“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Matthew 6:22-23 (NASB)
Do you see Jesus’ main point in this verse? He is saying that if our minds are wrongly focused it has an effect on our whole body. When we are focused on what our fears are and things to be anxious about our minds are focused in the wrong direction.
Worry expresses looking at life through competing eyes (vs 22-23) and reveals a divided heart, divided focus, and even divided loyalties.
If you really think about it, you will see that many of the things you worry about are revealing your idols.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 6:24 (NASB)
Money is the object lesson here, but the principle is transferable! We worship and serve that which we truly love. To be self-focused on one’s self and the pursuit of one’s idols is idolatry of the heart. Jesus is saying you cannot serve God and anything else.
So, why all this pounding on the heart and worry being idolatry? How does this help you? First, you have to begin to see what you are doing and thinking about and believing through God’s eyes. That is the perspective that counts! You and I can rationalize away our worry as emotionalism or a bad day, or a set of circumstances that would “cause anyone to worry” but it is not until we begin to see worry for what it is that we can gain an accurate perspective and find the cure!
According to a study of Matt. 6:25-34, worry is the fruit of remaining unbelief.
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, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:30 (NIV)
When you worry, you are denying God’s power, sovereignty, wisdom and love for you in your situation. Here, Jesus rebukes the worrier for being one of little faith. He reminds us that God takes care of the grass, a relatively small thing, so how can you doubt he’ll take care of you?
“Oh, but you don’t know my situation!” you may be thinking. I don’t need to know, God knows your circumstances. Consider this: is God using these circumstances to reveal to you your lack of faith?
What is “faith” anyway? There are many definitions around, but I like the one my Pastor uses: Definition of Faith- It is the knowledge of God’s character, the belief that He’s able to do all that He’s promised, and the trust to follow Him wherever He leads.
God’s desire is that your faith would grow and that you would also grow in grace. Matt. 6:25-30; 2 Pet. 3:18
You and I are not alone in this, nor are we the first people who have struggled with worry. The Old Testament narratives are a great place to find the stories of the Saints and learn that ultimately, they were just like you and I. They dealt with fear, worry and anxiety-sometimes well and other times sinfully.
Scripture teaches that their examples ought to instruct us-either to respond biblically or in a negative sense, show us where they went wrong. (Romans 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11) Next time we are going to look at a few of these OT folks, and see how we have more in common with them than we may think!