By Brian Jakowski
When you have more month than money it’s easy to feel like the lovable Chidi Anagoyne from NBC’s The Good Place.
Like Chidi, Maybe you can’t make a decision, get frustrated and ask, “How can I get these bills paid?” Sure it’s a logical question, but it’s the wrong question.
The right question is Lord how are you going to pay these bills. God loves when we come to the end of our own resources, then He can teach us to trust in and depend on Him.
Let’s get started by talking about what you really need and why you worry.
Matthew 6:25–34 is one of the Bible’s best-known teachings on dealing with worry and needs. We’ll begin by revisiting this passage and it’s important faith lessons.
With the world constantly pressing you to have the newest, fastest or the best of everything, the line distinguishing needs from luxuries is easily blurred. Fixing your mind on the things of this world only leads you to chase after it’s riches and worry about reaching empty goals.
Should you be unfortunate enough to catch your heart’s desire, other than knowing Jesus, disappointment awaits. Whatever your prize, it can only leave you wanting the next new thing. Even worse you may believe like John D Rockefeller, who when asked how much was enough answered, just a little bit more.
Nothing this world offers can Ever satisfy!
No Fence Sitting Allowed.
1 John 2:15 says.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
All that the world offers is perishing and will leave you empty in the end. So, how do you discern real needs from luxuries? The answer is found in Matthew 6:24, “No man can love two masters… you cannot serve both God and money.”
Trying to live in both worlds prevents you from knowing the fullness of God’s blessings.
Similarly, Matthew 6:20 tells us, “Store up treasures in heaven where moth and vermin don’t destroy and thieves don’t steal. There your heart will also be.”
What your heart is fixed on is the key. Is your heart on God and his kingdom or on some empty worldly promise.
Banks teach staff to spot counterfeit money by having them study real money. Keep your mind on God’s kingdom and spotting excess in your life becomes easier as this verse Colossians teaches.
“… set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Nothing the world offers can ever satisfy!
God’s shortlist of needs
In verse 25 of Matthew 6, Jesus Identifies God’s short-list of needs,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
There you have it, God’s shockingly short-list of needs, food drink, and clothes.
Sure, there are other legitimate needs like Shelter or medical care. In fact, God knows and cares about these needs as well. Matthew 6:32 promises this, “…your heavenly Father knows you need them.”
God’s knowledge of your needs goes beyond His short-list. He is omniscient, knowing all things, past, present, future simultaneously.
What that means to you is, God knows and cares about the mortgage, your kid’s college tuition, and other unexpected bills. What’s more, He’s committed to providing for you.
You’re a Priority to God
Verse 26 assures you, you’re a top priority on God’s agenda, “… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow… yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? “
Likewise, verses 28–31 reaffirm your importance in God’s eyes, “ … See how the flowers of the field grow… not even King Solomon was dressed like them… tomorrow they are thrown into the fire, will God not much more clothe you-you of little faith?”
In God’s eyes, you are the most important part of His creation.
You’re important to God because you are made in His own image and you carry the Breath of Life He breathed into you. Unique in all His creation, you are precious in His eyes.
But Maslow said…
American psychologist Abraham Maslow popularized a hierarchy of psychological needs. When met, they help a person to be mentally whole and healthy.
His hierarchy contains five key areas,
- The first two needs, Survival and, Security comprise the physical needs God’s word promises He will provide when we putt Him first.
- The following three areas, love, esteem, and self-actualization. are a little harder to nail down.
- Love addresses our need to belong, to receive and to give affection.
- Esteem is the need to feel valued and respected, first by others and ultimately by ourselves.
- Self-Actualization is the culmination of all the previous stages where we solidify our identity and strive to be our best.
No disrespect intended, but doesn’t Maslow’s hierarchy outline the fundamental blessings of being in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
A life immersed in Jesus will not only see physical needs met, but it will also know first-hand the abundant love of the Father and Jesus. As a disciple of Christ, your value and identity are found in Jesus. God’s word is bursting with these promises. One of them is found in the closing verses of Matthew 6,
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…
What’s it all mean?
Let’s recap. Worry is really the result of taking your eyes off of Jesus. The cure for worry is to keep your eyes on the things of God.
God knows your needs better than you and is committed to meeting them. Created in His image and filled with his breath, you’re God’s top priority.
Finally, don’t let doubt make your beliefs or faith waver. I leave you with a favorite passage of mine that speaks to these issues,
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
Beware of the Dark Twins
Doubt & Unbelief are thieves that rob you of the blessings God has for you!
The ever-vigilant, dark twins of Doubt & Unbelief are stealthy predators who serve one master, Satan. Like their master, they have one goal, destroying your soul. They wait for your focus to drift from Jesus to some crisis or problem. Then while you’re distracted, they launch a subtle, potentially crippling attack. Whispering softly in your mind, “What if. . .”
- … the money doesn’t come.
- …If it doesn’t work?
- … my test scores aren’t high enough?
- …I’m? not pretty/handsome enough?
- … if even God doesn’t love me?
The list is endless, but so is your Saviors love and deliverance. Trust in Him; He is your faithful deliverer.
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
How Doubt Robs You.
The book of James talks of the dangers of doubt,
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
God is ready and able to answer your prayers and meet your needs; however, when you doubt, the question is, are you ready for the answer and will you be a good steward of the things God gives you?
Consider the parables of the talents and the Minas. The two servants who were sure of and trusted in their master multiplied his property. Seeing they could be trusted with the little he’d given them, He gave them much more. Doubt did not stop them from acting.
On the other hand, The servants who were afraid of and unsure of their master did take good care of his property. Their doubts stopped them from believing they could do more. As a result, they lost what little they had.
God knows our hearts and minds better than we do. He knows when we doubt. Doubting stops you from receiving because God knows you aren’t ready to receive.
The Good Place character, Chidi Anagoyne is a comic poster child of a person controlled by doubt, don’t be a Chidi!
Father Help my Unbelief.
Flip a light switch or turn on a faucet and you believe you’ll get light or water. Where I live, in Amazonas, it’s not uncommon if you don’t. I know they should work, but I believe less than you that they will.
Your beliefs in faith and God can be affected much the same way if you’re not firmly grounded in your relationship with Jesus. Two important questions come to mind,
- How healthy is your relationship with Jesus?
- Is God your judge or your loving father?.
Your answers to these questions weigh heavily on the strength of your beliefs.
Judas knew and walked with Jesus, but his beliefs wavered causing him to betray Jesus. In the end, Judas hung himself because he doubted Jesus would forgive him.
In Mark’s gospel, we find the account of a father who believed Jesus could heal his epileptic son,
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:;23–24 NLT
The father’s actions are the opposite of Judas’s actions.
- Beginning with the firm belief that Jesus could heal his son, he brought him to Jesus.
- When the disciples failed in healing his son he persisted and sought out Jesus believing he could heal him
- When Jesus confronts his doubts by saying, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?, Tthe father was sure of his relationship with God and did not hesitate to ask Jesus for help to overcome his doubts.
What you believe of God and how you trust Him matters. James 2:19 says, “… you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble”.
Believing isn’t enough, you must surrender your life to Jesus!
The Source of Doubt & Unbelief.
So, which comes first Doubt or unbelief? It’s hard to say because each feeds the other. Doubt will affect your beliefs and unbelief can give birth to doubt.
It would be interesting debate, but it’s not really worth the time because they aren’t the source.
The problem flows from your understanding of God. We all see God through the lens of our broken earthly fathers. Every father, however awesome they may be, does things that can negatively affect your view of God.
Sorting out the topic of how this affects your relationship with God is a book, not a blog post. However, your Bible is full of passages telling you how your Heavenly Father loves you perfectly, unconditionally and forever.
Another book that may help is, Experiencing the Fathers Embrace, by Jack Frost
Promises to Dwell On.
It’s good idea to get lost in your bible while you search out passages boosting your belief in God’s provision. Until you do, here are a few good passages to dwell on,
- My personal favorite is Psalm 27, it always seems to speak to whatever I’m struggling with.
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 — And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
- 2 Peter 1:3 — His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Getting Stoned is the Answer.
No, I don’t mean that smoking pot or an angry mob throwing stones at you will help. what I mean is, keep your focus on the things of God, not your circumstances. Consider these passages,
- As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51 Jesus single-mindedly fixed his mind on the mission, God had given Him and went to Jerusalem even though He knew the cross was waiting
- “ Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.” Proverbs 4:25–27. This another reminder to keep our eyes on God, not the world or it’s empty promises/
Maybe you’re saying all this is easier said than done, if so be careful, you’re already giving room for doubt to come in and steal your blessings
! Stand on God’s promises and remember, You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.