Monday, March 18, 2013

Matthew 6:25-34 Worry

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“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.  
––– Matthew 6:25-34

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As near as I can tell the actual word worry does not appear anywhere in most versions of the Bible.   The newer Bible versions are more prone to translate the original Greek and Hebrew words as worry. The subject of worry is, however, is spoken of frequently in the Bible.  The word in many versions of the Bible goes by the aliases of fear, trouble, care, anxiety and burden.  Why do I mention this?  There are two reasons: (1) I like to see the meaning of the words.  Word meaning do change over the years. (2) Today there is often a very real difference between anxiety and worry.  There is a clinical condition of Anxiety Disorder and this is different than ordinary worry.

Over the years all languages change.  As the current unofficial language of the world, American English seems to change the most. New words are added frequently to our dictionary. Old, seldom used words, are dropped from our dictionaries. Over the years the meaning of a word may chance drastically.  For example the word nice: Today nice means pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory. It is considered a compliment to describe a person as "nice."  Originally the word meant stupid, from the Latin nescius which is translated as ignorant.  Over the years "nice" has changed many times to mean something very different. It has meant reserved, fastidious, and subtle. The word nice is still changing. Today's it is more often meant to be bland, nondistinctive.  It is no again no longer a compliment. This is one of the reasons, not the only reason, that newer versions of the Bible are introduced.

μεριμνάω  translitterated as merimnaô  is the word here in Matthew 6:25  The word is one of several which is similar to ernest thoughtfulness. It is a word that includes the idea of worry and anxiety.  This is what it most often emphasizes, but not always. In 1 Corinthians 12:25 it indicates concern for one another. In that case and a few others 1 Corinthians 7:32  Philippians 2:20 anxiety is not the correct meaning.  In other verses it certainly means worry Matthew 13:22  Luke 8:14 Luke 10:41  Our English word worry is from the German word wurgen, which means to choke.  That sounds like a very goo description of worry.

An anxiety disorder is not the same as worry.  True anxiety disorders may be due to a genetic predisposition or a variety of psychosocial or chemical causes. Sometimes the anxiety is a continuous symptom, sometimes it is an episodic symptom. A person with an anxiety disorder can also worry, but all anxiety is not necessary worry.  

OK - I've spent way too much time on this and we haven't even started on the verses.

In the above verses, Jesus is telling us not to have an uneasiness and profound worry of the future.  The words anxiety or worry are spoken six times by Jesus in these few verses. (I have bolded the word all of those times in the verses above).  Jesus is warning us not to be overly anxious and worried about our needs or wants.  Wise, sensible care about our needs is not forbidden or discouraged.  Many of the Proverbs encourage industriousness and discourage laziness.  Proverbs 13:4  Proverbs 10:4  Proverbs 24:30-34   The New Testament also has numerous verses encouraging one to work and plan ahead.  Colossians 3:23  2 Thessalonians 3:10

If one is overly obsessed with anxiety over their needs, that is a problem. One is not to become so overly concerned about their needs that they are choked by that concern. This type of anxiety will draw one's mind in many directions.  It will render one incapable of taking satisfaction and comfort in all that God has done for us. It is a sin. It robs us of faith. A person who is constantly in pursuit of material things has never learned to live by faith.  Jesus told us not to worry about these things.  Life is more important than clothes, food and things.  We are not supposed to go into a state of dispondency over our future. We are to trust in the LORD.  Worry Keeps you from enjoying what you already have, what has already been given to you by God. Worry does not allow you to put your trust in the LORD.

  • Worry Keeps you from enjoying what you have. *
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Worry has been defined as "a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained."
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Worriers spend a lot of time shoveling smoke.
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* From You and Your Problems - Chuck Swindoll


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