Michael Youssef - Do Not Be Anxious
This pandemic, this crisis, we have seen human nature at its best. We've seen people giving of themselves, sharing, sacrificing. But we also have seen human nature at its worst. We've seen pictures of people fighting over toilet papers and some other goods and food items. We have seen obscene stockpiling out of fear and anxiety. We've seen irrational hoarding in the land of plenty. And that is why Matthew 6:25 through 36, Jesus is speaking to his own. Remember this, he's speaking to his own, and he was saying, "There is no need for you to be anxious and worried like those who don't know me".
But when those who love Jesus become anxious and worried, and we all do at some point, I can tell you when, I'll give you the timing on when that takes place. It is because we have a temporary amnesia as to who our heavenly Father is. It is because for that moment, we have forgotten who is our heavenly Father. There are the moments when we forget the privileges that we have as children of the king of the universe. The very heart of Jesus's message here in this passage in Matthew 6, he said, "Don't worry about the necessities of life".
In those just few verses, there are three times, three times where our Lord Jesus gives us a command. These three times were not suggestions, they are not recommendations, they are not nice things to do, they're commands in the imperative mood. This command is found in verse 25, 31, and 34. I'm going to show you four things, I'm not going to expound on them, but I'm going to come back and show them to you in their biblical context. First of all, he's saying worrying is wrong because it indicates distrust in the nature of God. He is saying that worry is totally unnecessary because of who your heavenly Father is.
And thirdly, he's saying worry does not make sense, why? Because it is inconsistent with faith. And fourthly, finally, he says worrying is very unwise because of our certain future, our known future. But today, I want to focus specifically on verse 27. I'm going to come to the rest of it, but verse 27, "Who of you by worrying can add a single day to your lifespan"? Now, some translations said an hour, it doesn't matter, any period of time. This admonition of Jesus is the exact opposite of what our culture is force-feeding us. But why Christians worry so much? Why Christians get anxious about the issues of life and death?
Listen to what Jesus said again, verse 27, "Which of you or who of you, by being anxious, can add a single day to your lifespan"? Hear me out, please, this is important. In the archives of heaven back before the creation of the world, there is a document for each human being. And in that document, the date of our birth and the date of our death is written, and nothing will change that. Nothing will change it. Nothing will modify those dates. Listen to the words of Jesus again, "Who of you, by being anxious, could add a single day to your lifespan"?
Now, I don't want to make the mistake that I often tell you not to make, and that is not to put the text back into its context. It's very important. And so, in the few verses before 27, Jesus talks about the source of anxiety, the very source of worrying. Matthew 19 to 24, Jesus says if money and the accumulation of worldly possession is your god, then you'll worry, you will worry. You will be anxious if your net worth is your master. In fact, you will never have a worry free day in your life if that's the case. Why? Because that god is a cruel slave master. That is why, please, please, please, please do not get me wrong. I don't want you to get me wrong. I beg you not to get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with money and possession. Did you get that?
Nothing wrong with money and possession. Nothing wrong with money and wealth. As a friend of mine said, "You cannot serve God or mammon, but you can serve God with mammon". And therefore, the question is not the possessions, the question is, are your possessions possessing you? When that happens, you will never have a worry-free day. You will always live in worry and anxiety. So, the question is, what is the antidote to worry? The cure for worry is using of one's possessions to serve the living God. The real worry-free life is only possible when the resources that God gave you, make no mistake about it, God gave you are used for reaching the lost. And Jesus said, "You cannot be a slave to mammon and a servant of God at the same time".
It's an impossibility, it's just an impossibility. If accumulation and more and more and more is your master, then worry is your lot in life. If materialism is your master, then you can be assured that anxiety is going to be your permanent companion. If all of your treasure is on this earth, not in heaven, then you can be assured that worry is going to be your bosom buddy. Jesus said, "These are two masters, two," no third, just two. And he says, "These are diametrically opposed and they cannot co-exist".
Now, don't shoot the messenger, that's what Jesus said. There is the one that commands us to walk by faith and fully trust him, and then there's the other who demands that we walk by sight or what we see. There is the one who calls us to acknowledge God and only God as the source. And then there is the other who pumps our pride and give ourselves credit for all of God's blessings. There is the one who tells us to set your mind on things that are above and things that are in heaven, where Jesus is. And then there's the other who says, "Your earthly security, your net worth is all that matters". There is the one who calls us to see the things that are unseen by the rest of the world and the things that are eternal. And then there's the other who wants us to focus all... in fact, forces us to focus our attention on what is seen and what's temporal.
Who is my master? Who is my master? That's the question. Asking yourself the question, "Who is my master"? is one of the most important questions that you can ask in life, why? Because answering that question will determine the level of our anxiety and worry in life. Verse 25, Matthew 6, Jesus said, "For this reason I say to you do not be anxious". You say, "What reason? What is he talking about, what reason"? The reason of knowing who your master is. Hear me right please. When it comes to worry and anxiety, it makes no difference whether you are poor or rich. Did you get that? Let me repeat that. When it comes to worry and anxiety, it makes no difference whether the person is poor or rich, why? Because your attitude toward material possessions, which is the accurate measurements of your spiritual condition, it's your attitude. It's how you react to them.
Listen, I have known ministers of the gospel, people ordained to the ministry, and they are enslaved to money. Listen, it has nothing to do with what you have or what you don't have. It has everything to do with what have you. Here's the problem, here's the problem: When you think that you are self-made... Oh, we hear a lot about self-made man. When you think you made it all yourself, then you're going to worry because you feel that it's up to you to protect what you made. If you think that you're the one who did it, then you're going to have to worry about protecting it. In reality, God is the one who gave it to you. God is also, can take it away in a heartbeat. I've seen people literally lost millions overnight.
But when you know that God gave you everything, God gave you everything, and that you are using it for his glory, you'll be at peace. You'll be at peace, why? Because just as God gave it to you, he will multiply it to you. He'll multiply it to you so that you can keep multiplying in the work of God. And he'll multiply it to you so you can multiply it to the work of God. I have seen this too many times to doubt it with my own eyes many, many, many times. God is not looking for a puddle, where the water comes in and stays there. He's looking for conduits.
As I pointed out to you earlier from Matthew chapter 6, he commanded in those few verses, commands three times, verse 25, 31, and 34. Remember the four reasons I gave you earlier as why worry is a sin, why worry is wrong? I'm going to repeat those ones from the Scripture, all four of them. In verse 25 of Matthew 6, "Worrying is a distrusting of the intentions of God toward you". Did you get that? Verse 25. Secondly, verse 26 to 30, "Worrying is a disbelief in the sovereignty of God".
Thirdly, in verses 31 through 33, "Worry is the distortion of the character of God". It's the distortion of the character of God. And finally, verse 34, fourthly, "Worry is the distrust in the promises of God". Now, I wish I had time to expound these, but unfortunately I can't. But feel free to take that outline. Listen to me, just as the wind blows unless you stop it, just as the water flows unless you impede it, just as light will glow unless you buffet it, you and I, and yeah, including me, I'm not preaching at you, I'm preaching myself as well, you and I are going to worry unless we deal with it, unless we deal with it.
Now, I am aware of the fact there are some people who try to tranquilize their worry. I know. There are others who are trying to deaden the feeling of worry and anxiety by chemical substance. I know other people try to escape from their worry. The Bible said there's only one way to deal with worry, none of the other things will work.
Here's something I hope you'll never forget: Worry is the opposite of contentment. Contentment is what Jesus calling all of his children to have, why? Because God has peace in himself, and he wants us to have it. Because God has tranquility surrounding his throne in heaven, and he wants us to have it. Because God has serenity filling the courts of heaven, and he wants us to have it. He wants you to have it, he wants me to have it. His peace cannot be fabricated. Oh, many tried, they cannot fabricate it. His peace cannot be duplicated. His peace cannot be falsified. His peace is above and beyond explanation.
And someone may ask, "Well, Michael, is there a falsified, fabricated type of peace that is not the peace of God"? Yes, absolutely. I hear about it all the time in the media. But these are Band-Aids on tumor. Jesus is saying that the gods of the Gentiles, these are manmade gods. They are all inspired by Satan, and these are the gods of fear and worry and anxiety and dread and appeasement. These gods demand much, promise much, and deliver nothing. And many people fall in this false fabricated peace, how? By trying to grab all the pleasure that they could while they're able. And that is why their motto is, "Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die".
Here Jesus contrasts, especially for those who love him and those who don't love him, he's contrasting the two. And the contrast is between those who love him and have the assurance of heaven, those who seek first his kingdom and his righteousness first and foremost, why? Because they know that all these things will be added to them. And I'm not talking about just in heaven, but even in this earth. So, the question is, do you know what the number one cause for worry and anxiety? Losing what you have, it's the number one, losing of what you... I'm talking about health, wealth, whatever it is, even life, and going without.
That's the biggest anxiety-causing fact. So, they naturally go for more and more and more. But the source of contentment is seeking the praise and the honor and the glory and the things of God. The secret of contentment is being generous in giving of yourself and sharing Christ with others. On the other hand, the cause of worry is misplaced priority. Instead of being focused on Christ, it's focused on, "Ooh, what's going on around me? What's the latest in the news? What's going to happen? How many people did this and how many people went there and how many..." And I'm constantly... And I've seen it even among God's people. The source of contentment is losing yourself in obedience to the Lord.
The source of worry is focusing on how dangerous this world is. The secret of contentment is how I can share Christ with the lost. The cause of worry focuses on what I don't have and, "How do I get it"? The secret of contentment focuses on bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. I hear people all the time, "I'm worried about how dangerous this world is".
Well, I see the world is dangerous. But I want to challenge every believer to do some soul searching. Wherever you are, wherever you are, start today. Do some soul searching. Ask the question: Am I anxious and worried? And if the answer is yes, then why am I worried? During this time, God is teaching me to take it one day at a time. I know he's teaching you, maybe not that lesson, but other lessons. But the one question you must ask: Do I really live in worry and anxiety? And if I do, why? When my God promised, when all of the promises in the Word of God are for me? Will you do that?