7. A New Trust In God

A central part of our new relationship with God through Jesus, is that God is our heavenly Father. (We saw this in our lesson on prayer). Since God is our Father, we can trust God with all of our life problems.

The focus verse is from Matthew 10:31:

“Fear not.”

We do not need to give in to fear and anxiety. God will take care of us.

Jesus calls us to trust God for our material needs

He talks about this in Matthew 6:25-34:

[25] “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? [26] Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? [27] And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [28] And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, [29] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [31] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ [32] For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [34] “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Jesus focuses on this issue because it causes us to be so fearful. Lets look at how this works. It starts with the fact that life isn’t easy. As Jesus says in v. 34, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” And this includes issues of providing for our material needs. So Jesus isn’t naïve in his call to give up anxiety. The problem is real.

What happens is that all this trouble creates fear in us, which is the essential problem Jesus is addressing here, especially anxiety over tomorrow – v. 34. Jesus focuses on such basics as food and clothing, but there are more things that we fret about: housing, providing for children, having enough to care for our health needs, retirement and more.

The bigger point of Matthew 6:19-34 is that given these troubles and our fears our natural response is to store up lots of resources to calm our fears. Jesus refers to this in Matthew 6:19 when he talks about laying up “treasures on earth . . ..” We want control over the future, to try to ease our fears. And the way we do this is by laying up resources for ourselves for the future – more than we need (see Luke 12:16-21).

If we don’t have enough to lay up, we are fearful. And even if we do have enough to lay up, we fear that it will be taken away somehow. So, we are fearful either way!

So what happens is that this seeking after and storing up of resources becomes the focus of our lives. Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things.” Jesus is saying that they are anxious for tomorrow and make protecting against future troubles the focus of their lives – storing up resources, or striving hard to do so.

The result is that our fear leads us to begin to trust in money to take care of us instead of God (Matthew 6:24), which is a breaking of the most important commandment – to love God alone. And it also leads us to stop being generous with others in need, since we need to cling to our resources to calm our fears (Matthew 6:19-20). This is a breaking of the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor.

In this passage Jesus calls us to give up anxiety that causes us to focus on, trust in and hoard our resources. And he calls us to a faith that frees us to focus on and trust in God, and to be generous with others.

Why should we give up our fear and trust God? 1) Because life is about more than our material needs. Jesus says in v. 25, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” In other words, even if we are ‘dirt poor,’ with only food and clothing, we still have our life and can have joy in serving God. (Remember, Jesus was ‘dirt poor’).

And also, in v. 33 Jesus teaches us that life is not about seeking after material things, but about seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. We can’t let our fear lead us to get focused on what is not important. What is important is God. And we can have God without material possessions.

2) Because our anxiety doesn’t solve anything. Jesus says in v. 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” In the parallel passage in Luke 12:26 he adds a second question, “If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” If our fear can’t add a single hour, how can it help us with providing for our material needs? Our fear and worrying about tomorrow is futile. It doesn’t actually help us.

3) Because God will provide for our needs. Jesus teaches us that God provides food to the birds, and we are more valuable than birds – v. 26. Also, God clothes the lilies, and we are more valuable than grass – vs. 28-30. As Jesus says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need” material provisions – v. 32. And so we should not be those of “little faith” – v. 30. This is how we break free from our fear, and all the problems it leads to. We break free of fear by choosing to trust in God.

The promise Jesus gives us is this: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness . . . (give yourself fully to God, focusing your life on what God wants for you) . . . and all these things (the material provisions you need) will be added to you.” – v. 33.

Jesus calls us to trust in God in difficult circumstances

He says in Luke 12:11-12:

“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The specific situation here is one of persecution for your faith. You have been brought before the authorities to give an account of why you believe in and follow Jesus.

Again, we are told “do not be anxious.” It is not because it is not a fearful situation. It is because God is there with us to help us. As the passage says, “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what to say.”

Now, certainly, if God can help us in such a difficult circumstance, God can also help us in less difficult ones. No matter where we find ourselves, in a dangerous or a difficult spot, God is with us, and God’s Spirit can help us with our need and give us the wisdom to do and say what is right.

Jesus calls us to trust God with our very lives

Jesus says in Matthew 10:29-31:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Jesus is talking about death. As he says right before our text in v. 28, “do not fear those who kill the body.” Again, the context is one of persecution, where we might be killed for our faith.

Jesus teaches us that God watches over even small animals. And not one of them dies without his knowing about it and allowing it to happen. He also tells us that God knows how many hairs are on each of our heads. God knows all about our situations; all the details. Jesus makes the point in the parallel passage in Luke 12:6 that we are not forgotten before God.

So Jesus tells us, “fear not.” God is always watching over us. God loves us and is concerned about us. And if we are walking in God’s way, we are not going to die, unless its time for us to die (even if people are trying to kill us -Luke 4:28-30). We are more valuable than sparrows, who do not die apart from the Father. We can trust God with our very lives.

William Higgins

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