Red Letters #13: Against Anxiety


I walked into my bank on Friday and the topic among all the Tellers was the coronavirus. Also called COVID-19, network television and news sources are fueling the panic about this virus. There have been about 100,000 cases worldwide according to Johns Hopkins University. Twelve have died in the United States, and one man in Williamson County is quarantined at home with the virus. The U.S. Government has restricted travel immigration from China, and U.S. citizens returning home from mainland China are subject to health monitoring and quarantine. What the Centers for Disease Control recommends is just plain old common sense.

  • Avoid close contact to sick people
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze
  • Clean your hands

I like what Vice President Mike Pence did last week. He prayed with the coronavirus Task Force. When the photo of this dear man praying hit the news media, the press immediately started mocking him. The New Yorker ran a piece entitled “Trumps Screams At Pence For Not Praying Hard Enough…”. The Guardian stated “Mike Pence shouldn’t lead the coronavirus taskforce. He can’t be trusted ..”. John Stonestreet & David Carlson wrote at Breakpoint:

One secular research website headlined the photo with this take: “Symbolic of the moral and intellectual decay at the White House, a photo shows Vice President Mike Pence and his team trying to pray away the coronavirus.” Pence and his team were “wallowing in ignorant superstition and willful ignorance,” the site continued, suggesting that Pence prays because he’s a “religious extremist.”

Let me suggest something to the worriers among you. As the virus could be transmitted by money handled by unclean hands, I recommend that you let me come to your home and take all of your dirty money with me. I’ll make sure it’s properly disposed of by depositing it to our Building Fund. I’m willing to make that sacrifice for you. For those who are particularly nervous about it, I recommend you DO NOT go shopping at Walmart, Kroger, or any other store. Cash register receipts and boxes or canned goods on shelves were handled by people who might have been infected.

I don’t mean to make like of a tragedy, but the reality is – and I love you enough to tell you this – we live in a fallen world. Sickness comes. Sickness goes. Last week we had terrible tornadoes strike Tennessee, killing at least 24, with many still missing. Dear ones, tragedy can strike at any time. Nothing stops that person in the car next to you from drifting into your lane while they play on Facebook or text someone. You can be as careful as possible, do all the right things, and still get hurt. I bear a 1.5 foot scar and degenerative arthritis in my left leg, which, by the way, is now1 inch shorter than my right leg. I was going to the Air Force Base to work when a young boy ran into me, nearly killing me. He was sorry afterwards, but I’ve had to live with the scars and the pain.

Enough of this. Tonight our Lord Jesus is going to speak to us about anxiety. Let’s read our opening text responsively:

Responsive Reading Matthew 6:22-25 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life …

Take no thought” is the Greek μή μεριμνάω (mē merimnáō), which literally means “stop filling your mind with anxiety or worry. Stop troubling yourself”. The same phrase is found in:

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing (mē merimnáō); but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Jesus said “Do not worry about your life”. You cannot be the Light that God wants you to be if you are
consumed by worry and fears.

What Causes Us To Be Anxious?

What causes the believer in Christ to be anxious? Jesus tells us. He said:

Matthew 6:22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Christ calls us to be “the light of the world”. He started this “Red Letters” series with:

Matthew 5:14, 16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. … 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We who are saved by faith in Christ are to be “the light of the world”. We have believed on Jesus, “THE Light of the world” (John 8:12). Yet we cannot be LIGHT if our bodies – and minds – are filled with darkness. Jesus said:

The light of the body is the eye …

What comes into your mind through the eyes and the ears influences your thought processes. If the devil cannot keep you from Christ and keep you in a lost state, then the devil will do his best to make you act like the lost. He wants you wandering and confused, worried and anxious, chasing every dandelion seed and useless thought. Peter told us that:

1 Peter 5:6-9 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Remember the word merimnáō (anxiety, worry) that we studied at the beginning of this message? In the phrase:

Casting all your CARE upon Him (God)

Word Study the word “CARE” is a cousin to merimnáō (anxiety, worry), the Greek μέριμνα mérimna, (pronounced mer’-im-nah) which means “anxiety or worry about the things of this world”. Let’s put this all together.

When you were saved by faith in Christ this infuriated the devil. The devil wants the world to go to hell with him. The devil wants the damnation of all. The devil controls the world’s media, movers, and shakers. And the devil “like a roaring lion is constantly prowling, looking to see whom he can devour”. He wants to devour some with unbelief. He wants to devour others with fear and doubt. The devil never gives up. He is constantly pushing his agenda. The devil is behind the movers and shakers in our world. Peter tells us:


The believer is to resist the devil “in the faith”. Our focus – our eyes – must be on the Lord Who saved us. Our focus must be on the Word of God and prayer. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:22-23 … if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.

The word “single” is the Greek ἁπλοῦς haploûs, (pronounced hap-looce’) which means “whole, healthy”. If your focus is on the One Who saved you, the One Who made you whole and complete, the God-Man Jesus Who died for your sins and rose again from the grave to lead you, then your mind will be whole and healthy. But if your eye is focused on “EVIL” – πονηρός ponērós, (pronounced pon-ay-ros’) – “that which is hurtful, evil, or wicked” then your whole body shall be full of darkness. And Beloved, if you are “full of darkness” then how in the name of all that is holy can you be “the light of the world”. You cannot.

Your focus must be on Christ. Your focus must be on God your Father. Your focus must be on what GOD said is right, not what the world says is right. Your focus must be JESUS CHRIST. We are told in another place:

Colossians 2:8-10 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in {Jesus Christ}, which is the head of all principality and power …

The God that saved me is the God I must focus on.

Where my focus is, my faith will be.

Which Master Will I Serve?

If I am going to be the Light of the world, I cannot be double minded. I need to decide which Master I will serve. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The easy believism preaching that America has been flooded with over the past forty years has created a generation of professing “Christians” who are no different from the fallen world. Jesus Christ was always clear that (1) Salvation is a gift from God, received by faith in Jesus Christ Himself. But Jesus also taught that (2) If you are saved by faith in Christ, God expects you to serve Him and not yourself or the world. We are saved to serve. Jesus said:

Ye cannot serve God and MAMMON.

Mammon” is the Greek μαμμωνᾶς mammōnâs, (pronounced mam-mo-nas’). Mammon was the ancient Syrian and Canaanite god of wealth. Some versions translate “Mammon” as “money”, but that is incorrect. It is best to translate it as “Mammon” for our Lord meant it to be not just for money, but for any riches or things. Theologian Peter Lombard (Bishop of Paris) said:

Riches are called by the name of a devil, namely Mammon, for Mammon is the name of a devil, by which name riches are called according to the Syrian tongue.”

Albert Barnes in his Notes on the New Testament said “Mammon was a Syriac word for an idol worshiped as the god of riches”.

Mammon” as Jesus describes it is a dark devil, a demon, a thing distinctly separate from God our Father. We who are saved are saved not to serve sin, nor Satan, but the Lord Who loved us and saved us. The Apostle told us that once saved, we are saved to serve Him Who saved us.

Romans 6:1-2, 4-6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We do not serve Mammon, dear Christian. We serve Jesus Christ. We serve God our Father. We are indwelt by God the Spirit. The Apostle goes on to say:

Romans 6:11-18 … Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

No Christian who is indeed a Christian should be serving Mammon. Remember Judas Iscariot? Though he followed Jesus and was reckoned as an Apostle with the other eleven Apostles, he never was saved. Jesus said of Judas:

John 6:70 … Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

Dear one, if you are serving Mammon you are serving not Christ but the devil. The Christian is called to serve Christ. We are called to focus on and live for the One Who gave His life for us.

God’s Illustrations Against Anxiety

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (mē merimnaō) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Jesus now brings us to a therefore. We are not to focus on the devil’s ploys, or the world’s madness. We are to focus on what Jesus says.

Therefore I SAY unto you

Not what the devil says, nor CNN, nor ABC, nor even FOX. What does JESUS tell us? Jesus tells us:

  • Do not be anxious FOR YOUR LIFE. If you are indeed saved by faith in Christ, hasn’t Jesus promised us everlasting life? Now Beloved, you are NOT promised you will live on THIS earth forever. But you ARE promised everlasting life by the Lord Who never lies. There is going to be a day when we all will cease to be in this frame.

1 John 2:23-25 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God gave us the greatest gift He could give us in Christ. We belong to Him. We are Heaven’s children. We have eternal life. We will remain on this earth until the Lord wants us to come be with Him. Then we will head to Heaven. No amount of worry will change this reality.

  • As recipients of eternal life, DO NOT WORRY about what you shall eat or drink, or what you shall wear. If God gave you eternal life, then God will provide your earthly needs. Jesus now illustrates this by saying:

Matthew 6:26-27 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

We add nothing to our bodies by worry. As a matter of fact, we become more stooped over, nervous, and spiritually depleted by worry. The birds neither sow nor reap, nor do they store up anything for the hard times. Birds do not have savings or bank accounts. I don’t believe it’s wrong to save, but realize that the stuff you have is like a morning fog. As your day grows longer, that money will disappear. Trust God your Father. Trust Him! Our God is faithful.

Matthew 6:28-32 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

God sent His Son to die for your sins. Jesus Christ came to suffer Calvary for you and I. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Will God abandon that which He paid so much for? You are priceless to God – He will not allow you to be neglected. God will take care of you.

Christians, if we are going to reach the world for Christ we must stop being like the lost Gentiles. We must keep our eyes upon Jesus. When we worry, we should go to God in prayer, and cast that worry on to His shoulders. God is able! God is able.

What are we to do? What should we be concerned about? Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. But I do know that my calling and yours is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are to live for the One Who saved us. We are to please Him. May God enable us to do so while we can. In Christ’s name. Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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