Following Jesus was like going to the best school every day of your life. The curriculum was how to live like Jesus.
The subjects of Jesus’ school included love, forgiveness, respect, holiness, family relations, and much more.
Jesus came to immerse or baptize people in the life of the Holy Spirit. The activity of the Spirit in humans gives us power to incorporate Jesus’ life-lessons into practical day-to-day living.
Today’s Lesson – Worry
Have you ever considered that Jesus never worried a single day in his life?
Jesus didn’t worry because he sang the song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” each day.
He was free from worry, because he knew his life was aligned with God’s agenda for his life. How can you lose when you are walking hand-in-hand with the Heavenly Father?
Let’s sit with Jesus’ first followers today and learn a lesson about worry.
— Luke 12.22-26 – He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.
“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
“If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?”
— Have you ever seen a bird that appeared worried about finding its next meal?
— Have you thought about how much it would cost to feed the billions of birds, if humans were required to provide them food?
All animals are “programmed” by God to follow his directions. They live in perfect alignment with God’s purpose for their creation.
Only humans are free to deviate from God’s plan for their lives. When we attempt to sustain our lives separate from God and his will, worry will be the natural result.
My Personal Relationship with Worry
Like most people who read my blog, I have a personal relationship with worry.
I recall a three day period many years ago, when I was wracked by worry. I slept very little and worried a lot.
One night was spent in prayerfully reading the Psalms. At one point, I was finally able to break through my willful desire to have the outcome I wanted.
By God’s grace, I was able to release the issue into the hands of God. At the same time, I was set free from the nagging worry that was consuming me.
— The Lesson: When we are able to release our self-centered wishes and get aligned with God’s purposes, worry will be eliminated or at least lessened.
Strive for the Kingdom
When Jesus began his ministry, his message was:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15).
Jesus spent hours teaching his followers about the kingdom of God, and his actions displayed the power of the kingdom.
The kingdom of God is not an easy concept to grasp. I remember looking for books on the subject many years ago and there was only one in print.
Thankfully, several good books have been written about the kingdom of God in recent years.
Dallas Willard defines the kingdom of God as the “effective reach of God’s power.”
That’s a great starting point for us to understand what it means to follow the next part of Jesus’ teaching about worry.
–– Luke 12.29-31 – “And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.
“For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
“Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
As we remember Willard’s definition, let’s ask some questions about how to apply Jesus’ message.
— Am I striving to experience the effective reach of God’s power in my life?
— What kind of actions and attitudes does a person have, who strives to live within the reach of God’s power on a daily basis?
— How does striving to participate in God’s power affect the way I pray?
— Am I willing to change my mind (repent), believe, and act on the fact that God’s effective power on earth is good news?
These are some searching questions. Like Jesus’ first followers, let’s ask Jesus to teach us all of the lessons about living a life like his, including not worrying.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. Rudy brings insights from years of Bible study and a life of devotion to Jesus.
The videos can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.