December 4, 2015
A Gift from God: Carefree Living
By Skip Heitzig
The Christmas season is officially upon us, and maybe these questions are already running through your head: Did I spend enough on this person? Will they like this gift? Will they be offended if I didn't get them a gift? Will they be offended if I return this gift?
Now, we know that Christmas isn't about gifts, but the gift of Jesus Christ, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:15: "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" But Christmas can nonetheless become very expensive and stressful. Worrying is something that a lot of people do this time of the year. So let's look at one of the most famous Bible passages about worrying: Matthew 6. As you read this passage, I want you to notice that there are several gifts that God presents to us here, and we're going to look at some of them over the next few weeks. Perhaps there's one that He has wanted to give to you for a long time.
One such gift is carefree living. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?" (v. 25). Talk about appropriate words for our challenging times—"Therefore…do not worry," which means to stop an action already going on. If you're worrying, stop it. Jesus said that three times in this passage (see vv. 31, 34).
The word worry in the original Greek comes from two words put together. The first word is merizó, which means to tear or divide, and the second word is nous, which means the mind. So, in the original language, to worry literally means to rip, tear, or divide the mind. Isn't that an appropriate description of how worry works? Now look at the word life in verse 25. This refers to the external, physical, temporal life. Don't be anxious or worried about this world.
One of the great tyrants of our modern society is burdensome living that comes from anxiety or worry. It's a huge issue. What are the top causes of worry? What you would think—economics, money, family issues, the future, violence, inflation, the possibility of war.
But God wants us to live a carefree life. What Jesus said here flies in the face of what the world does all the time. "Don't worry." This doesn't mean you should do nothing. It is certainly okay to plan and save for the future. It's just not okay to worry about it.
Notice that Jesus illustrated this principle with birds. "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (v. 26). Have you ever seen a worried bird? No—they sing; they flutter around. It's a great illustration.
I love what somebody said: worrying is sort of like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but doesn't take you anywhere. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body" (NIV).
Realize that God wants your life to be freed from the shackle of worry. That's how He intends us to live. This is just one of God's gifts to His children—carefree living—and I think this is one of the most important presents we could ever receive this season.
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