As Christians, we often have the tendency to approach God as the rule-giver. We want him to tell us what we’re supposed to do and what we’re not supposed to do so that we can try our best – with a lot of failure along the way – to keep his rules. Take, for example, the time Jesus said, “Don’t worry.” (Matthew 6:25)
We know what is expected of us – that we don’t give in to worry. So we try. We try to resist the sin of worry. We shame ourselves when we feel worried. We sometimes shame others because we perceive that they are worried. And while we fail often, we feel this is better than not trying at all, right? Keep reading.
What I love about Jesus’ commands is how he often gave us a much deeper motivation than what we come up with on our own. Our intrinsic motivation is: Don’t worry, or you’ll disappoint God. But Jesus tells us not to worry and then gives us a surprising motivation: Don’t worry, because you’re valuable to God.
Here it is, in Jesus’ words:
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?
~ Matthew 6:26 NIV
Our feeble, legalistic approach leads us to try to stop worrying so that God won’t be mad at us. And in that motivation, we completely underestimate the value God places on us. We see ourselves as people he merely tolerates as long as we don’t get too far out of line.
Jesus, on the other hand, ties our need to live worry-free to our value before God. Because you are much more valuable than any bird, which God cares for out of his goodness and love, he will definitely take care of you.
So here’s the challenge today. Move from I shouldn’t worry because that would upset God to I don’t have to worry because God values me and loves me.