MONDAY, 10/24
Read Matthew 6:25.
We’re beginning the week of WayPoints here with Matthew 6:25 where Jesus says, “Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life.”  Jesus will spend the next nine verses unpacking the danger worry poses to the spiritual life.  We will work our way through them, and I’m sure every one of us will be challenged.  For today’s verse, we need to understand that Jesus is not starting an entirely new dialogue.  He is extending the teachings on our treasures from the verses before it.  
One of the points Jesus makes in those verses is that we often seek security from the things we treasure.  We treasure our career because it is the path to success and significance.  We treasure a possession because it sets us apart from others, thus bolstering our reputation in our own minds.  We treasure something based on the hopes of what the treasure can do for us.  It’s why we fight to protect what we treasure.  That instinct to safeguard what we treasure is why we cannot serve what we treasure and God.  One of them will lose eventually.   
Jesus warns us to be leery of holding onto such treasures.  Reputations, power, success, and pride can all be lost in a moment.  Sometimes they are with us for a season of life, then absent for another.  We cannot depend on them.  We would do well to treasure the only One who cannot and will not fail us, the Lord.  
In light of this, Jesus says, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.”  Jesus makes a slight but important adjustment here.  After addressing our misplaced securities, Jesus now speaks to our insecurities.  
This is a fitting move given the people Jesus is addressing.  They were the working-class poor.  Most of them lived day to day, meaning if they wanted to eat that day then they had to work that day.  They had no earthly things in which to put their security; therefore, they had no security to misplace.  They were, however, in a place to be overcome by the insecurity of their circumstances.  They could easily be overrun with worry about how their basic needs, like food and clothes, would be met on a daily basis.  
Jesus’ words speak to us today as much as they did the day He delivered them to the people on the hillside.  We know what it means to place our hope in something that cannot provide true security.  We also know what it is to be consumed by insecurity.  We have experienced the kind of worry that eats away at you until you have no hope or peace.  Perhaps you’ve been that person.  Maybe that’s where you are today.  Regardless, I believe Jesus wants to speak into your life.  He wants to free you from being crippled by your insecurities.  So let’s invite Jesus to do a new work in our hearts this week. 
I wonder what worries or insecurities you need to give to Jesus. 
Praying Together:
“Jesus, You have called me not to worry about my life.  I confess that I do worry about my life.  I worry about so many things.  I know this isn’t good for my soul, but I don’t know a way out from it.  Please speak into my life this week.  May Your words and Your wisdom come alive to me.  Open my eyes to see You and help me experience Your healing touch.  Free me from worry that I may look to You in trust always.  Amen.”
TUESDAY, 10/25
Read Matthew 6:26.
This passage comes on the heels of Jesus’ charge for His disciples to not worry about their daily needs.  He posed the question, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”  Our answer to Jesus might be something like, “Well, sure, but that still doesn’t keep me from worrying about my needs.”   
Jesus takes us deeper in verse 26 with some wonderful truths.  He first has us look up to the birds.  While birds do work, they aren’t the ones who plant nor do they stock up on goods, and yet their daily needs are met.  Jesus also makes it clear that they have what they need because their “heavenly Father feeds them.”  God cares for His creation.
Jesus has us then stop to consider the question, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  What a wonderful question for our worry-filled minds to consider.  We know the Father loves all the creatures in His creation, but none more so than the crown of His creation, humankind.  While all creation flows from the heart and mind of God, we are the only ones who bear His image.  We are the only ones He calls children.  And if the Father feeds even the birds, what then will He do for you who have much more value to Him?
This truth is essential for us to get if we are to combat our worry.  We must do more than simply process the meaning.  We must allow it to invade and saturate our hearts.  Let Jesus’ question roll around in your mind as you consider His words, “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  
The implication here is that you are valuable to God.  For some, those words are familiar.  For others, maybe it’s been a while since you stopped to consider them.  You–yes, you–are valuable in the eyes of your heavenly Father.    
What this means is that because you are valuable to God, then your needs are important to Him.  He loves you, and love means caring for the needs of the other.  Some of you reading this are parents.  While our love for our kids is imperfect compared to God’s love, we get some of what Jesus is saying here.  A child is of utmost value to a parent.  Parents will go to great lengths to see to it that their children’s needs are met.  Many of us have been through tough times as children, and yet our parents made sacrifices to see that our needs were met.  Jesus is saying here that we can trust God to do the same because we are children of great value to Him.  
Don’t forget this truth: You are valued by Your Heavenly Father.  You are loved.  Your needs matter to Him, so bring your needs to Him today and watch how He works in your life.  
Sending Prayer:
“Father, I appreciate Jesus’ words today.  I am valuable to You.  I am loved by You.  What wonderful truths for me to consider!  They speak to Your nature and character.  Like any child, there are times I have not been easy to love, yet You love me still.  Help me not to forget who I am to You for this is the foundation of conquering worry.  Amen.”  
Read Matthew 6:27.
Reflection.  Introspection.  Soul searching.  Whatever you want to call it, it is important that we stop to consider what is going on inside our hearts.  Maturing as a Christ follower requires that we become familiar with our inner life, with the happenings in our hearts.  
This is one reason why Jesus asks introspective questions.  He calls on us to look well beyond the surface of our concerns.  His question in verse 27 could be simply rephrased like this:  What good is worry?  
On one hand, it seems like a relatively easy answer.  Worry doesn’t do any good for us.  It consumes our thoughts.  It robs us of peace and confidence.  It focuses all of our attention on  the challenges that are in front of us rather than God’s ever-present care for us.  We could go on and on about how worry isn’t good for us, but does it really help us not worry?  
The answer is yes and no.  Looking at the uselessness of worry, it will not in and of itself prevent us from worrying.  It is, however, important that we see the damage that it does to our souls if we are to deal with it properly.  
So let’s ask this question:  What can worry really do for you?  Can worrying add to your life?  No, but it can take away from your life, though.  Can it add anything to your height?  Nope.  Can it add an hour to your life to apply to trying to resolve the very situation you’re worrying about?  No, not even a second.  In fact, it’ll steal time from you.  We can easily spend a great deal of our time and energy on worrying with no return.  
The answer to Jesus’ question is clear.  No, worrying cannot add to your life, but you already knew that.  Now we have to take this a step further if we want this to impact our life.  We have to understand that worry is more than just unhelpful.  It is harmful.  Like the enemy, worry steals our time, kills our confidence, and destroys our peace.  We need to recognize worry for the danger that it poses to our well-being.  
There is a difference between understanding worry as something that isn’t good for us versus something that is toxic for us.  When it’s just something that isn’t good, we can shrug it off.  Sure, it isn’t ideal, but everyone else worries, too.  If we see it as toxic, then we know that we need to do something about when it rears its ugly head.  
This is why we need to understand the dangers of worry, so that when worry begins to consume our thoughts, we can run to Jesus.  We can “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We can then “cast all [our] anxiety on Him for He cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7).  We can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  We need to see worry for what it is so that it compels us to run to Jesus for help.  
Sending Prayer:
“Lord, You are so very good to me.  I know in my mind that worry can do no good for me, and yet it is so easy to sit and stew in worry.  Help me see the dangers that worrying presents to my soul.  Help me see it for what it is so that I can turn to You when I need help.  You are always eager to show me grace and mercy to overcome worry.  Amen.”
Read Matthew 6:28-30.
Jesus continues the argument albeit with a slight twist.  Instead of looking up to the birds, He has the crowd look at the fields of flowers that surrounded them.  As they soaked up their beauty, Jesus said, “See how the flowers of the field grow.  They neither labor nor spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” 
Jesus uses King Solomon as an example.  Solomon was king of Israel at the height of its prosperity.  Solomon had nearly unlimited resources at his disposal.  He built buildings, vast parks, and more to establish his reputation.  He ate the finest foods, threw the biggest and best parties,  and wore the finest clothes.  He also sat on what was likely the world’s highest throne at the time.  All of this, and Jesus still says that Solomon’s splendor doesn’t compare to a bluebonnet.  That is humbling, to say the least.
Jesus is giving us a lot to unpack there.  The idea is that Jesus is examining physical beauty.  Solomon gathered and used limitless “treasures of the world” to make himself look great, and yet a simple flower could surpass what he spent a life amassing.  That is how frivolous many worldly treasures are.  
Jesus is also showing us here how the “treasures of the world” can bring only superficial beauty.  It is God who makes a person truly beautiful.  Worldly treasures can dress up our bodies, but only the Lord can rejuvenate our soul.  We can try to make ourselves look outwardly good, but it is the Lord who makes us inwardly righteous.  Whatever we do to the outside of our bodies has little value if we have not been changed on the inside.  If the heart is the center of our being from which everything we say and do flows, then our hearts must be renewed by Jesus if we want to have true beauty in His eyes.  
Jesus calls on us to consider once again God’s desire to provide for His children.  If God clothes the flowers, will He not do the same for you?  You don’t have to spin and strain like Solomon for Jesus to bring new life to your soul.  All we need do is turn to Him and trust Him.
This is why Jesus follows it up with this phrase common in Matthew’s gospel: “You of little faith.”  It can feel like Jesus is getting onto us a bit there, and in a way, He is doing just that.  This isn’t as much of an insult as it is a challenge to stretch our faith beyond the condition in which Jesus found it.  It is to acknowledge where we are in our trust in Him and take the next faithful step toward an even deeper trust.  
I wonder where your faith needs to be stretched so that you trust Jesus for your needs.
Sending Prayer:
“God, I am thankful for Your provision.  You have always been so faithful to me.  I do trust You.  At times, I can lose sight of Your love and care for me.  Forgive me.  Let Your grace fix my eyes on Your goodness.  Stretch my faith that my trust and confidence in You would continue to grow.  Amen.”  
FRIDAY, 10/28
Read Matthew 6:31-32.
If Jesus were in a courtroom, today’s verses would be His closing argument.  
Jesus returns to His original statement when He states, “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’”  It turns out that Jesus is pretty serious about our not worrying over life’s most basic needs.  
As Jesus does throughout the Sermon on the Mount, He compares the practices of His disciples to that of the people of the world.  His point is that the lives of His disciples should look different from those of this world.  We serve a different kind of kingdom than that of the world.  We have given ourselves to a very different vision for our lives than others have.  This is what it means when we invite Jesus to reign over our hearts and lives.  
Jesus’ point is that those who are children of God shouldn’t worry like those who do not yet belong to Him.  God’s children have the privilege of a heavenly Father who loves them and cares for their needs.  The pagans have to chase after their needs because they have no one to look after them like that.  While God cares for all of His creation, His richest blessings are for His children.  
Here Jesus lays what is an essential foundational building block if we are to combat worry: understanding and accepting our identity as God’s beloved.  The scriptures testify to the reality that when we place our hope and trust in Jesus, we become children of God like Him.  By faith, we identify with Jesus and now relate to the Father as He does.  By grace, Jesus even shares His inheritance of new life and blessing with us.  
In Galatians 4:4-7, Paul calls this our adoption into God’s family.  This was a legal declaration that an adopted child had become a child and heir of the family.  In the Roman world, it was as if the adopted child shared the same bloodlines of the family.  This intimate connection is fitting given all that God has shared with us through His Spirit.  Through the Spirit, we are able to cry out to God as His children.  We belong to Him.  We are His and He is ours.  As one who belongs to God, we have the storehouses of His blessings opened for us to enjoy.  
I believe this is what Jesus is speaking to in our passage today.  We have to keep in mind that we are ultimately children of a generous, loving Father.  He wants to be present and bless us.  He wants to teach us and meet our needs.  All we have to do is follow this pattern of prayer Jesus gave us just a handful of verses before: “Give us this day our daily bread.”  
Sending Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I praise You for who You are.  You are worthy of my praise.  I’m in awe that You would send Your Son to liberate me from a life apart from You so that I might enjoy a life with You.  I know You love me; make Your love tangible to me today.  Help me trust in Your gracious provision in my life.  Give me the bread I need for today.  I trust that You will provide tomorrow as well.  Amen.”  
Read Matthew 6:33.
In all of Jesus’ teaching we’re exploring this week, this just might be the most important.  After warning us not to let our insecurities get the better of us like the pagans do, Jesus said, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  
Jesus is saying that if we run after all these things, then we’ll get nothing.  If we spend our lives chasing things to provide a sense of security, we’ll never have security.  Jesus, instead, tells us to seek the greatest thing.  He calls us to pursue that which is able to provide for our need for security and bring fulfillment to our souls.  Jesus commands us to seek after God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.  
What does it mean to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness?  That’s a great question to consider because we cannot really do anything to get His Kingdom or righteousness.  They are gifts to those who turn to Jesus.  Remember, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is inviting the people to experience God’s Kingdom.  Righteousness is given to us when we believe in Jesus.  So, what does Jesus mean when He says to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness?
The answer in short is to place our lives under God’s care.  It is to seek a life with God, as opposed to a life apart from Him.  It is to surrender our lives to Him.  The Christian’s new life begins first with a death, or a dying to self.  We give up life on our terms for a life with God.  This frees us to experience the fullness of life, which can only be enjoyed with our Creator.  Righteousness, or holiness, is the result of our growing in Christ.  As we come to know Him, we are shaped and influenced by Him.  New and abundant life are the result.  This is the life we want to seek after, a life under and inundated with God’s grace.  
Here is something interesting about what Jesus is saying here in Matthew 6:33. When we make security our ultimate goal, we’ll never have it.  It will always be just out of reach.  However, Jesus says if we set our sights on knowing and growing in Christ, we’ll have security and more.  If we seek after Him, He will give us the security our souls long for.  His presence will bring assurance.  His peace will guard our hearts and minds.  When we’re caught up in the wonders of His immense love, the troubles of this world just get smaller.  The Lord has a way of bringing a much- needed perspective to our lives.   
Sending Prayer:
“Jesus, Your grace is amazing.  Thank You for making this abundant life possible for me.  I place myself under Your gracious care.  I know You alone can lead me to the existence my soul yearns for.  I offer myself to You wholeheartedly.  Lead me deeper into a life with You.  Amen.”
SUNDAY, 10/30
Read Matthew 6:34.
Jesus concludes His teachings in Matthew 6 with another call to not worry about tomorrow.  “Tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own,” He said.  
There are a number of insights to be considered here.  One is that tomorrow’s challenges are often impossible for us to tackle today.  Why waste time today worrying about tomorrow that hasn’t come yet?  We could go on, but I want us to remember a story that will help us understand what Jesus is saying here.  
When God’s people found themselves standing on the other side of the Red Sea that had just swept over their foes, before them lay another set of troubles.  While their enemies had been conquered without their lifting a sword, their new enemy was a desert that lay between them and the Promised Land.  There in that desert, hunger and dehydration were an ever-present threat to their existence.  It took faith to take that first step out of Egypt.  It would take even more faith to take the first step into the desert.  
In places like the desert, tomorrow was never promised, but God was there to fight that battle for them, too.  When the people begrudgingly turned to God with their needs, He supplied them with water, quail, and even manna, a bread-like substance from heaven.  God’s gift of manna came with some interesting instructions.  God told them to gather only enough to cover the needs of that particular day.  If they took more, then it would rot overnight.  Now, why would God do that?  The reason is that God needed to teach the people how to trust Him.  He wanted them to go to bed that night believing that He would provide for their needs the next day, just as He had met their needs that day.  After the people experienced God’s goodness day after day, they would gain confidence in God’s faithfulness and care.  They would ultimately realize that they need not worry about tomorrow because God was with them and would see that their needs were met regardless of the challenges they faced.  
The lesson seems simple enough.   It turned out to be a hard lesson for God’s people back then, and at times, it isn’t any easier for us.  We know what it is to experience God’s gracious provision.  There are times we trust God to see us through a hardship, while at other times, our confidence in Him falls apart.  Fortunately, God is patient with us.  He does want us to learn the same valuable lesson He had in store for His people way back when they were exiting Egypt enroute to the Promised Land.  At the end of the day, God is our hope.  He will be present even when our 401k tumbles.  He will be present when our nightmare becomes our reality.  We have to learn to trust that God will be with us for tomorrow’s challenges just as He is with us in our challenges today.  It is only when we get that that we will be able to truly rest and have peace.    
Sending Prayer:
“Holy Spirit, give me peace as I learn to trust You more and more.  You have always made provision for my needs.  I have no reason to doubt you, so free me to trust You with all my heart.  Amen.”