BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Stop being anxious about your lives.”—Matthew 6:25.
What does it mean? Jesus spoke those words in his Sermon on the Mount. According to one Bible dictionary, the Greek verb rendered “to be anxious” can refer to “the natural reaction of man to poverty, hunger and other troubles which befall him in his daily life.” Anxiety often involves being worried about things that may take place in the future. It is normal and proper to be concerned about our material needs and the welfare of our loved ones. (Philippians 2:20) But when Jesus said, “never be anxious,” he was advising his followers to avoid undue worry—an excessive fear of tomorrow that can take the joy out of living today.—Matthew 6:31, 34.
Is it practical today? We are wise to heed Jesus’ advice. Why? Some reference works suggest that when people worry a great deal, their sympathetic nervous system is in a constant state of activation and that this condition “is associated with medical problems that include ulcers, heart disease, and asthma.”
Jesus gave a compelling reason for avoiding undue anxiety: It is pointless. “Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?” asked Jesus. (Matthew 6:27) Focusing on our worries will not extend our life by even a fraction of a second, let alone improve it. Besides, things often do not turn out as we feared. One scholar put it this way: “Worry about the future is wasted effort, and the future of reality is seldom as bad as the future of our fears.”
How can we avoid anxiety? First, trust in God. If God provides food for birds and clothes flowers with beauty, will he not provide the necessities of life for humans who make his worship a priority in their life? (Matthew 6:25, 26, 28-30) Second, take one day at a time. “Never be anxious about the next day,” said Jesus, “for the next day will have its own anxieties.” Would you not agree that “each day has enough of its own troubles”?—Matthew 6:34.
By heeding Jesus’ wise advice, we can spare ourselves physical harm. More than that, we will find an inner calm—what the Bible calls “the peace of God.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.