When desire and fear come into conflict, our natural tendency is to prioritise the response to fear. Unless we consciously recognize and resist this response, the enemy can use our fear of poverty to guide our lives.
Why you must not be anxious – the reason might surprise youSometimes the headings and the way verses are broken up causes us to lose the line of thought in the Bible. I’ll use that as my excuse for never having noticed this before:
Mat 6:24 (ESV) You cannot serve God and money.
Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, 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.
The “Do not be anxious” before verse 25 is a heading, and then it starts talking about not being anxious about what we will eat and drink, the grass and the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, and how God takes care of all of those.
The heading “Do not be anxious,” makes us not really take note of the first “therefore” in verse 25. “Therefore” means that what is about to come, is because of something that has just been said. What has just been said here, is that you cannot serve God and money. The “Do Not be Anxious” is just a heading. It’s not part of the original text.
Take the headings and verse numbers away, and it looks like this:
You cannot serve God and money. Therefore, I tell you, 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.
The “therefore” implies a direct cause and effect here.
Another way to write this, which is a bit more the way we would speak today, is something along these lines:
Don’t worry about the stuff you need, like food and clothing, because you cannot serve God and money.
The impossibility of serving God and money is the REASON why you must not worry about stuff for which you think you need money. God knows you need these. You cannot serve Him and money at the same time. He knows that. He just told you that He knows that it’s impossible for you to serve both.
Not worrying is not optionalSo this wasn’t really like a word of encouragement, like you say to someone before a test, “Don’t worry, you’ve studied hard and things will be OK.”
This seems to me to be more of a warning, maybe even a strict instruction.
DO NOT WORRY.
Why is it so important not to worry?
Worry is a form of fear. The moment you begin , you will begin to serve the source of your fear. If you are worried about money, and the demand of your job comes in conflict with the demand of serving God, then you will find it difficult to make the choice and do the Godly thing. The more you worry, the more difficult it becomes. If you worry enough, you will end up making the wrong decision.
God knows this.
So He gives us an instruction to protect us against it.
The command is: Do not be anxious. Don’t worry.
He then continues to give us a serious of thoughts to focus on, instead of the worry – namely to look around us at how God is providing for nature – and filling our hearts and minds with the abundance we see there.
If you are prone to worry, memorise this whole piece of scripture, and let God free you to serve Him alone.
My name is Ashton Fourie.