One of the Bible’s premier passages on the subject of worry is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in the last half of Matthew 6. If you’re looking for a sermon or lesson outline, or if you want some notes for personal study, here is my analysis of this text. My entire sermon is here.
1. Worry Indicates a Defective Value System (Matthew 6:19-25)
Worry indicates we may be suffering from a false set of values, that we’re more preoccupied with our temporary problems than we are with God’s eternal promises; or even more serious: that we’re more concerned about our money than we are about our Master. A person’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Anxiety indicates that we are letting our temporary problems become more real to us than our eternal blessings.
2. Worry Indicates a Defective Self Image (Matthew 6:26)
It’s a signal that we are underestimating how valuable we are to God. Matthew 6:26 says: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? We are more valuable to God than anything else He has made. If we’re that valuable to Him, we can rest assured He cares for us.
3. Worry Indicates a Defective Way of Thinking (Matthew 6:27)
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. Some translations say, “Which of you by worrying can add a single inch to his height?” The original is: Which of you can add any length to himself or herself? The Greek word might be translated as “cubit” or as “hour.” Jesus was saying: Which of you by worrying can add any length to himself – length to his lifespan or length to his height. We can worry all we want to, but anxiety doesn’t do any good. It’s a waste of mental energy. It doesn’t add one hour to our lives or one cubit to our height. It’s a defective way of thinking.
4. Worry Indicates a Defective Trust in God (Matthew 6:28-30)
Faith is the ability to maintain inner calmness and strength by trusting in the promises of God amid the problems of life. Jesus illustrates this with the flowers. If God cares for the flowers of the field, will He not much more care for us? Therefore we shouldn’t be of little faith but of great confidence.
5. Worry Indicates a Defective Purpose in Life (Matthew 6:31-33)
If we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, everything else will take care of itself. In other words, if we take care of the things that are important to God, He will take care of the things that are important to us.
6. Anxiety Indicates a Defective View of Tomorrow (Matthew 6:34)
Here Jesus specifically tells us here to deal with today’s issues and don’t worry about tomorrow’s. Many years ago, Dale Carnegie in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, called this living in day-tight compartments. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t prepare for tomorrow. But it does mean that the best way of preparing for tomorrow is by handling today’s work with enthusiasm, wisdom, faith, and obedience.
Conclusion: Worry indicates a defective value system, a defective self-image, a defective way of thinking, a defective trust in God, a defective purpose in life, and a defective view of tomorrow. We’re all prone to worry about ALL THESE THINGS. But the Bible says:
Your Heavenly Father knows that you need ALL THESE THINGS. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS will be given to you as well.
And ALL THESE THINGS will work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His righteousness.