How do we handle worry?

We live as individuals but share in the human experience. This post series asks the core questions of what, why, and how about this shared experience. After all, God came to earth as a human himself, to share that experience with us and bring us salvation through that human experience. So, join us today as we explore the core question… how do we handle worry?

Responding rather than reacting

Last week, we looked at the question of why do we worry. In each area of worry, we see temptation toward sin as well as opportunity to turn toward God. Often, this comes down to a matter of reaction versus response. Do we react with our emotions, or respond with thought, preparation, and intentional action?

Let’s dig into one of the most well-known Bible passages about worry, to look at the keys Jesus gives us in the Sermon on the Mount for how to handle and respond to our worry.

Matthew 6 normalizes what we worry about, but redirects our focus.

The full Bible passage is at the bottom of this page, for your further meditation and prayer, and reading it now may be helpful for you.

“Therefore, I tell you…” points us back to the earlier verses in Matthew 6. Jesus has just taught his disciples how to seek God well, how to pray and how to fast. He then pointed out the reality that we cannot put all of our energy and time into serving God and serving money and this world. We have to choose. This is how we respond to our worry: choose wisely what you will focus your time, thoughts, emotions, and energy on. Will you worry about the situations of life, or will you love and serve God?

“Are you not much more valuable…” directs us to consider God’s heart. He loves us more than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, both of which are beautiful and are provided for without an ounce of worry. “Your heavenly Father knows…” reminds us who God is. He loves us (we are valuable), He knows us, and He provides for us. This is how we respond to our worry: we remind ourselves of who God is, what He has done, and we rest in his character.

“Seek first…” tells us our priorities in life. It is not our relationships or even our happiness. It is God’s Kingdom and his righteousness. As we seek these two things, God takes care of our relationships and gives us joy, peace, and eternal life. Not only does our worrying have zero impact on the outcome of our life, it actually detracts from our happiness instead of building it. This is how we respond to our worry: we refocus our thoughts and energy toward God rather than ourselves and our situation.

Take some time to meditate today on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6. Pray for God to change your heart and your thoughts, redirecting you to right priorities, giving you deeper understanding his character, and strengthening your will to seek him first.

Matthew 6

25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.