Paul calls us to “aspire to the realm above.” John the Baptist says, “The kingdom of Heaven is upon you.” (Matthew 3: 2) Jesus says, “Is there a man of you who by anxious thought can add a foot to his height?” (Matthew 6: 27) Jesus points to the impossibility of anxiety changing our circumstances. He tells us our worries accomplish nothing of value, asking: “And why be anxious?” (Matthew 6: 27)
As we set our minds on things above, we are called to leave bitterness behind. Paul writes, “Have done with spite and passion, all angry shouting and cursing, and bad feeling of every kind.” (Ephesians 4: 31) We are instead to “be made new in mind and spirit, and put on the new nature of God’s creating.” (Ephesians 4: 23-24) We are not to lie but “speak the truth to each other.” (Ephesians 4:25) Whatever comes from our mouths should be “only what is good and helpful to the occasion, so that it brings a blessing to those who hear it.” (Ephesians 4: 29-30)
Jesus tells us, “‘You have learned that they were told, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you this: Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. If a man wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two.’ ” (Matthew 5:38-42) Jesus commands us not to judge; rather we are to forgive. “For if you forgive others the wrongs they have done, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, then the wrongs you have done will not be forgiven by your Father.” (Matthew 6: 14-15)
As we “aspire to the realm above,” the things of the world become less compelling. The “bad feeling of every kind” is — hopefully — lessened.
Jesus asks us, “Why are you such cowards?” He exclaims, “How little faith you have!” (Matthew 8: 26-27) Yet, He calls us friends, saying, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 8: 22)
As Jesus’ friends, we need only pray: “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17: 5) Help us, Lord, to “aspire to the realm above.”