Monday, 11 August 2014
'Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life' is a Commandment from Jesus
Modern society is one marked by many individualistic characteristics, one of which is anxiety. People are anxious about their studies, work, family, career, job and money. People chase such things that will fade away. Such things which will all be gone one day. This indeed is a very sobering thought, and how sobering one sees it depends on the value that one places on such things.
Owing to its materialist outlook of life, anxiety is treated by modern society as a "mental health" issue. However the Bible makes it clear throughout that anxiety is from the flesh.
Matthew 6:24-25 tell us that "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"
The New International Version uses the phrase 'do not worry about your life' in contrast to 'take no thought for your life' in the King James Version and 'do not be anxious about your life' in the English Standard Version. The word 'anxious' is 'merimna' in Greek. 'Merinmna' means care, concern or worries. Where one cares or is concerned about something, one values the thing he is cares about. Thus, to worry, take thought or be anxious about one's life is to value one's own life. To value one's own life such that one seeks to keep it to satisfy oneself is worry about one's life in the context of Matthew 6:24-25.
Many Christians do not even understand what Jesus meant when he said the "one cannot serve both God and mammon, you will hate one and love the other". Very rarely does the modern Church take the proper Biblical approach to understanding Matthew 6:24-34 owing to many Christians being under the spirit of mammon themselves, yielding to its temptation. Instead, it takes an earthly approach to it by interpreting it to mean that God will and in some cases, must give the Christian what he or she wants or desires because one is a servant of God. Many Christians do not even realise this is the approach they take in understanding Matthew 6:24-34. Instead of treating God as the only one to be served, they treat God as though he must add and provide his or her material needs on his or her own terms, rather than God's terms.
Hate, as the world defines it, is to have a strong dislike of something in the positive sense. As long as one does not positively act out in dislike or prejudice, one is not a hater, but an indifferent and perhaps cold and unkind. However, hate, according to the Bible is to fail to love others. Hate and love are diametrically opposed to each other. Therefore, to fail to take positive steps to preserve the life of another, or seek help for another who has been victimised IS to hate the person. Thus, how much more is hating God to fail to love God with all one's heart, mind, spirit and strength if hating fellow humans is to fail to help them in need?
This is demonstrated when Jesus said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and furthermore, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26)". To hate one's own life does not mean to physically flagette, bruise or beat oneself up as no one can be saved by their own human works. However, this fact is not in any way an excuse for any person who claims to follow Jesus to to justify their love for their own life. To love one's life is to love one's carnal flesh . To love one's carnal flesh is to not only allow oneself to be seduced by the world, or the things of this world, but to love the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).
Jesus said that "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). The cross was an instrument of death, and so to take it up is to die to oneself. One's flesh must die to follow Jesus. The flesh is diametrically opposed to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5). Therefore, the flesh is the desperately wicked, and deceitful human heart, and the human mind which is seeks to serve itself. Where the Fruit of the Spirit is love, the fruit of the flesh is all that is opposed to love.
To serve mammon is to love the flesh, and the world. To succumb to the temptation of mammon is to lose focus on God, and succumb to serving the flesh. To be anxious is to have no joy or peace, both fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Therefore, anxiety is of the flesh which is proud. The root of anxiety is pride, and a failure to trust God's faithfulness, goodness and kindness. Anxiety is sin because it questions God's perfect character. As such, the spirit of mammon uses anxiety and fear to tempt both the saved and unsaved into serving it or yielding to its temptation because it appeals to the lust of the flesh.
Satan tempted Jesus by first telling Him to turn stones into bread when He was hungry, telling Him that because He is Son of God, He can (Matthew 4:3). Satan is implying very subtly to Jesus that he should seek first His material needs, rather than trusting in God alone. He was attempting to weaken Jesus spiritually (if it is even possible), by making him succumb to anxiety, to lead Him to unbelief. This explains why satan further tempted Jesus by appealing to lust of the eyes by telling him to throw himself of the cliff (Matthew 4:6). Lust of the eyes is the desire of the eyes to see what satisfies the flesh, leading to unbelief in God, while trusting in oneself. Anxiety is slave to both lust of the flesh and eyes. Such anxiety creates a false sense of security in one's earthly possessions that where one has more, one is more secure and therefore, more worthy.
See an excellent sermon at: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/do-not-be-anxious-about-your-life