Jesus not only gives us great advice, but he has the best advice. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus shares a lesson about being anxious. Anxiety, depression, worry, and fear are all too familiar words to us. However, it will be helpful to clarify something up front. Anxiety and depression are two different things. In this passage, he is not talking about depression, but anxiety.
We often associate words like these together and mingle them. But they are not the same thing. Anxiety is something we’ve all encountered. Most of the time it's an unhealthy worry about the future. We worry about the outcome of this, or their reaction to that… What’s next in our near future can be a scary thought.
“Do not be anxious.” Don’t merimnaō. This word Jesus uses multiple times is a verb. It means to worry, to be nervous, to over think, or care too much. We can certainly help this, and Jesus is telling us not to do it. He charges us not to be anxious.
Depression on the other hand is a noun, and it's not our fault. Now, I’m not a doctor or anything. So I can’t speak too much to this, but depression may involve treatment, examining cognitive activity, or even prescribing medications. You cannot control depression. Jesus is not talking about depression in Matthew 6:25-34. People who struggle with depression are not being disobedient.
You can control being anxious about what the future holds. The consensus is that anxiety is a sin in this context. Depression is not a sin, but not trusting in God is disobedience. We need to have faith! (cf. Romans 14:23).
Hearing this may not immediately make us feel better about our present anxieties. Though, anytime you hear Jesus say “Do this,” or “Don’t do this,” and we do the opposite of what he says, the results will never be good. Nor will our direction be the way to life.
Jesus’ line of thinking in Matthew 6:25-34 may be summarized as follows: God is our good master—our good creator, therefore he knows what we need, therefore he will provide for our basic needs, therefore don’t worry about these things, therefore seek God and his kingdom, therefore what can you do today?
We are to believe God and walk with him day by day. Yearly bread would be nice, but he is our daily bread. And he is good! Jesus doesn’t want us to be worried about what the future holds, but hold onto God and walk closely with him. The future can be scary. That is why it belongs to God!
Since I know God is good, and he is my Father, I have no reason to be anxious. As long as he is first in our lives, and we are obeying him, we have no reason to be anxious! Tomorrow will have its own troubles. What can get done today? Focus on making this day a good one. Today is a good day to have a good day.