Paul wrote the prescription for anxiety in plain language: "Be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6). Notice that's in the form of a command. Doesn't that sound absurd in the face of your worries? How unrealistic and naïve could this guy be?
But Jesus said something just like it: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on" (Matthew 6:25). Maybe you're wondering how it's even possible to stop worrying. How do you stop fretting over the things that stress you out? Anxiety often feels all-consuming, like there's nothing else in the world besides you and your worries. But you are more than the things you worry about, and, as Jesus explained, God is very much aware of what you need.
God takes care of birds and flowers, providing all they need. Yes, their needs are simpler than yours, but God also loves you much more than anything else in His creation. That's why Jesus said, "Will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30). Now, He wasn't saying to kick back and be lazy. He wasn't telling people, "Just chill—it'll all work out somehow." Even birds still have to do some work.
But have you ever seen a bird pacing along a branch, his head in his wings, wondering how he's going to pay the rent on his nest? Jesus was saying, "Don't you see that God is so much bigger than your problems? Don't let life's hardships rent space in your mind, where they can transform from ordinary life stress to the anxiety that God is going to let you starve or run around naked."
Consider the three reasons Jesus said we shouldn't give anxiety a foothold in our minds:
1. Anxiety is unhealthy. Experts have warned us for years about the negative physiological consequences of anxiety. Think of all the times you or someone you know has suffered physically under the cruel whip of a fearful, fretful, or restless mind. When anxiety dominates your mindset, it will eventually deteriorate your physical well-being.
2. Anxiety is unbecoming. To constantly be in a state of worry is to say that you don't trust the Lord to take care of you. But if you're a Christian, you have a personal relationship with God as your Father. He promised to take care of you, and He will not fail you. Worrying simply isn't fitting for a child of God.
3. Anxiety is unproductive. What good has worrying ever done you? You can't change a thing with worry. Jesus poked gentle fun at habitual worriers by asking, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6:27). Other translations ask if worry can add "a single hour" (ESV) or even "a single moment" (NLT) to your life. Worry is like a rocking chair: it moves you around a lot but doesn't take you anywhere.
In Jesus Christ, God has given you what you need to overcome anxiety. So don't be anxious for anything. That's God's prescription for your anxiety. Next time we'll see how to put that prescription into practical action.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 ESV