Drinking Deeply

Monday, January 02, 2006 at 4:49 PM

Matthew 6:25-34

So winter camp has been a blessing. I was greatly encouraged by honest questions, difficult theology, great discussions, plus a receptive small group which listened to me rant and rave about different aspects of Christianity. w00t w00t.

Well, I'm gradually putting together a summary of what we covered in small group (coupled with a commentary/wrap-up thoughts) and I figure I might post some of the more "significant" ones here (though since I'm so self-centered I'm considering posting all of it).

Matthew 6:25-34 is something that has crossed my path a few times in the past week, so that will be the first post.

Context: This was given to us as a QT topic, to look at the passage and think about things that we are anxious about. As I don't know how to apply things without first digging deep into things (to find out when it doesn't apply, what it means, etc), I turned it more into a Bible study than a QT. We went way overtime and did not cover all I wanted to but here is what I would have wanted to cover.

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? 26Look 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? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But 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? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But 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.

1) What does it mean to be anxious?

2) Why shouldn’t we be anxious?

3) What does it mean to “seek first”?

4) What is the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

5) What are the promises that God makes with this?

6) Finally, what do we need in order to actually do this?

1) Anxious… Is it wrong to think and plan for tomorrow? The future? Should we just sit at home and read our Bibles, expecting that food will magically appear next to us?

Of course not. We need to understand the context of this term “anxious.” (translated a little more ambigous "worry" by the NIV) A key to that is recognizing that v. 25 starts with a “therefore.” What is the “therefore” there for? The line above provides sufficient context to understand this passage, though the passage should be read in the context of the entire paragraph above.

24"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

What is the context of the term anxious? It is in the context of serving something. What are we devoting our time to? What are we putting first in our life? Do we constantly think about how our grades are? What people think about us? It is not wrong to plan ahead, but it is wrong to worry about what the future holds. Don’t be anxious! Do not put your efforts into serving the world and it's ideas.

2) Why not? What’s wrong with being anxious? - Because anxiety is a sign of doubt. We are saying to God that we don’t trust His promises. He provides for the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, and we think He won’t feed us? No, we are sinning by worrying much. We are saying “God, I know you’re God and you can provide, but..."

3) Instead of being anxious, we’re commanded to “seek first.” This means first – primary, always. It doesn’t mean “oh ok, I’m going to pray in order that I get money.” “I’m going to pray, and then move on with my life.” It doesn’t mean we wake up and say “Oh ok, God today is yours” and then nothing changes. It is directly tied into the rest of the sentence.

4) The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness. What are these things? What does it mean to “seek first” these things? Practically speaking what does it mean? We talk about putting "God first." But what does that mean? Does that mean I have to go into ministry full time? Does it mean I should go on mission trips every break? That I should stop eating and just pray?

It is easy to figure out the meaning of those phrases by just examining them. What is the Kingdom of God? Well, a kingdom needs a king. God is that king! Well, what does it mean that God is king? It means that He reigns. Seek first to have God reign. That affects our inside and outside. In our hearts, it means we seek to conform to God’s Law. We seek to obey God in all that we do. We seek first to have God reign in us. Outside, it means we seek to bring God’s kingdom to the world. We share the Gospel, encourage our brothers and sisters, we preach the Word. We "take captive every thought" for Christ. Those within ourselves and those outside of us.

Similarly with “His Righteousness,” what else is God’s righteousness but His perfect Law? God is righteous in all He does, so we should seek to emulate God in all we do, this is through obedience.

5) With all of this, we must and should remember God’s promises. If we seek to obey Him. Seek to share His Gospel. He will provide. Sometimes that provision will be through death. Sometimes it will be through hunger. But God is rich and has good in store. We do not have to be anxious about food, money, career, image, grades, how high of a level our gunbound/diablo2/maple story character is. Seek first.

6) What is necessary for obedience? Knowledge. Let’s seek to Know God. To love Him. To learn about Him. As we grow in maturity, we will be able to seek Him better because we know what obedience looks like. Instead of studying sometimes, read a good commentary. Instead of going shopping for that perfect suit/tie combo and that slick shirt that brings out how studly you are , seek to serve your family by washing the dishes and cleaning the house. Instead of going to a friend’s house to play video games until 3am. Go to share concerns and pray for one another until 4am.

Guess what? We can’t do this. We don’t seek God. We don’t want to read our Bibles. We don’t want to pray. We would rather hang out and play video games and watch movies. We are sinners. (and I'm not saying those things in and of themselves is sinful, but our heart posture is sinful when we seek to run to the ways of the world to fill us) And that’s why we need Christ. He obeyed everything to perfection and took on our sins and our punishment. With that, He’s given us His righteousness so that we are able to do this. We can’t do it perfectly, but we can start, and we can progress. Remember the cross.

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