“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
We, the born-again are also prone to worry about the future even after having received the remission of sin. These are worries such as how I am going to live from now on, what I should do to eat, what I should do to wear, what I should do to make money, and how I should live. In this way, in our hearts, we have worrying hearts about the future. I see that those among the born again who are still young are apt to worry about the rest of their lives because they do not understand that God helps them and they have not experienced that God leads their way. Of course, it is only natural that we worry since we are human.
Every one that is born into this world works hard for himself. They have not been living by the faith in God, and had the habit of living by relying their own efforts and strength, so even after they are born again, the first thing they worry about is what they should eat, what they should drink and how they should live. However, the Lord tells us what the born-again should think about first: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” He says, “Seek the Kingdom of God, the righteousness of God. First unite with the church and seek the work that does the work of God, His Kingdom, and saving people. Pray! Then, I will fill all your needs in the areas of the flesh such as what to eat, what to drink, and how to live.”
I also thought about my future as soon as I was delivered from sins. “How should I live? What shall I eat? What shall I wear? What shall I do for a living?” I worried about such things. If there had been certain sets of things that I had to do, then I could have done that, but when there were not any certain fixed things, I didn’t know what to do at that time. Those who had saved some money before receiving the remission of sins may be less confused. However, someone who has been only in academia before receiving the remission of sin such as me is even more confused. I could not but worry about how to live in this world.
The young brothers and sisters in our church, who are students or the beginners in the real world, could also be discouraged by the thought of how they can live in this world. What should we do to eat? What should we wear? There are many such worries.
However, the Lord says to all of us, “Do not worry about such things. That is what those who have not been born again worry about.” Then we can have the heart in our mind, “Our Lord is just clueless about our situations. This is a problem of reality, and how can we not worry about that? The problems of food, clothes, and place to stay depend on it right now. How can we not worry about that?” However, the Lord firmly says to us, The Lord says, “That is what the Gentiles worry about. Do not worry about how you can live. Think about the righteousness of God first and living your life as you carry out His righteousness.” The Lord says, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
In fact, if we believe what the Lord said, there is nothing we can argue against Him. We worry about our lives, but the Lord scolds us in straight talk, “Do not worry about the materials. That is what the Gentiles ask for. That is what those who have not been born again ask for. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you. O you of little faith?”
Dear fellow Christians, how do the lilies in the field grow? Does it automatically start a sprout and grow and blossom? It is because God sows them, gives them sun light as they need, and gives them rain and makes them blossom. The Lord says that God takes care of such grass of the field, then how much more He would take care of you, who are a righteous person.
Dear fellow Christians, there is much difference between the worries we have and the assurance that comes from God’s Word of the Truth. We are worried so much about our future now, but there is not much we can say since He shuts us up by simply saying, “Consider the lilies of the field.” God gives sunlight and rain to raise the lilies so well. Then, would He not take care of us, who are His children? Have the faith that trusts in God. Then, you can communicate with God.
What shall we do to communicate with God? There is no other way except to believe in God’s Word. When we believe in His Word as it is, we can communicate with Him by faith. If God says so, when we believe in Him according to His Word that ‘God will clothe me, feed me, help me live,’ we can relate to God and become one, be able to communicate with Him, and be answered as our faith.
Consider the Lilies of the Field
Do you have faith that confesses like this?―“God raised the lilies of the field. I am one of God’s people, a child of God, and God is my Father and shepherd, so I believe that He will feed me and clothe me.” The only way to shake off worries is to believe. “God, I believe in You!” There are no other words than this before God. There are no other words we can say.
Dear fellow Christians, when the Lord says one thing, can we say something else arguing against that? In today’s scripture passage, God promises us that He will provide everything we are in need of when we first seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. When we take this passage to ourselves by faith, we cannot say something else. We cannot make any excuse other than that we do not have faith. “I can raise the lilies of the field. If then, can I not raise you? I can raise an annual plant, if then, can I not raise My children?” Now, believe in Him.
If we believe this, we may not think this way: “Rain is something that God makes to come from the sky anyway, and the sun light is something that He gives anyway, and therefore the grass grows, but we cannot live just with rain and sun light only. Do You not know, God, how hard we have to work to live?” Of course there is no way God does not know. If the Lord says He knows us all, then we must believe that God will also give the ability, wisdom, blessings that will enable us to live in this world as well. If the Lord took a lily to make an argument to tell us that God provided everything for the right time, then we can believe that God will provide everything at the right time to us, who are God’s children.
The Lord gives us another example to evoke our faith in Him, saying, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
However, some people of unbelief interpret this verse absurdly, saying, “Look! Look at the bird in the air! How diligent they are! If we work hard in this world as those birds that fly in the air, we can live well in this world.” They put up arguments such as this. Since these people do not have faith, they make arguments such as this, “Ah, if a man works hard, then he can have enough food and live in abundance.”
Arguments like this are different from the argument of faith that the Lord has told us. Who could not say that when we work hard, we do not have to worry about food? However, does everyone become rich just because he works hard? That is not the case for everyone. There are so many people who work at their place of employment for months or even over a year, but have not yet been paid.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” What the Lord has said by this verse is not that we can have food when we work hard. The Lord says that God our Father, who saved us, provides us with what is needed to eat, drink, and wear to maintain our lives in this world. This means that God will feed us and clothes us, the righteous. This means that God will take care of any righteous one who lives for the spread of the gospel. The main point of this verse is that: “When you are my children, would I starve you, not clothe you? When you are my children, while you live in this world, while you have your life, while you have works to do in this world, would I not take care of you?”
I also felt absurd when I read this passage before I was born again. But that is not the case anymore. When I first met the Lord, I did not know what to do. So, I first thought that I was going to have a business to earn a living. As a matter of fact, I had no other plans in my mind. Truly I was dismal when I first met the Lord through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because of the worries of how to live, what to eat, and what to wear, the worries of how to spread the gospel after receiving salvation took a back seat. How I should unite with God’s church also took the back seat, and I was in agony about what I should do when I was busy trying to make a living for myself. But the Lord says, “That is what the Gentiles ask for.” However, I rebelled against His Word very often saying, “That is your logic and my logic does not follow that right now.”
When I looked ahead for how I should live from then on, it was dark. When I looked around my circumstance, it was even worse and I did not know what to do. I did not know anything at that time, but one thing I was sure of was that God became my Father and that the Lord had blotted out all my sins. And then, the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” This meant that the Lord gave me the gospel of the Truth that enables me to live with faith. And He also said to me, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
“Ah! This is the way I can live!” I made up my mind to devote myself to God’s work. I held onto this word and started to pray for everything that I needed. I prayed: “Father God, I do not have any money. God, I want to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but I do not have any money. Give me money. Give me materials. I do not have a building. Give me a church building. Give me the souls. I am trying to prepare books to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but I do not have a press. Give me a press.”
Now, my little faith had grown and I ask for something big doing the work of God. I have experienced that God has answered to everything—whether it is big or small. This makes me grow gradually as a man of faith. This means that we become men of faith without realizing it.
When something happens, I come to think: “God gives if we pray! And there is nothing of which the brothers and sisters need to worry! God helps! God helps the brothers and sisters! If the brothers and sisters are in trouble and have difficulties, God gives if we pray!” Our faith grows gradually as long as we pray in faith. This is why the Lord says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Our God is able to give to us exceedingly abundant above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
Since we believe this, we ask the Lord boldly. Rather than starting on something on our own, rather than trying to apply every human means, we pray: “God! Give us this. We really need it.” Now even if we cannot see any positive sign with our eyes, we ask God to give us. Why? It is because prayers make things happens, so it is better than our own ways that we try. When I was born again, I was planning to run a pot sales business to earn my living. But as my faith grew, I came to pray rather than trying to do something on my own.
If we have faith in God, we first pray to God for His help. Even if there are no answers, we diligently pray. “God, Do this for us. Do that for us.” When we pray for a long time and constantly, we see that God answers. Then we receive the answer, and pray again with another prayer topic. As such, we experience that we receive answers from God. Therefore, we become people of faith. We come to have the stronger faith that believes in God. We come to believe firmly that the Lord feeds us, clothes us and makes us live. When we live for the righteousness of God, we develop our faith in God.
Therefore, when we work for the righteousness of God, we do not worry much about what we should eat from now on, or what we should drink and wear. Whenever we need something, we turn to prayer: “God, give to us again. Give our brothers and sisters materials. Give us health. Give us this. Give us that.” We turn to prayer. This doesn’t mean that we have to just sit and pray, and do nothing of our own. We have to pray first, and then seek for God’s righteousness. Then, God gives us what is needed to eat, drink, and various other things needed to live as well as everything else. I hope you believe that He gives everything.
In reality, we have been able to live and do His work well until now, because God has provided everything for us. Therefore, for the future as well, God will truly give us the righteous what we need to wear, eat, and drink, which are essential to our lives. Not only these, everything else that we ask for the Kingdom of God, God gives in abundance.
Brothers and sisters, this is why it is a blessing to live in God. We do not live with what we have, but with the faith in God. This is why the righteous can live with wealth for the flesh and spirit. If we truly live with the faith that believes in God, we live in abundance for the flesh and the spirit.
God told us: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This means we must live in union with His Church for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, for the gospel, and for the salvation of the souls of the others. The Lord says for us to live for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This means that God will give everything if we live for the righteousness of God. This is the promise of security that God assures you and me. This is the covenant that God made with those of us, who are born again. If we give our hearts and live for God’s gospel, God will surely guarantee our lives by supplying what to eat, drink, and wear. God will at least guarantee that we live with wealth for the flesh and the spirit.
Dear fellow Christians, live for God. Are you nervous about your life? Live for the gospel of God. Live for the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Fix your mind on the work of God. If you do that, your future is guaranteed. When are we most worried as humans? When our materials, no matter how small it is, that we lived on are going to run out, we feel most insecure. We feel rather comfortable if all we have runs out and we are empty-handed. Since we have nothing to save and have no reservation for anything, it is easier to try again with faith in the Lord. However, we are more insecure when we do not completely run out and try to live with what is still left. How nervous do we become in a fear that we might lose even what is left?
Dear fellow Christians, whether we have anything left, or do not have anything left, just live for the Lord, for the gospel, and trust in the Lord. Then the Lord fills us not only with what we have, but with abundance. It is because our Lord fills us in abundance when we live for the gospel, and helps us to live as we manage with what we have.
That’s it. Bear this in mind today’s scripture passage: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is because if we live for God, God cannot help giving us everything of which we are in need.
There was a brother, who was a tailor. One cannot make much money being a tailor. He said that he had to stay up several nights to make one suit. So when he did much work for the church, he ran out of all his funds. Then, he started praying before the Lord. Since then, people ordered a lot of training clothes rather than suits. Some company started ordering training clothes by the bulk of several hundred or several thousand, so when he started the business, he started making plenty of money. Therefore, he could still live even as he was serving the Lord.
Living is living whether he makes suits or training clothes, but there are many brothers who can serve the Lord even more because they prayed when they were in trouble. In reality, there are many examples like that. Anyone who has lived for the Lord has that experience. We, the righteous do not only live by what we have. We serve the Lord with what the Lord has provided because the Lord fulfills us. If we live only with what we have, then we shall run out soon.
There was a widow in Zarephath in the Old Testament. At that time, there was a severe drought for years from God. Because of the famine, she ran out of everything and the last thing left was only a handful of flour in a bin. When she mixed the flour with water and kneaded, there came a lump of dough that would quench the hunger of only two or three people. She rolled the dough with a roller to make bread. The Jews make bread to eat. They roll out the flour dough to make it flat and when the fire goes out and there is only a charcoal fire left, they put the dough on it.
When she was going to make a loaf of pan-cake like bread for the last time for her and her son to eat, she thought that they would starve to death after that. Then a servant of God, Elijah, appeared.
“Woman, do you have anything to eat?”
“Yes, I have this much flour.”
“Then bake that and bring it to me, so that I may eat.”
Dear fellow Christians, because the servant of God told her to bring it to him, she did. She thought that she was going to eat this last piece with her son, and this was all she had, she gave it to the servant of God to eat. The widow gave the servant of God the last piece that she had. It seemed that there was no hope for her. However, something incredible happened at that time. The servant of God prayed after eating it. Then, the flour did not run out in the bin. The Bible records this.
Dear fellow Christians, the Bible says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Those who are not born again swindle others out of their money with this verse. This happens frequently in everyday life. But in reality, leading the souls to live by faith and to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit is not deception, but the Word of God. If we truly live for the Lord, the Lord truly provides for us. Believe it. You have to believe it.
Dear fellow Christians, repeats after me. “Lord I believe in You!” You may still feel insecure, right? Then you can shout it out. “I believe!” Have you lived with your strength until now? Then hold onto God even more with faith. If you hold onto something more desperately, it still runs out. You cannot prevent it even with your fairly strong power. This is why the Lord tells us to live by the faith.
We should live with the heart for the Lord and serving the Lord whether we have much or not. Then the Lord will surely provide you with whatever you need. If we serve the Lord, then He has the responsibility to provide for us. He supplies us abundantly, because He can be served continuously by us. Since He is omnipotent, He will surely fill us even if it is just to keep His covenant if nothing else.
Our life does not depend on our will, but on our faith. We, the servants of God as well as all the brothers and sisters, should live by faith―the faith that experiences what God has done for them when they lived for the Lord. If we live for ourselves, our faith cannot grow. When we live for the Lord, our faith in the Lord can gradually grow. Dear fellow Christians, do you know that blessings of God are like a bonus to the people who live by faith? A bonus is something given in addition to what is usual or expected.
God gives many bonuses besides His salvation. We live because God gives us many blessings as a bonus. If He does not give us any bonus, but only gives us what we deserve, then we cannot live. If only we receive what we work for, would lazy ones not all die? God gives many things in bonus, and that is a portion of His blessings. And we live along with God who gives us His grace. Therefore, we live by the faith that believes in God, who saved us.
Dear fellow Christians, if we believe in God, then, God works in us. Believe in God. Believe in God even if it is hard. God’s promise is that He will listen to us if we believe in Him. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Experience how God gives “all these things” to you as you live. I mean you should experience how God fulfills, how He provides for you. How can you experience God’s blessings of fulfillment and provision through His mercy if you have not lived by faith?
Dear fellow Christians, live by faith: “I believe in You, God! I believe that you will clothe me, feed me, and that I do not live with a naked body, that you will clothe me and let me live so that I am not ashamed. And I believe that you will feed me. I believe that you will let me live my life.”
Believe like this. If you believe, God will have to give it to you. Is our God a God who cannot do that? Is He a God who cannot feed? God is a God who is powerful enough to do all that. Therefore, we must get rid of our own measures, and believe and trust in God the Omnipotent. Believe the Word. Trust! Trusting in the Word is faith. Dear fellow Christians, do you understand?
Do You Still Have Worries about Your Future Life?
Do you still have worries about your future life? I also had many worries when I was a senior in college especially, that is, when I was about to graduate. When I was a freshman, I went to school like a bull. I had nothing to worry about. “Hey, let’s go eat some pancakes.” I was unconcerned, but by the second semester of my sophomore year, I started getting worried. ‘I will be graduating soon. Oh, then what will I do. Oh…I really was quite troubling.’ When I thought about it, it really was a great trouble. I came to lose even my appetite.
In reality, not only students, but also everyone cannot but worry about ‘how should I live’ and ‘how should I eat,’ even after they are saved. However, it is a new start for those who are born again. If we are born again, what we did in the past, what kind of jobs we had, how we lived do not matter any more. However you lived with whatever in the past, now that you are born again, you must make a new start. We are making a new year. A new era!
In Exodus 12, it is written, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2). God gave a new calendar to the Israelites in commemoration of their exodus from Egypt, escaping from their slavery. The Exodus was the new start of the Israelite’s history. They crossed the Red Sea, the sea of death, and came to set their first steps toward the Promised Land. They were not the people of Pharaoh any more, but became the people of God instead.
Like this, from the moment we were born again, we are the new creations. That is why we should start a totally different new life. It is not an extension of our past life. We are now people who died with Christ and rose again with Him and have a new life. As it is written, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). All things have become new to the born-again. We study with new things, we go to work with new things, we serve the Lord with new things, and we live with new things. Let’s live with new things from then on. In some sense, the life of the born-again may seem like simply an extension of their past life, but in reality, when God see us, it is a totally different way of life, and a beginning of a new life. All is new.
We are new creations once we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and delivered form all our sins. You and I are now new creations. Now, old things have passed away. All your weaknesses, your fear, and your old way of life that used to rely on only human ways are gone. Now you became a new creation. Now we live through faith.
Dear fellow Christians! We will live by faith as in this verse, “Now the just shall live by faith.” First is by faith, second is by faith! Third and fourth is also by faith. When falling, we shall live by faith, and when walking stiff, we shall live by faith―whatever situation we are in, we live by faith. This is what faith is all about. Faith made us live. Faith has made us alive! This is the correct answer. This is why the Bible tells us this message, today’s scripture passage, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear’ Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” This means not to worry about the future. Why? It is because it is up to the Lord. This is why the Lord told us not to worry about the things in the future. What would be accomplished because we worry about the future?
The Lord says to us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” We should live today or tomorrow with faith. We challenge the future with faith before God. We ask God with faith, “God! Do this for me. Do that for me”. Prayer is challenging with faith that one believes in God and believing that He will do it for us. That is all we can do, and our own will and oath for what we will do for the future are useless. We cannot guarantee our future or ourselves anything. Nothing is for sure. That is why God, the Lord of all hosts, told us the scripture lessons today, so that we do not have to worry about what to eat, drink and wear.
Dear fellow Christians, we should not worry about how we shall live, how our flesh will be taken care of. Let’s not worry. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” This is how tall I am, but would I get taller even 1cm because I worry? Would it happen if we worry about it all night like this, ‘This is what I want to be!’? There is nothing that works because we worry. Do we gain bread, or do we earn any money?
We should not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition present your requests to God. Pray fervently and ask with faith in God. That is what we have to do. Believing and praying are what we have to do. If you are worried, ask God for help. Trust in God. Fellow Christians, live your life by believing in God. Do you understand? ―Yes.― We live if we believe, but we die if we do not believe.
Dear fellow Christians, if you do not believe in God, you die. If you rely on all the possessions you have, they will run out. Just as the peapod opens up and the peas run out, they all run out. How many peas does a peapod have? Does it have a hundred peas? No, only four or five peas. Dear fellow Christians, let’s think about it. Can you live your entire life with only what you have, such as, your power, your ability, your health, and your wealth? I mean you should count whether or not you can do all the human obligations to your children, to your parents. Dear fellow Christians, can you count? No matter how much wealth we have, if we have life with only that, we cannot live. Then what is it that we need? We need to have faith in God and His Word.
There is one thing that I really want to shout out to you. That is to believe in only God. Even in you cannot see God with your eyes, and having faith in Him seems to be too ungrounded, you should believe in Him. Just believe in Him. That’s it.
The Bible states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony” (Hebrews 11:1-2) Even if no evidence is seen to the eye, and no tangible thing to grab onto with the hand, we must ask God for anything with faith: “God, give me. I believe! Take care of all of my needs―food, clothes, and housing problems in my life. Help me live a worthy life.” If you believe in Him and pray for His help, He answers. However, if you do not believe, and live relying on your own strength, your own calculations, then you die. You will lose even the small amount of what you have and become a real beggar.
The verse “the just shall live by faith” means that the only way a righteous person can live is by faith. “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38). Dear fellow Christians, there is nothing but the faith that believes in God. Dear fellow Christians, do you believe? Faith is not for something that belongs to others. You do not raise your faith to give it to someone else. The faith is yours.
We can live only by believing in God and God’s Word. It works out according to our own faith in God and His Word. It is more important to believe in God’s Word, to pray with faith in God, and to live as we follow His will rather than worrying about anything.