Food and Clothes: Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:22-23, The AROMA Approach

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” Luke 12:22–23, NIV

Worry interferes with the Kingdom work of the Christian because it shows misplaced priorities. What does Jesus teach his disciples?Let’s use the action engagement steps of the AROMA Approach to study this passage more closely and see what God wants to teach us our worry and his provision.

Arrange the words of the verse to examine more closely

Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus is saying by taking the words apart and grouping them.

Do not worry

  • about your life
  • –what you will eat
  • about your body
  • –what you will wear

Jesus then adds “for”, indicating that he will explain the reasons for the first part of the verse.

-life > food

-body > clothes

So we can arrange the passage like this:

Do not worry

  • about your life
  • –what you will eat
  • —For… life > food
  • about your body
  • –what you will wear
  • —For… body > clothes

A common rabbinical approach to preaching in the time of Jesus involved arguing from the lesser to the greater as Jesus does here. God is the one creates life and sustains the body (the greater things) so he can surely do a lesser thing like providing food and clothes. We don’t need to worry because the God who created and sustained will care for our every need.

What does this mean?

The purpose of food is to sustain life. Jesus will argue later that we can’t add time to our lives. Since that’s true, and our “length of days” is in God’s hands, why would we worry about the lesser, the food that sustains life.

The purpose of clothes is to cover and protect the body. Jesus says later that we can’t change the height of our body by worrying so how much more we should not concern ourselves with clothing. Jesus teaches us not to be concerned about that which can kill the body but the One who delivers spiritual death.

Jesus will explain further about why we should not worry as he discusses God’s provision for ravens and flowers as a reassurance of how much he cares for us. Jesus previously warned his disciples what they should be concerned about, spiritual things.

Read and Re-Read

God’s compassion is clear. He knows we will tend to worry but he wants to show us a more excellent way. Jesus doesn’t give the command and stop teaching. He wants to understand why we need to combat worry and he will go in to show us how.

Orient Yourself to the Context

Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, a journey that will end in his sacrificial death for his followers.

On the way, he is training his disciples to pursue his Kingdom even after he leaves them. Later, he will reveal that the reason to not worry is to free up your focus and activities, your heart, mind and will to seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness through sacrificial service.

Jesus modeled an earthly example of overcoming worry to serve others as he washed his disciples feet right before he was given to be crucified. Facing a horrific death that he knew was coming, he modeled servant hood in complete faith and trust in his Father.

How much more we can trust God instead of worry in our everyday needs? Jesus paved the way for us by showing that only in being willing to give up life, fully trusting God, will we be able to walk in newness of life.

When we replace worry with worship, everything changes.

  • We worship by obeying and Jesus commands, “don’t worry”.
  • We worship by admitting God is all- powerful and can care for our needs
  • We worship when we recognize God is all-loving and he WILL care for our needs.


I wrote the prayer below as my meditation response to this passage. It helped me reflect on where I fall short in avoiding worry.

Agree- What Message Does God Give From This Passage?

Jesus is very clear: Don’t worry!

Don’t worry about life or the basic necessities of life.

Jesus is more concerned about spiritual things and that’s where he wants our focus.

Lord, sometimes I look around and I worry. What will become of my life? Will I have enough food? Yet, you command me not to worry. You, my Creator who knew me since the beginning of time, know that worry does not help me. You alone are worthy of my focus and praise. Remind me to worship only you and not my worries. Help me leave all my worries at the foot of the cross where you died as a sacrifice for my sin. Amen.