“It’s a problem-free phil-o-so-phy …”! Disney fans know this! “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King. It’s a wonderful song, and it may even help me remember the spiritual discipline to which I have committed. ‘Hakuna Matata’ can work as a mnemonic as long as I also remember that I am not actually committing to a “worry-free philosophy.” Such a way of seeing isn’t really possible, I don’t believe.
When I talk about seeing without being anxious and living worry-free, I am talking about a spiritual discipline rooted in the way of Jesus. “Do not worry about your life. Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:25a, 34a). Rather, “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (v.33). In His commentary on Matthew, theologian Stanley Hauerwas insists that these instructions from Jesus only make sense when they remain connected to who Jesus is.
In other words, I commit to these words of Jesus and to refuting worry not as an act of my will, but instead as an expression of my dependence on him. All spiritual disciplines lead to the disciple reiterating her or his dependence on Jesus. Why can I actually be free of worry? Because of who Jesus is and because I remain in close connection with him.
Thus, refuting worry as a spiritual discipline will always include prayer; it will always include study; it always includes worship; it will always include evangelistic conversations. Why? I remain in close connection to Jesus through prayer, study, worship, and evangelistic endeavors. Refuting worry is not a philosophy. It is a declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord in the New Age. And furthermore, with his coming in human flesh, with his death and resurrection, the new age has started.
We live in the days when the old age, the age of sin and death, and the new age, the age of the eternal kingdom of God overlap. Following Jesus, we lean in to the new age.
Wednesday, February 26, Lent begins. That night we will have an Ash Wednesday worship service to begin our church’s journey to the cross. I pray that my personal life will be define by this theme: “Fear not! Jesus is Lord.” During Lent, I encourage all Jesus-followers to prayerfully examine their lives and to commit to spiritual disciplines will draw each one’s life into alignment with the way of Jesus.