#399 - IS NOT LIFE MORE THAN… (22/7/21)
During this LEARNING TO HEAR series I’m taking a different approach to these devotionals. I want to us work harder at searching the scriptures for ourselves. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily’ method below to help us with this. It’s well worth the hard work involved!
‘“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? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
I’ve included my reflections on today’s text below. However, I encourage you to pray and spend time reflecting (writing can be helpful) using the 5 questions below before reading my thoughts.
i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?
ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?
iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?
v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.
I was struck with the words, "Is not life more important...?" If we are Christians, we have true life. We have the most important thing. Jesus tells us,
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
In Christ, we have true riches. We have been brought into a relationship with God as our Father. He says, regarding the birds, that we are "more valuable than they?" We’ve been purchased -redeemed- by the,
‘Precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect’ (1 Peter 1:19).
The Father will never lose anyone who cost Him this much to redeem!
This text reveals that He cares about the state of our hearts. It’s of concern to Him that we are at peace. It reveals that He sustains creation. He is our ‘heavenly Father’. This name speaks of His creation, love, power and authority; He created us, loves us, and care for our needs. To worry is to doubt His identity. To worry is to doubt our identity. He knows our needs completely and promises to meet all of our needs.
Jesus tells us to "Look at the birds of the air". We are to Look and take heart at how the Father works in and cares for creation. He asks us to reflect on the truth, ‘are you not much more valuable than they?’ This is so important to hear. Don’t rush on from this. Do we really sense our value to the Father?
“Holy Spirit, please fill me with the experience of the love of the Father today. May your perfect love cast out fear. May my worry be eclipsed by brightness of your loving presence and promises.”
He goes on to ask us, ‘Is not life more than food, and … clothes?’ We must take care not to make secondary things -food and clothes - the focus of our lives. It’s the Kingdom of God - Him and His works - which are to preoccupy us.
He reminds us of the shortness of our lives; we cannot add time through worry. Although requiring care, He warns us against being overly caught up with our health. Like food and clothes, these can become more of a focus than knowing and living for God.
“Lord Jesus, help me to focus on what’s most important. Help me not to be consumed with food, clothes, health and worry over these things.”
His general grace in providing for all people shows His concern for the welfare of all people. The Father is concerned for those who are living fearfully and without Him. He wants us to be set on seeking the kingdom by taking His love to those who don’t know Him yet. God doesn’t want us so caught up with worry and desire for material things that we miss His mission. He says to us, ’Is not life more important?’ - is not the salvation of souls more important than all of the lesser things that demand our attention?
“Father, please help us to put our time in order. Help me to give myself to the important things of life.”