I am now writing a series of blog posts concerning the above question: Is Christ Enough?
We will explore and apply that question to various areas of our lives such as:
- Our physical provision in this life
- Our emotional well being
- The way we think about things
- Our personal lifestyles
- The practical outworking of the kingdom
- Our families
And perhaps many other things…
Our Physical Provision in this Life
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The Big Deal
This is a really big deal for us Christians in this modern age. And it’s especially true of the so called “western world” or “first world”. That’s because we spend so much of our time and energy and attention on “making a living” and providing for our families. In impoverished countries provision is also a huge distraction because of always needing to find your next meal! So we have the opposite sides of the same coin, that of being mammon (riches or for some just daily bread).
I cannot speak much into the impoverished scenario since I was born, grew up, and lived most of my life in America. However, I have seen the needy not only in this country but in several third world countries as well. But I mostly work here (in the U.S.) helping organic expressions of the Body of Christ. And yet it’s obvious that our Lord’s words in Matthew 6 apply to all people everywhere. Therefore, I believe this post will apply to everyone in the world even though I may use some examples from my own environment.
It looks to me from the passage above that Jesus went out of His way to hit this nail really hard on its head! Apparently, even in those days this was a big deal. Of course, we cannot live without food and drink. Just won’t happen unless God supernaturally intervenes. So this is an important matter. I remember when I was in West Africa and my friend and I went to one of the sidewalk shops and found a statue of a man sitting almost like the “Thinker” by Rodin. Except this statue had one major difference… he had no stomach! Curious about this, I asked the store clerk what it meant. He told me that the man was trying very hard NOT to think about his stomach because he was very hungry! Wow! What an eye opener that was! So this is something that effects everyone throughout the world no matter what their situation may be. We are driven to find provision because we absolutely must eat and drink – end of story. However, that is not the main point of the words of our Lord.
The Main Point
From what I can see in this passage in Matthew 6 these are the main points Jesus makes:
- Do not approach provision the same way that the Gentiles (heathen) do
- In the Kingdom of God we are not to worry about such things
- In the Kingdom of God we are not to “store up” or provide for our future provision because if you do your heart focus will be on those “things”
- This means that you will not only be distracted from the Kingdom but your whole focus (eye) will be polluted
- Don’t worry! God is very able to take care of you! Worry is fear and is the opposite of faith and trust in God
- We should be like birds and lilies! They live a simple life of complete dependence upon God
- Our full focus should always be on Jesus Christ and His Kingdom and nothing else
Wow! Is this something we all need to hear or what?!?! I would say that 90% of the believers that we work with in organic churches in the United States struggle with this issue as one of the top five struggles. There is the incredible pressure all around us to keep up with the “status quo” or “the Jones’s” and whatever that all means. Especially in large metropolitan areas there is what we used to call “the rat race” which means that we are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to “make it” in the world around us. The pressure of social and financial “success” is everywhere and in everything we are taught. That’s why we are told that we need to go to college and get a degree so that we can be qualified to get a good job, and more importantly, a good career.
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28-29)
I have been sharing recently with a few churches about the Song of Solomon. It has been an incredible experience.
Do you realize that “the Lilies” is one of the themes throughout the Song?
My beloved has gone down to his garden, To the beds of balsam, To pasture his flock in the gardens And gather lilies. (Song of Songs 6:2 )
The Beloved here is our Lord Jesus, the King! The Maiden (the Bride) is telling us that He pastures his flock in the garden to gather lilies. There are five other references to the lilies in the Song. Jesus is looking to gather together the lilies. The only reference in the New Testament is the one in Matthew 6 and yet it completely ties in Christ as the One (the Beloved) who is gathering lilies!
However, there are things that get in the way and the world is one of them.
Brothers and sisters, we are not a part of the world system!
In fact, pertaining to that system we should have the same attitude as the apostle Paul:
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)
In other words; We are now completely DEAD to the world system and the world system to us!
But is this how we really live? If we are really honest with ourselves isn’t it true that we get most of our cues from this world system instead of God’s kingdom? Saints, do you know who is the mastermind behind the scenes controlling the world system?
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)
But are we taking cues for our lives from this system? Are we swallowing the lies, philosophies, psychology, goals, and dreams of that system instead of the Lord Jesus Christ in His Kingdom? Is the “American Dream” our dream or is it what King Jesus wants?
Seeking the kingdom means that we put all of our attention, our goals, our resources, our thoughts, our time, and our focus on the interests of God instead of Man!
A Promise from the King
And guess what? The Lord Jesus (the King of the Kingdom of God) guarantees us that if we put His interests and priorities first that He will completely take care of all our physical provision! And that’s not all! He also promises us that we will live a worry-free life. Do you see that? Matt. 6:33 is a spiritual principle. But it is a conditional principle! It’s as if He is saying: “if you do this, then I will do that.” If you see first my interests, my purpose, my kingdom, then I will take care of all your physical needs. Wow! What a deal!!!
Seeing the Unseen
Of course, what our Lord is talking about here is pure and simple faith. That is, complete trust in Him. It is by faith that we bring things that are not seen into the seen realm. It has to do with the word “substantiation”.
Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The word “substantiating” literally means:
- to establish by proof or competent evidence
- to substantiate a charge
- to give substantial existence to
- to substantiate an idea through action
- to affirm as having substance; give body to; strengthen
In other words; faith actually brings the invisible into the visible world! When we trust God with all of our provision He will do it! He will bring it into this physical world by our simple trust in Him.
What a King we have!