“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV, Matthew 6:25-34).
Birds and flowers—the lovely subjects that Jesus used to illustrate the difference between Kingdom thinking and earth thinking.
Widely accepted is the notion that it is responsible to worry. If you care or are responsible, then it’s expressed through worry. These patterns of thought are received and learned in the nuclear family. This is so deeply entrenched in earthly thinking that Jesus addressed it over two thousand years ago, and we still have to address this in each generation.
He met that deeply held thought pattern and called the people then, and us now, to come up to higher ground—Kingdom thinking.
What really struck me is that this is described in three different ways. In the NIV, Jesus said, “do not worry about your life.” In the NASB, he said, “do not be anxious.” Further, in the KJV, it’s translated that Jesus said, “take therefore no thought [about your life].” The KJV phrase here “take” and “thought” are the same word (merimnao, Strong’s G3309). The word merimnao means “anxious” and “troubled with cares,” and is stated two times in emphasis in this one sentence (Blueletterbible.org).
Earth thinking does consist in abundance of worry, anxiety, and taking anxious care for necessities and the stuff of life.
The Lord has worked on me in all three categories—and I’d like to share with you some of the differences in these various earth thought patterns.
Webster’s and Worry
Worry leans more toward assaulting thoughts while anxiety afflicts the emotions.
Notice what Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary says about worry, “choke, strangle; harass by tearing, biting or snapping esp. at the throat; to shake or pull at with the teeth; to touch or disturb something repeatedly; to change the position or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling; to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment; to torment.”
Dear friends, these are all marks of horrible self-treatment and the Father’s ancient enemy—extremely well-defined tactics in the dictionary.
Stuck On Repeat
What I’ve discovered about worry as a thought pattern is that a real concern pops up in the mind. That could be your own concern, or one that was foisted upon you from outside sources. There seems to be no way to resolve it well. It then goes on repeat in your mind and gets worse in the various scenarios, stealing your energy and peace. For instance, the thought of upcoming bills, or fierce competition with the threat to take your place or threaten your boundaries at work, school, family or friends, a distressing health situation, etc., can present itself in your mind and it begins “working you over” in your thoughts.
Looking at the Future through the Past
Many times, worry presents itself as we consider the way things were in the past, and consider it will be like that—or much worse—in the future.
Jesus addressed that when He said this, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (NIV, Matthew 6:34).
Have you heard the saying, “Don’t borrow trouble?” It is as commonly accepted to “borrow worry for tomorrow” as “it’s responsible to worry.”
Significance of THIS Day
The Lord trained me to focus on the day. It’s not easy when you’re a prophetic person or a person with the gift of wisdom. In fact, it goes against the grain because so much of what you perceive is for a future day. So learning to live in the actual day you are in takes some practice.
Further, with trauma, hope deferred, disappointment, and generational desolations, the present is often so painful that we attempt to live in the future in order to survive.
Here’s the truth. Each day that the Father has given us on this earth has significance. It may not seem visible, but it is significant. When we walk with Him in the truth that each day is significant—and He is hearing us—then it is much easier to make it through any trouble that one day has.
As that becomes a lifestyle, it kills worry!
Change by THIS!
Jesus said that we cannot change anything by worrying—we cannot add one hour to our lives.
We cannot change future outcomes by worrying, but we can change them by praying and seeking first the Kingdom!
Recognize and Rest Required
The Lord exhorted us to take our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Him; often, however, our thoughts often take us captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We do have capacity to take our thoughts captive—though we may not have had training.
This can be done by recognizing our thoughts rather than mindlessness. Often, mindlessness comes because we had no structure in thoughts and/or no break in them. Spending time in prayer and in His Word is healthy structure to our thoughts.
Taking breaks includes giving ourselves mental space. It’s a rest, a mental space, where we are not receiving input from people or media. Nurturing that inner mental space causes us to be internally clear/quiet enough to recognize our thoughts. In fact, neuro-scientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, wrote that our brains are wired for a rest every so often. Damage happens when our brains do not receive the rest stops that our Maker hard-wired for them to need.
Here’s an excellent motivator: What you think in a consistent manner builds your life.
Jesus does not want us to build our lives in worry, anxiety or taking anxious care. He wants us to build our Kingdom lives in righteousness, peace and joy—one thought at a time.
. . .to be continued.
Crystal Wade, copyright 2022