How priorities can shape anxiety

Matthew 6:25-34

 “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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

            The great anti-anxiety Scripture! When things are tense, personal life uncertain, career balancing on the point of a needle… this is where we tend to turn first. As a new father, I have found my usually relaxed self suddenly hyper vigilant. Is that a cough?! The baby is choking! Was that a sneeze? Oh no, the baby is sick! Gwen hasn’t made a sound in twenty minutes… I had better check to make sure she is still breathing! I am sure I am not the first, nor will I be the last, parent to experience this. So this Scripture passage has been a good reminder for me. But this is more than a reminder. Jesus also lays out the strategy for achieving it. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

            Seek first… or as others have said, put first things first. It is not enough to have the kingdom of God somewhere on our radar. If we are putting things, (even good things!) ahead of God, life will never be quite right because my priorities are out of alignment. If I put my child first, I may be an ok father. But I will be a far better father if I put God first and model to my child what it means to love and serve the Living God. If I put my wife first, I may be an ok husband. But I will be a far better husband by not pressuring my spouse to be the foundation of my life which is a position no human being can live up to. It’s a set up for failure. Parents, children, spouses, friends, all of these will fail. They are only human. The only real anchor for our life is Christ Jesus. You want to be less anxious? Take your current priorities and put them solidly under God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Life may not be treating you great, but if things are well with the Kingdom, then the first things are right. Everything else will fall where it may. And whether He gives or take away, we can confess “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

How priorities can shape anxiety