Distracted by Worry and Wants
Day 17— Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear
This is part of our newest devotional book release Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear — 30 Devotions to Battle Fear and Anxiety. Click to download a sample or purchase the full devotion.
“Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you” Luke 12:29–31
Years ago, I flew to Chicago with my husband to visit his father. We landed just in time for lunch, but that wasn’t on the agenda…at least according to my father-in-law. He was just so excited to show us around Chicago — his hometown — that he didn’t want to slow down for a silly lunch stop. He took us on an all-points tour of the (then) Sears Tower, Lake Michigan, Moody Bible Institute, Wrigley Field, his old stomping grounds, as well as the family bike shop off Diversey Avenue, just to name a few hotspots. Unfortunately, my father-in-law had no idea how little I was paying attention to his tour of Chicagoland. My stomach had taken over my brain and all I was “worrying” about was getting something to eat, and eating soon! Finally, by 4 p.m., he decided it was time for us to go get and experience a “Chicago-style” hot dog. It was then, and then only, that I was able to focus on where I was and whom we came to visit.
This story illustrates the tension we all often feel in life to fixate on temporal things. Typically, the “things” we worry about are not eating or drinking on any given day. But we can easily become distracted by some personal desire in our lives — letting it pull us away from the most important focus for life. I don’t know about you, but I can be trucking along and doing just fine in my faith walk. In those moments, I’m able to stay focused on God, His kingdom, and kingdom purposes, all because my life is going well and my stomach is well fed. But the moment my earthly appetites emerge — whatever they might be — I’m tempted to turn away from an undivided focus on God and worry about my next earthly “fix.”
Yet, you and I will never be ultimately satisfied by what this world provides. For me, that Chicago hot dog didn’t go very far. I was hungry for another meal just a few short hours later. And it’s the same way with any appetite that we focus on or worry about in life.
The only true and lasting satisfaction is found in a complete and undivided focus on God. Does that mean we should ignore our hunger pangs? That’s not the point of Jesus’ words here! But it does mean that our hunger for “stuff” should never become so all-consuming that we end up turning our attention away from God. Best of all, Jesus offers an amazing promise to us in verse 31. When we keep our focus completely on Him day in and day out — ”these things will be provided for you.”
Some could easily interpret this to mean God will give us everything we want from this life on earth. However, this is really about God giving us everything we want and need in our eternal life in His kingdom. That reward and blessing, my friends, is way more glorious and satisfying than anything this earth can provide — including a Chicago-style hot dog! Oh yeah! Way, way better than that!
Written By Beth Steffaniak