[Jesus said], “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, ESV).
I remember the first time I read this verse as a new believer. I did not fully comprehend what Jesus was saying, particularly when He says, “Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” But I have come to realize that it contains an essential insight for overcoming worry and anxiety. When you fully grasp what Jesus is saying, you will be liberated from much unnecessary worry about what may happen in the future in any given circumstance. We can gain a clearer understanding of it by looking at other Scriptures that illustrate this same truth.
For example, in Deuteronomy 33:25, God made the following promise to the tribe of Asher as they were about to enter into the Promised Land: “As your days, so shall your strength be.” They were to occupy a region inhabited by the Canaanites whom they were to drive out of the Land. They were about to face some very difficult days and God wanted to assure them that He will be with them, giving them the strength they will need when they will need it.
It’s a promise of God’s provision. God will give them strength for each individual day they face, for every kind of day they face, and for all their days until the end of their days. They will run out of days before they run out of God’s provision.
An essential insight for overcoming worry
An important truth to remember is that God’s provision will be there when we need it, and not before. As Jesus says, “sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” In other words, we are to take the challenges and struggles of life a day at a time. Worry and fear overwhelm us when we run ahead of God’s provision. Worrying about the future is similar to an overdrawn checking account. You get penalized by the bank when you run ahead of your deposit. God promises to give you a daily deposit of grace and strength, but only enough to cover the challenge you are facing that day. Worry is the result of running ahead of God’s deposit of grace. You are bringing the perceived troubles of tomorrow into today, and, as a result, you are overdrawn on God’s provision for that day.
Did you ever observe someone going through a very difficult experience and say to yourself, “I would never be able to handle such a circumstance?” However, what this biblical truth reminds us of is that in our own strength, we can’t. One reason we feel as though we could not cope in a particularly difficult circumstance is because we have not yet received God’s provision for that day.
Psalm 68:19 reminds us of a very comforting and reassuring truth — “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up.” God carries us through our burdens day-by-day. Sometimes those burdens are light and sometimes they are heavy. But whatever they are, God will provide the strength we need for that particular day.
Jeremiah, in spite of dismal circumstances, found comfort and hope in God. He testifies that God’s “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God offers a fresh supply of His mercies every day. Enough to meet the need for the challenges of that day.
What are your greatest fears and worries in life? What things occupy your mind in the days ahead? The promise of God’s provision assures us that no matter what may happen in the future, God’s strength will always equal the challenges of the days ahead.
A clearer understanding of Matthew 6:34
The implications of what Jesus says in Matthew 6:34 can be paraphrased something like this: Don’t worry about tomorrow, for today’s troubles are enough for today. Each day brings its own burdens; so, don’t bring tomorrow’s troubles into today. When and if a hard time comes, God will give you the grace you will need to deal with it, whatever it may be.
Jesus assures us that God’s sustaining grace for tomorrow will be there when you need it, and, for every day thereafter. But, He also informs us that God does not give His grace to bear the troubles of tomorrow today. He only gives it a day at a time, as is needed, not as it may be anticipated.
Worry is paying for tomorrow’s troubles before you get God’s deposit. You get Monday’s strength for Monday’s burdens. If you run ahead emotionally to what may happen on Tuesday or Wednesday, or next month or even next year, you’re on your own, and you will be overdrawn and overwhelmed with fearful and anxious thoughts.
We desperately need this truth about God. If you grasp it and believe God for it, you will be liberated from many unnecessary fears and worries.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and overburdened today, it may be because you are running ahead of God’s deposit. You may be looking ahead at something that seems unbearable. The inner strength you will need for it is more than you’ve ever needed in your life. But do not be overwhelmed by worry and fear. When and if it happens, God will deposit everything you need to deal with that burden, and one day at a time, He will get you through it. And that’s a good reason not to worry!
If you would like more information on overcoming worry, join us for the 2017 ACBC Annual Conference. At this conference, there will be an entire section of breakout sessions devoted to the topic of overcoming anxiety and Armand Tiffe will be teaching one of those sessions.