33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33–34, NKJV)
Jesus said we must make the rule and reign of God and His righteousness the priority of our lives instead of the things of this world (Matthew 6:24-32). Daily priorities not only set what we pursue each day, but also what we pursue our entire life. Priorities of the day turn into months, then months into years until finally, life ends. We are tempted to set a lifetime goal of making God our top priority, yet fail to genuinely make Him and His will our daily priority. It is far easier to say Christ is our lifelong priority than to live that priority day by day (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21). How can we tell when we have fallen into this deception? By honestly assessing whether we are so worried and anxiously distracted by the troubles of each day that God’s rule and righteousness are pushed to the side (v. 34; Acts 24:25). When daily concerns are our most urgent priority, they distract us and deter us from walking by faith. When that happens, God is not our priority. We are serving another master instead of the One who provides our daily bread and saves us eternally. Strengthen your faith and trust God every day, so that as your days turn into months and month into years, when death comes you will have eternal rest.
He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. (Proverbs 17:27, NKJV)
Hearts are disquieted by uncertainty and doubt. When His apostles’ hearts were troubled, Jesus calmed them with assuring words of truth that shored up their faith (John 14:1-11). Understanding God’s word is a divinely-given resource to combat the anxious mind. Faith in Christ and His word leads us to a place of contentment, reassurance and hope in the face of life’s storms. On the other hand, multiplying our own words without knowledge feeds pride but fails to soothe the soul (Job 35:9-16; 38:2). Our spirit is calmed when our faith is informed by God’s word. Whatever uncertainty you face, seek God’s answers in the Bible. Understanding God’s word can calm your spirit as you put your trust in what He says. If your spirit is troubled, spend time with God’s word and gain understanding.
31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31–34, NKJV)
What is the primary aim of your life? What, more than anything else, drives you, motivates you, compels you to action? Unbelievers crave (“seek”) material things that satisfy their momentary desires. Disciples of Jesus hunger for the rule and reign of God in their lives. Our priority is to be upright before God and men in word and deed. We trust our heavenly Father to supply our daily material needs. So, we strive not to “worry” about (be distracted by) things beyond our power and control. We meet our daily responsibilities and challenges with faith in God. So, again we ask, what is most important to you? Are you really living for heaven, or for this earth? Your daily decisions, words and deeds show your true answer. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)
These are the promises made to those in Christ who have learned not to go beyond the providential Hand of the Lord. Jesus never said that we should not be concerned for the things of this world, but rather that we should not let them distract us from the promises and blessings found in the security we feel in our prayers. Those Christians who let the devil distract them to the point of forgetting to pray, have left their own hearts unguarded and opened their minds to greater problems than they could ever handle on their own. Let us be secure in our own minds, and our hearts will be guarded by the trust we have in the power of our prayers to God. “In God We Trust” should be more than a slogan on a monetary piece of paper or metal coin. (Dennis Scroggins, Bible Thoughts for Today)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:4–6, NASB95)
Christians have the ability to live in joyful gladness under the most stressful situations. The character of gentle forbearance couples with remembering the Lord’s approaching judgment to form two reasons we live in joy instead of anxiety. The third strand of the three-fold cord of joy is prayer. The thankful requests of prayer strengthen our resolve to rejoice in the Lord because we know God hears and answers us. With a gentle spirit, generous prayers and respect for the Lord’s presence and power to judge, Christians refuse to abandon joy for anxiety, especially in the face of temporary trials. Though Paul was imprisoned in Rome for his faith, he set this example of always rejoicing in the Lord. Today, remember Christ rules from heaven and sees all things. Keep a gentle spirit toward others as you petition God with thanksgiving for His great and constant care. By doing so you can, and will, “rejoice in the Lord always”.