Our guidebook to living our best life — the Bible — tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
Despite this, life gives us so many reasons to worry. We worry about our family, our friends, our finances, our health, and our society.
In light of that, why would God urge us not to worry? By telling us not to worry, God isn’t telling us to pretend that problems don’t exist or that we shouldn’t meet our daily obligations.
Rather, God is encouraging us to not become so consumed with worry about tomorrow’s issues that we keep from addressing today’s.
Instead of wringing your hands over the issues tomorrow might bring, here are three reasons you shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, as well as three things to do to help you focus on today.
3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry about Tomorrow
1. God is in control. Life situations can change in an instant, from your job status to your relationships to your health. However, God is unchangeable — He is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow (Malachi 3:6).
Because of that, you can breathe easier knowing that the unchangeable God sits on the throne for eternity, no matter who’s causing you strife at work, at home, or elsewhere (Psalm 9:7).
God promises to bring good out of every situation for those who put their trust in Him (Romans 8:28). When you put your faith in God and His commandments, you stop living for your selfish desires and start to reflect His power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
This doesn’t mean that you’ll always understand the Lord’s ways, especially when disaster strikes (Isaiah 55:8). Rather than try to make sense of life’s tragedies, put your trust in the King’s promise that His plan is to prosper you and give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
2. God wants you to look to Him, not the future when you’re troubled. God wants to guide you through your daily struggles.
Like any loving parent, God wants to be the voice that tells you which path to take when you’re at a crossroads (Isaiah 30:21). Also, like any loving parent, He can’t help you if don’t allow Him into your life first.
By feeding your worried thoughts about tomorrow, you’re averting your eyes from the God of hope. Further, in worrying excessively about tomorrow, you’re blinding yourself to all the blessings that already surround you today.
That’s a pretty ungrateful way to live. It also sets a bad example for your children and others who look to you for your Christian witness.
3. God equips you with everything you need to face each day. The Bible gives you the daily bread you need to be sustained throughout your day.
In other words, when you study God’s Word, you’ll find all the instruction you need to be confident in your choices, resist daily temptations to sin, and remain at peace despite the concerns you face.
Consider how God sustained the Israelites in the desert with just enough manna for the day (Exodus 16:16-19).
When the Israelites collected extra manna to store up food for tomorrow, God caused that additional manna to spoil because of the Israelites’ lack of trust in His daily provision (Exodus 16:20).
Likewise, fretting about tomorrow also shows a lack of trust in God. God doesn’t want you to test His promise that He’ll care for you daily. He wants you to believe that He’ll come through each time.
What Can You Do Instead of Worrying?
To keep from being swept away by anxious thoughts about the future, put your mental energy to better use by planning for what you can and praying for God’s guidance at every step.
Planning and praying are both action-oriented. When you’re busy planning, you move out of the unproductive state of worrying about a problem and into the productive state of looking for ways to solve it. In a similar way, when you pray, you’re giving God a chance to work in your life.
Although most Christians already know how to pray, how to best plan takes more practice. In the verses preceding Jesus’s instruction not to worry, Christ tells us how we can best plan to keep anxiety at bay.
1. Store up treasures in heaven, not on earth. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
When you store up treasures in heaven, you take seriously your path as a follower of Jesus. You make choices to reflect your Christian beliefs rooted in the love of God and the love of neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). You do this by living a life of obedience to God’s Word and service to others, in Jesus’s name.
Living this way sets a high but worthy bar. It requires daily mindfulness as to your words and actions, and — thanks be to God! — a healthy dose of God’s grace to keep you going along the way.
Even in times of distress, you can take heart in knowing that by serving the Lord Jesus, you will be rewarded with heaven as an inheritance (Colossians 3:23-24).
2. Choose healthy activities and influences. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).
What you choose to see each day can affect the way you feel and, as a consequence, the way you conduct yourself.
If you choose to surround yourself with healthy, positive influences, you’ll feel that positivity in your spirit and emanate some of that light outwardly.
In contrast, if you choose to focus your eyes on sin, eventually that darkness will take hold and warp the way you feel, act, and perceive the actions of others.
If the eye is the lamp of the body and the purpose of a lamp is to help you find your way, keep your eyes on the good things in life to best illuminate your walk towards God.
One way to do this is to choose your daily activities and influences wisely. Otherwise, you risk becoming part of something sinful that can cast shadows to darken the path towards God.
3. Beware of false idols. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
It’s easy to live in pursuit of worldly things to the point of turning those things into idols. One of the most common idols is money. There’s no question that money is necessary to live a healthy and safe life.
The problem is when you become so focused on accumulating wealth that your heart desires the almighty dollar more than it does the Almighty God.
Scripture warns to guard your heart above all else, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). If your heart is fixed on amassing money, your words and deeds will be driven by those greedy motivations.
Then, it’s only a matter of time before your avarice impacts the people around you, alienating those who love you and attracting those with solely materialistic goals.
More important than alienating others in your pursuit of false idols is damaging your relationship with God.
A “master” is someone that you serve. In serving your worldly desires, you’re bound to make harmful choices to feed those fleeting relationships.
In living for the Lord, however, you’re called to abandon false idols and walk towards the reward of eternity.
The Lord knows how easily our daily troubles can snowball, and how easily we get overwhelmed as a result.
In telling us not to worry about tomorrow, God is asking us to trust that He’ll give us enough strength to face each day as it comes and that He’ll do it all over again tomorrow!
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Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.