"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.Matthew 6:32(NASB)
Christ's Sermon of the Mount is not a treatise on how to be saved, for we are saved by grace through faith in His finished work at Calvary. His teaching deals with the deeper, spiritual implications of Christ's authority over the lives of those who would believe in Him. The Jewish perception of the Messiah was a man who would come to defeat their Roman overlords in the physical realm and establish peace and plenty for all. The Jews of Christ's day were more concerned about their physical wellbeing than their spiritual health.
Jesus was more interested in describing the necessary character traits, godly attitude, and spiritual temperature of those desiring to enter the kingdom of heaven. He had to correct the erroneous, Jewish belief that righteousness came through strict adherence to the Law. He alone would fulfil the Law through living a perfect life so that the sacrificial offering of Himself on the cross, would be sufficient to satisfy God as the full, and final payment for the sin of the world, which would also redeem the fallen race of man.
In His teaching, Jesus gave examples of the right and the wrong way to live. He explained the acceptable way to do charitable deeds and the godly way to fast and pray. He frequently took examples from the natural world in order to teach an important, spiritual truth and to teach that pursuing kingdom truths, which will last forever, is of far greater value than chasing after the temporary treasures of this world.
Much of Christ's Sermon on the Mount relates to the vital principle of trusting God in all things. To believe His word and act in faith on His promises is the thing that pleases God. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him and one of the biggest demonstrations of a lack of faith is worry... which is why Jesus concluded by addressing the issue of fretfulness and fear, anxiety and worry.
Because of all the things He had taught them, up to this point, Jesus continued... "For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" And using the little birds of the air and the fragile flowers of the field, Jesus gently explained that if God showed so much care and concern for birds and flower, should they not trust Him to supply all they needed according to His gracious goodness and lovely character?
Jesus was speaking to those who believe in God. Jesus was teaching Jewish people who had a covenant relationship with God. Jesus had been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel who had a covenant with God. He was instructing the people who had their history written in Scripture, which proved God's faithfulness to them from one generation to the next.
The people of God should not be worried or concerned about such things as food to eat and clothes to wear, for He is our Shepherd and Provider, and has promised to supply all that we need. "It is unsaved Gentiles who eagerly seek all these things," Jesus pointed out. "But your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things," were the comforting, yet corrective words to His people.
This teaching from Jesus was given to His covenant people, Israel, but there is so much of His teaching that is applicable to the Church, that we need to seek out all the truths that we can glean from this important Sermon on the mountain. Knowing that God has promised to fulfil all our needs according to His riches in glory, and having proved His faithfulness to us on so many occasions.. we need to take to heart this warning about worry and address this issue in each of our lives.
The child of God who anxiously frets over their daily needs and necessities is demonstrating a serious lack of faith in the word of God and behaving like the unsaved who do not know the Lord. The one that worries about this and that demonstrates doubt over the many precious promises the Lord has given to each and every one of us in His Word of truth. Financial and relational difficulties often rise up to cause a Christian to worry. What will the future hold? How will I manage? Where can I go? What can I do? Why has this happened?
Too often it is fretfulness and worry that causes the Christian to remove our eyes from the God of our Salvation and Lover of our soul, onto the looming circumstances of life, and the more we feed our fear and fret over the future, the quicker our faith in God crumbles.
The quickest way to cause fear to evaporate is to focus the eyes of our heart, steadily on the Lord Jesus, and in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to cast our care on Him and to make our requests known to God - and then the peace of God that passes understanding will fill our minds and flood our hearts and our faith will flourish.
Dear Heavenly Father, too often I have allowed worry and fretful fears to overtake my heart and mind, which causes my faith to falter when I should be looking to You and remembering Your never-failing faithfulness. Thank You for the simple truth in the Sermon on the Mount, that God knows all my needs and will never leave me comfortless. Help me to always remember that if You feed the birds of the air and clothe the flowers of the field so beautifully, You will most certainly take care of Your children, who have trusted Christ for salvation. Help me to keep the eyes of my heart on Jesus and not on the circumstances of life - in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.