“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” Matthew 6:33-34
“Liz, you’re not trusting the Lord.” The caring but forceful comment of my mother took me by surprise as I sat on the floor of her room on the verge of yet another anxiety attack. The combination of a difficult season at school as well as being in the midst of my parents’ divorce had caused my 14-year-old self to struggle regularly with these attacks. This one, in particular, I don’t remember the cause, but I don’t doubt that the reason wasn’t far off from what my mother had said.
Fast forward eight years, and, praise the Lord, I don’t struggle with anxiety as much as I did then. Looking back, I realize that the simple-yet-daunting solution to my anxiety was to trust the Lord. I still have days when I feel the shadows of anxiety wrapping itself around my mind, but a passage like Matthew 6:31-34 helps the light to break through once again.
It seemed strange to me at first that kingdom-mindedness could be wedded to a peaceful mind, but as I looked into this passage deeper, the Holy Spirit began to teach me how this is true. It’s the same call that Paul gives to the Colossian church in Colossians 3:1-2, which says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Our world constantly shifts and sways with every new idea and political or cultural movement, and so if our focus (or, to use the same language used in Colossians, our mind) is set on the things of this world, then our hope will be constantly wavering as well. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is fixed and sure. God has brought it about through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, and when we fix our mind on Him, our hope will be anchored. How do we know this? Take a look at Philippians 4:8-9. It says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the peace of God will be with you.”
What is the one thing that meets every one of these things? God, His Word, and the growth of His Kingdom. When we fix our minds on heavenly things, the peace of God will be with us. Each day that we are given is a gift from God, and another day to seek Him and to honor Him in everything that we do. When we set our minds on the character of God, remembering that He is sovereign over all things and has a plan and purpose for each thing in our lives, He shall be our peace (Micah 5:5).
That doesn’t mean it will be easy. It will take a diligent effort to lean on God’s promises and not our own understanding. We have to trust that God’s Word is true, and that He is working all things for our good and His glory–even in the darkest seasons of our lives. Jeremiah 17:7-8 promises the believer that they are blessed when they trust in the Lord. It says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
When we trust in the Lord through all seasons of life, we will continue to bear fruit because the Holy Spirit is working in us, growing our faith, and using the trials to mold us more into the image of Christ. If this is our mindset, and we are rooted in the character of God and His Word, we will be given the strength that we need to endure trials and have joy in the midst of them.
Let me ask you: Are you trusting in the things of this world to give you security and peace? Or are you trusting in the One Who IS our peace?