“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
Matthew 6:33, The Message
Anxiety is a real problem in our world today. All of us experience anxiety, or worry, at some point in our lives. The use of the term in Matthew 6 is a combination of two terms that means, quite literally, divided mind.
To be fair, who really has the cure for anxiety? Or a divided mind?
The verses preceding this one is a systematic detailing of just what God accomplishes for birds in the air and lilies in the fields.
“Are you not worth much more than they?” Jesus asks (Mat. 6:26)
Jesus explains that God will take care of our clothes and our food whether we believe it or not, just like the lilies and the birds. Therefore, we might as well believe.
And, to be sure, when we concern ourselves with riches we divide our loyalty from the Father.
It seems silly to be concerned about clothes and food in this day and age. At least, here in America. We have closets full of clothes and pantries full of food. Some, however, do not.
We have to be cautious not to fall to the god of self sufficiency.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.”
The Kingdom of God is the reality of God’s presence in our lives and our allegiance to that presence.
I know enough to know that pain will distract us. It has me. Physical pain and emotional pain.
In his book, Prayer: Does it make any Difference?, Philip Yancey tells of a story of extreme anxiety. He was headed to the mountains to write a chapter on the very book about prayer when he encountered a stretch of the road that was in a blizzard. The road was treacherous with many cars suffering from a slippery fate. The anxiety was racing through him like “acid churning in my stomach sweat pooling on my hands.”
As his mind was racing with ideas a thought came to him.
Suddenly a thought came to me: I could pray. For the next forty-five minutes I prayed aloud for every relative and friend and missionary and prisoner and every suffering person I could think of. That very act somehow disengaged me from the anxiety. Although my foot kept touching the brake and my hands turned the steering wheel as needed, the rest of my concentration poured into my prayers. (page. 90)
He added that this is a not a good idea for a winter driving manual. Nevertheless, he engaged in the most Kingdom of God like activity he could think of and navigated the slippery situation. He added that he arrived to his destination remarkably stress free.
The best thing we can do, as Jesus tells us, when our minds are divided, full of anxiety, is to seek the presence of God, in all of its glory and live within its shelter.
Easier said than done.
I believe it is best accomplished in prayer.
Prayer is embracing the presence of God. It’s a two way street as all communication is.