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Bible Studies For Life

Transformed in My Plans                Session 4                     26 JUN 16

MATT 6:25 Therefore points back to verse 24. Serving anything other than God is a major cause for anxiety. The Greek means a divided mind, to be overly anxious, to have anxiety. This is different from mere anticipation or excitement or concern. This divides the mind to cause hurtful behavior. So Jesus used a negative with a present imperative. This means to STOP having ANXIETY as a HABIT! Don’t get overly anxious as a habit. Jesus certainly was anxious when he prayed in the Garden to have the cup removed. But he was not overly anxious to prevent him from praying (Luke 22:42 RSV) ""Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."" “Life” here means physical life. On the surface he seems to say forget about anything physical. But remember he is talking based upon (Mat 6:24 RSV) ""No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." The physical aspect of living has been the other master of numerous people, if not the vast majority. He is not saying don’t take care of yourselves or don’t plan for the future. Jesus makes the critical point: “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Is not real life more than getting physical things to satisfy one’s self? This is not to say physical things are forbidden or sinful. Note (Eccl 5:18-19 RSV) "Behold, what I have seen to be good and to be fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life which God has given him, for this is his lot. {19} Every man also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and find enjoyment in his toil -- this is the gift of God." And what of (Eccl 10:19 RSV) "Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything."?

MATT 6:26-27 So then, what of his examples? Obviously birds don’t knowingly plant crops for harvest. They get whatever they find. Yet they must go find it. God does not put it in a winter bird feeder. From time to time some birds die because of a lack of food in their area. But God has provided a general plan for their survival. Jesus asks (Mat 6:26 RSV) "Are you not of more value than they?" If God provides a general plan for creatures without spirits, then think of what he has done for humans.

MATT 6:27 The Greek for statue may refer either to age or height. Since there is not enough detail provided, it can be translated either way. But the point remains the same. Human effort to change the plan of things by worry is impossible. Humans can add years to life by many physical means. But being overly anxious is not one of them. In fact, most authorities teach anxiety shortens life. So we often do just the opposite of what we want when we do things different than following God’s plan for humans. We must remain on the subject of being overly anxious and not read into Jesus’ teaching anything beyond this.

MATT 6:28-30a Obviously this is a most serious and vital subject because two more metaphors to illustrate his point. Humans cannot do better than God’s plan for life no matter what they may do. If God gives great beauty to temporary creations that last only a short time, will he not do far greater for humans who will live forever?

MATT 6:30b So Jesus declares these Christians “have little faith.” Obviously not salvation faith. He means living and growing faith. They were strongly inclined to follow human concepts, such as the add-on laws, rather than accepting and doing God’s will.

MATT 6:31-32 Using “Therefore”, Jesus continues with a summary on the examples he has just taught. Thus it has nothing to do with making plans for shopping for groceries for tomorrow or using money to make interest. The focus on spiritual matters and spiritual lifestyles. He added two more reasons Christians should not be overly anxious about physical life items: (1) The lost seek material things and manage to get many. (2) The Father already knows what we “NEED.” Needs and wants are two different things. Since the Father knows what we need, he will work to help us have them. This does not means that since we need food, we don’t have to work for money or plant crops to get a harvest. God is not going to feed us as he did Elijah for a short time. But God will (Rom 8:28 RSV) "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose." But as we work we should know that the Father is helping us. So there is no reason to be overly anxious about material needs. This is true even if we have a low point in our physical existence.

MATT 6:33 “But” contrasts being overly anxious with what we should be doing with take time and energy. “Seek” means to start and keep on seeking two things: (1) “the kingdom of God.” The term means being saved. (Rev 1:6 RSV) "and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." How is a Christian to keep on seeking the Church? (Eph 4:22-24 RSV) "Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, {23} and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, {24} and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (2 Pet 1:5-7 RSV) "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, {6} and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, {7} and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love." (1 Cor 14:12 RSV) "So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church." (2) “his righteousness.” This means (Col 1:9-10 RSV)  "And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, {10} to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (Rom 12:2 RSV)  "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Mat 5:48 RSV)  "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." In the doing of edifying fellow Christians and living a righteous lifestyle, all our needs will be taken care of as part of this righteous living. Again, this does not means a free handout. Righteous living is work-living.

MATT 6:34 So in summary Jesus says to Have no overly anxious concerns about tomorrow. After all, have you not prayed for the father to carry any concerns? (Mat 6:11 RSV corrected)  "Give us this day our bread for the morrow;" Instead focus upon the problems of today because you live in today and thus can only do something about them. You can essentially do nothing about the problems that do not yet exist. Again this is a general lifestyle Jesus is addressing and he is not saying to forget financial planning, etc. After all Jesus said (Mat 24:44 RSV) "Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

 

Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. ganotemd@outlook.com Home Page: http://dma1.org/~ganotemd/lesson.htm