Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 24

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

Little Faith or Bold Believing, Part 2

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.”

Years ago I had the privilege to travel to London, England and to worship at All-Saint Chapel where John Stott (author of one of the books I have reference many times in these devotionals) was the pastor for 25 years. He had retired by the time I visited the Chapel, but on that day he was on a book tour, a book of the birds of the Bible, entitled The Birds Our Teachers. On that day he was talking about different passages that talked about birds and he referenced this passage in Matthew 6. I will long remember his insights and exposition of this passage and his exhortation to remember - God cares for us, as he does the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. “If this is true,” he said, “should we ever be gripped by fear?”

Continuing from our last devotional, Little Faith or Bold Believing, Part One, we are continuing to answer the question, “What is ‘Little faith?’”. We are additionally answering the question of what it means to replace little faith with bold believing. Why does the person of “little faith” allow things to master them and to get themselves down?  The answer is that those with little faith allow their thoughts to be clouded with worry, doubt, and fear, and they cannot think and believe.  Faith, in the context of these verses, is primarily thinking and believing truth.  Often, we allow the circumstances of life to overcome us.  Life comes to us with a club in its hand and strikes us upon the head, and we become incapable of right thinking.  According to Jesus, the way to avoid that is to meditate on truth.  We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction; the Bible is not illogical.  We are not to look at faith as something purely mystical that enlightens us as we sit seeking to empty our minds in a zen-like trance.  We don’t just sit down in an armchair and expect marvelous things to happen to us.  That’s not Christian faith.  Christian faith requires thinking on truth and meditating on the One who is Truth.  We are to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”  (Rom. 12:2b) We need to use the minds God gave us! Look at the birds of the air and think about them and draw your conclusions.  Look at the lilies of the field, look at the grass, consider them, meditate upon, and draw your deductions.

Another way we exercise “Little faith” is that there is a failure to more fully realize the implications of our salvation.  Here we are, worrying about food, drink, and clothing, and we are children of the King. We are not orphans. We have a Heavenly Father who is the owner of the “cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10).  If we could only realize the implications of this, we would never worry or be anxious again.  We need to pray for ourselves and for each other the prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesians.  In Eph. 1:18-19 he prayed that “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe.”  That is exactly what we need to know and understand. Growing in our understanding of this rich truth can begin to fan our “little faith” into a flame of belief.

The Christian is supposed to seek God daily and constantly.  We are to make time to do so.

This means we should think more about the Kingdom, about our relationship to God, and especially about our eternal future.  As Paul put it in his letter to the Colossians 3:2 - “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” We are not just to seek to know more about God and to set our affections on the things above, but we must also positively seek holiness and righteousness.   Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  Why did He add “righteousness”?  This is a very important addition.  “Righteousness” means holiness/wholeness of life.  We are to seek to be more and more like Christ, more and more holy Christians; we are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord.  This is definitely the way to increase our faith and stop worrying.  It works like this- the more holy we are, the nearer we are to God and the greater our faith.  As our faith grows, we will have a greater assurance and reliance upon God.

So, What Now?

In Matthew 6, we are reminded that we are cared for and dearly loved. We are called to observe the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. God clothes and cares for these, the simplest of His creation. If He cares for and provides for the most basic needs of these, will He not much more provide for His beloved children? We are called to reflect upon and remember this during our times of great need and pain, in times that drive the soul to worry and anxiety. Be encouraged, believer—the God who tends His creation, cares for you and will indeed provide for all your needs!