Now today’s text illustrates this with a specific evil condition of heart, namely, anxiety.
Stop for a moment and think how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things. So if anxiety could be conquered, a lot of sins would be overcome.
But what is the root of anxiety? And how can it be severed? To answer that we go to our text in Matthew 6. Four times in this text Jesus says that we should not be anxious.
1. Verse 25: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.”
2. Verse 27: “And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his
span of life?”
3. Verse 31: “Therefore do not be anxious.”
4. Verse 34: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow.”
The verse that makes the root of anxiety explicit is verse 30: “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothes you, O men of little faith?” In other words Jesus says that the root of anxiety is lack of faith in our heavenly Father. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the results is anxiety.
So when Hebrews says, “Take heed lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief,” it includes this meaning: “Take heed lest there be in you an ANXIOUS heart of unbelief.” Anxiety is one of the evil conditions of the heart that comes from unbelief. Much anxiety, Jesus says, comes from little faith.
This is the kind of connection we are going to see again and again in the weeks to come. The root of a sinful condition of the heart is unbelief in the living God.