by Matthew C. Harrison
“Do not be anxious,” says Jesus (Matt. 6:25). Why? God takes care of the birds, doesn’t He? And you are far more valuable. Won’t He take care of you? Your worry will not add an hour to your life (Matt. 6:27). Don’t worry about clothing. Why? The lilies are here today and gone tomorrow, and they are more glorious than the great king Solomon in all his splendor. Won’t your heavenly Father clothe you? Are you worried about food and drink? Why? Your Father knows you need these things. Hasn’t He always provided them?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
When Jesus first preached on this earth, He cried, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus is Himself the kingdom of God, and He delivers Himself to us through His Word.
The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.
How does God’s kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. (Small Catechism, Second Petition)
This word of promise helps us face our anxieties and cry out in confidence to our Lord and Savior:
- I’m anxious! You bore on the cross all the anxiety of the world. Lord, continue to slay my anxiety and give me Your Spirit.
- I’m discontent! You, Lord, carried my anxieties to Golgotha. Lord, forgive my sin.
- I’m jealous! Lord, slay my sinful flesh by Your word of law, and give me Your kingdom anew by Your Gospel. Cause me to rejoice in the blessings You give to others.
- I’m worried! All worry was subsumed and sentenced to death when You said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Lord, grant me contentment in You and Your promises.
- I’m greedy and self-centered! You, Lord, gave Yourself totally, for the totality of my sin. Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew my feeble spirit.
- I’m afraid to confess Your name! You, Lord, confessed before Pilate. You confessed Psalm 22 on the cross. Lord, strengthen my feeble knees and open my lips, and my mouth will praise Your name “to a people yet unborn” (Psalm 22:31).
O blessed Jesus, I seek Your kingdom. O Jesus, I seek Your righteousness. For Your sake, I pray with St. Paul, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:8–11).
Lord, take my anxiousness and grant me faith in Your fatherly divine goodness and mercy through Jesus Christ. Grant to me Your kingdom, Your righteousness, and render me content with Your blessings.