Getting Your Heart Checked
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.
In a section of Scripture that has as it’s application to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, we need to be thinking about our lives in the broadest scope. So, this morning, as an introduction to this passage of Scripture, I want to briefly cover an introduction to the Christian faith. What is God talking about when Jesus says “Seek God’s Kingdom?” Well, He certainly is not talking about seeking the approval of other people and the acquisition of wealth. God’s kingdom and righteousness are what we are to seek instead!
- Introduction to the Christian Faith
- God’s goal for all of our lives is that we would reflect His image perfectly. Sin ruins this.
(The pure in heart will see God. The peacemakers will be called Sons of God).
- His desire is that we would go to heaven,
- His purpose is for us to be His priesthood
But heaven is not all that God has for us, in fact, it is just a part of the gospel. The Bible starts with a heavenly earth (minus the serpent). The Bible ends with a new heaven and a new earth. In the mean-time we are called to be priests of God. This is the calling of every person who believes in Jesus and is in covenant with God. Our job is to be a priest. A priest acts as a go-between. We have information about God and His kingdom that people need to know. We are to convey this information with words and in living out this as our faith! Here are nine things that people need to know:
- God is there
- God has communicated through nature and all are responsible to see that and believe that He exists.
- God has communicated most clearly through Jesus Christ and all are responsible to believe in Who He claimed to be and in what He came to do.
- Who Jesus is: Jesus is the Word of God, God incarnate. Jesus came to seek people who are separated from God because their behavior has placed other priorities above knowing and obeying God.
- What Jesus did part one: Jesus died on the cross to give all the opportunity to have our debt of sin wiped out permanently!
- What Jesus did part two: Jesus lived and taught in such a way that those who follow His teaching and example will have the best life possible, both now and forever.
- Those who believe in Jesus, follow Jesus.
- Lord I believe, help my unbelief.
- Those who do not believe are excluded from the life that God has for them both now and forever.
With this as our template, we are at work looking at #6. And Jesus specifically is focused in on the heart of man and how it can be reformed. All bad behavior begins with a desire in the heart that is contrary to what God wants us to do. The heart is reformed into that which desires the will of God by recognizing areas where it is driving behavior in a different way:
From our passage:
- Doing our acts of righteousness before people in order to be noticed by them.
- Serving money as our motivator (desiring riches instead of righteousness and contentment).
- Today’s passage: being overly concerned about details of life that are necessary, but a distraction from God’s kingdom and righteousness.
- Anxiety Indicates our Desire
- It is not the only thing that does
James 4: conflict shows our hearts
4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.
Matt 12: Our words show our hearts
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Any sinful action is an indication of a heart desire that is apart from God’s kingdom and righteousness!
- Do not be anxious instead trust God
Life: Food- God has promised to meet our food needs.
- He has done this by providing work.
- If disabled, He has done this by motivating His people to help.
- Is this about quality or quantity?
- A good fast in this regard would be to eat inexpensive staples for a period of time. Or grow a garden and learn to can your own food.
Birds: they graze on what is there. They live on.
Body: Clothing- Again, is the issue covering ourselves or fashion? There are lots of free or very inexpensive clothes in Russellville. Main St. Mission. Marva. Goodwill etc.
I was helping a lady one time and we were getting here some household items for free from the battered women’s shelter and she was complaining about the quality of the items that she was receiving for free out loud. She had no clue.
Flowers: beautiful for no reason whatsoever!
The real problem here is that true beauty is often poorly defined. True beauty is seen in the fruit of the Spirit. It is seen in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
That beauty is available to all. But we must submit to the Holy Spirit as He applies the teachings of Jesus to our lives!
- It is common to fight with anxiety
Please do not be anxious about your anxiety! That kind of loop is why Jesus has paid for your sins ahead of time!
God knows that you need the things that you are anxious about. But if your behavior has caused the issues of life that bring you to need food or clothing, then you need to change your behavior!
Phil 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
- Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS! What is God doing in your life in the circumstance that would make you fearful or anxious? Find that and focus on that! (This is what it means to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness)
- Act in faith: (Let your reasonableness be known). Because you are going through bad times does not mean that God hates you, is suddenly weak, doesn’t know what is going on or doesn’t care.
Job 1: 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 2: 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”
Job 1: 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Job 2:10b In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
In other words, we can make a terrible situation in life worse by adding our sin and unbelief to it! Hard times is what faith is for!!!
Jesus told His disciples, almost the last thing He taught them before He went to the cross: John 16: 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
III. Seek God’s Kingdom and Righteousness
- God’s kingdom is His rule now
For what purpose are we on this earth? Refer back to the introduction.
At home we are meant to have marriages where we love and serve one another as suitable helpers. Make decisions together, recognizing that submission is a not only a necessity, but a virtue!
Children, honor and obey parents. Parents teach children how to live best, being patient with them cause they just don’t know.
At work we are meant to do things that are beautiful and functional. Do things that “work” and are clever and lovely. Work in a submissive manner to those who manage you.
In all of our relationships we are to reflect the love of God. We are to forgive, serve, help, express care, teach etc.
At church we are to use the gifts and experience that God has given us to serve each other, to help each other be more like Christ and to be priests in our community. We are to pray for one another and for wisdom as to how best communicate the love of God and the good news about Jesus to our community.
- God’s righteousness
God’s righteousness is two things:
- It is salvation from the penalty of our sin. I don’t think this is what Jesus is referring to. This is the gift of righteousness.
- Righteousness is right behavior. It is the character of God lived out in us. When we seek that we focus not on our anxieties, but God’s grace, God’s will and God’s power to live out His gracious will.
James 1: 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
- All things added
That part of us that complains about the provision of God will be cured by seeking first His kingdom and righteousness. We will stop complaining about what we have compared to others because we will be grateful instead of coveting. God can’t add enough stuff to our lives to placate our hearts. We must change. And when we change we will be truly free.
John 8: 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.