Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 23

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

Little Faith or Bold Believing, Part 1

Read Matthew 6:24-34 (ESV)

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow not reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 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.”

Have you ever walked through a field of flowers or strolled through an open meadow, covered with dew-splashed petals that stretch to the horizon? Colors dance and blend as a gentle breeze sways them back and forth. It is an awesome sight to stand in the midst of such an overwhelming kaleidoscope of beauty, walking with your hands stretched out, just barely kissing the tops of the flowers with your fingertips. I can remember a time years ago when my family traveled to Holland, and we visited the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens. When we entered the gardens, there stretched before us were vast fields of glistening tulips rolling in the breeze. Vibrant reds and deep blues, tangerine oranges and violent purples all gathered in row upon row of majestic beauty! Whether you are a lover of flowers or not, it is simply impossible to stand before such a visual explosion of color and not be moved. When you look at an individual flower do you see the care with which it has been made? Can you see the hand of a loving Gardener, who has tended His sculpture with such softness and precision, in the petals of a rose that form layer upon layer of textured perfection? When we look at a flower, we don’t often think that it has been clothed, that the petals that form its core were placed there with care and intentionality. Yet those fragile short-lived petals serve a purpose; they reflect the glory of their Creator. 

Years ago, before his death, my wife’s father, Rev. Charles Wilson, preached from this passage on many different occasions. He was a pastor, gifted at loving people, particularly people who were hurting or suffering. His was an empathy born out of his own sufferings and sickness. He struggled through years of heart disease, cancer, and physical difficulties. He was given a compassion and love for people and the Lord as he walked the halls of many hospitals. He would hear questions over these years. “Why am I suffering?” or “When will it end?” or “How can I stop worrying” were just a few. So, this passage on worry was one that he returned to over and over again as he sought to give comfort from the Word. The following largely comes from a sermon he preached repeatedly and that was written up in a book my wife and I compiled, entitled In All Things

“In this passage Matt. 6:24-34 Christ lovingly chastises His listeners as those with ‘little faith’. What does it mean to have ‘little faith’? First of all, we are the ones of ‘little faith’ when we confine our faith to only one aspect of life, the salvation of our souls.  This type of faith does not extend to the whole of life.  Let me explain what I mean. When it comes to a saving faith, we are perfectly clear.  We have been convicted of sin and have seen how helpless we are to put ourselves right with God and that our only way of deliverance is in Christ.  We understand that He came into the world, died for our sins, and reconciled us to God. We believe on Him and have saving faith with regard to the present and to all eternity.  That is saving faith, the thing that makes us Christians.  But so often Christians stop there. They stop with saving faith.  Often, we seem to think that faith is something which applies only to the question of salvation.  The result is that in our daily lives we live as if we are defeated.  In our daily existence there can be seen very little difference between us and the person who is not a believer.  We become worried and anxious, and we conform to this world.  We have come to know God as our Heavenly Father, yet we are worried about food, drink, and clothing.  Our faith is confined.  It is a ‘little faith’ because its scope is so limited.”

“Second, we can say that ‘little faith’ is a faith which does not lay hold of all the promises of God.  If you were to go through the Bible and make a list of the various promises of God, you would find an astonishing number - over 3,000.  In II Peter 1:4 His promises are called ‘precious and very great.’  There is no part of life that is not covered by these extraordinary promises of God.  We so often select a few of these promises and concentrate upon them, never even looking at the other promises. We don’t lay hold of them.  Why?  We don’t believe them.  That’s part of the problem.  ‘Little faith’ does not really take the Bible as it is. We don’t believe it, live it or apply it.  The Gospel is not just something that you think of when you’re in church.  The Gospel applies to all of life.  Someone has said that the trouble with many of us Christians is that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but we do not believe Him.  Take all the statements He made when He was here on earth. They are all meant for us too!  They are as true today as when Christ spoke them over two thousand years ago.  The same is true for all the Epistles as well.  The trouble is the one with ‘little faith’ does not really believe this and leaves the Word unbelieved and unapplied. Consequently, we find ourselves overwhelmed and beaten down by circumstances. When this happens to us, we allow worry and fear to grip us. Instead of controlling our thoughts, we go around and around in circles.  Have you ever lain awake at night, gripped by fear and worry? If you are like me, you lay there going over the same old miserable, wretched details again and again.  That is not thought; that’s the absence of thoughtSo, let’s define ‘little faith’ as a failure to think, or allowing life to master our thoughts instead of thinking clearly about them.” 

So, What Now? 

Have you recently struggled with this kind of “thinking”, going around and around with your thoughts, worry and fear? Does this kind of “thinking” keep you awake at night? When this happens take a passage of Scripture that you have memorized and recite it over and over in your mind to take captive your thoughts and to actively speak truth to yourself.  

Meditate on our passage in Matthew 6. Think on it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it and apply it to your life. Plead with the Lord today that He would give you the ability to think clearly and remember the goodness of God. He will take care of you! He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)