see Jesus accurately and to live in peace and joy so we are free to enjoy You forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1. A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (NY: Harper Collins, 1978) 1.
2. Kenneth Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2008), 406.
Becky Cooke, a retired educational consultant, currently serves with The Falls Church Anglican’s intercessory prayer ministry and Anglicans for Life. Studying God’s Word to know Jesus more intimately is her delight (2 Timothy 2:15).