One-a-Day...for the Heart: Take No Thought
The words of Jesus: "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (Matthew 6:25-30).
Jesus did not worry. He knew His place in the Father’s Kingdom was secure. His mission of bringing salvation to all mankind would be accomplished. Trouble and sorrow would cloud His life here on earth; opposition and persecution were givens. But He did not worry about everyday life. How to obtain food, clothing, shelter, and protection did not frighten or gnaw away at Him. He simply rested in the Father’s love and care, knowing that no matter what circumstance befell Him, Father God was with Him.
Every day we have needs that must be addressed: food, clothing, housing, transportation, medical concerns, financial obligations, and so on. The King James Version of this passage of scripture says, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25 KJV). “Take no thought” comes from the Greek mee merimnate which means be not solicitous, or apprehensive; have no anxious concern for what we shall eat or drink, nor anxious concern for our bodies as to how we will clothe them (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).
Jesus said, in Matthew 6:26, Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? When was the last time you saw a starving bird? The only example I can think of is the distressing result of oil spills that have caused animals and fowl to die in recent times. I love to feed birds, but when the birdseed runs out, they always seem to find a good supply of food elsewhere in the woods. The Father sees to that, Jesus said.
There are two kinds of thoughts forbidden in Matthew 6:25. Matthew Henry notes that they are “1. A disquieting, tormenting thought, which hurries the mind hither and thither, and hangs it in suspense; which disturbs our joy in God, and is a damp upon our hope in him; which breaks the sleep, and hinders our enjoyment of ourselves, of our friends, and of what God has given us. 2. A distrustful, unbelieving thought.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary).
A quick check of our thought life, then, could be as follows:
What thoughts disquiet my mind?
Am I entertaining thoughts that torment me?
Are anxious thoughts running wild in my mind and driving me to fear and apprehension?
Are disturbing, troubling thoughts stealing the joy of the Lord from me?
Is my hope in God’s faithfulness fading because of negative thoughts?
Are my anxious thoughts keeping me awake at night?
What about thoughts of distrust and unbelief in God’s ability to provide?
What are we to do with these tormenting, disturbing, anxious, disquieting thoughts?
2 Corinthians 10:5 reads, we are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can retrain our mind and learn to make destructive thoughts be as captives, forbidden to trouble us anymore. This is not a mind-over-matter, power-of-positive thinking approach. We simply become aware of our thoughts, weed out the harmful ones by refusing to entertain them and turn them over to the Lord, to imprison them. In so doing, we are putting our faith in Him, not ourselves, to help us with our thought life. The Holy Spirit will empower us to gain control over our thoughts. That is a great display of our faith in God!
It’s interesting that as Jesus confronted the issue of worry and “taking no thought” for our food and provision, etc., He ended with the question, “Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). Even the carefree “faith” of a little bird was apparently significant to the Lord! Let’s start with that, as we start tackling troubling thoughts and putting them in jail, never to be released again. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
© 2021, Chris Werre