I don’t know about you, but to me there are many challenging verses in Scripture…easy to read, but hard to live out in daily practice. One of those verses is the first portion of Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything…” This is not to say that we shouldn’t have legitimate worries or concerns, such as when we face a job loss, a physical threat, or distressing medical test results, etc. The idea, however, is we are not to let anxiety or worry about life circumstances monopolize our existence and cause us to be dominated by overwhelming fear, because such ongoing activity demonstrates a lack of faith/trust in God. But having said this, the challenge of this verse remains a daunting one. The fact is, if we will be honest with ourselves, we worry far more than we care to admit. I read a devotional recently where I believe the writer realistically addressed the nature of this subject:
“How often do you find yourself worrying about something? We worry about tomorrow, the economy, our jobs, and friendships. We worry about our kids, our parents, and our health. One thing that life and more than two decades of counseling individuals has taught me is that people often feel anxious. Personally, I know I’m often caught in the clutches of fear and worry. Some of us have the proclivity to experience it to a greater extent. Other experience it to a lesser degree, but nearly all of us have an ‘anxious core.’ Jesus understood that worrying can be a consuming struggle. So He took the time to talk about it in one of His most famous sermons (Matthew 6:25-34). At one point He reasoned, ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?’ (Matthew 6:27). The obvious answer is ‘Nope.’ He concluded, ‘So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today’ (Matthew 6:34). In other words, don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow. You have plenty on your plate right here and now. Jesus also taught us not to worry about basic needs: ‘whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear’ (Matthew 6:25). He pointed out that just as God cares for the birds and flowers, He has more than enough to provide for our daily provisions. Most of all, Jesus encouraged His followers to ‘seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need’ (Matthew 6:33). We can rest in God and His saving restoring influence at work in the world around us – trusting that our heavenly Father will provide for our needs (Matthew 6:30). Our worries are no match for His power and promises.”
Good words! In summary, the answer to our anxieties is essentially and simply to trust God, no matter what! But how do we practically do that? Let me suggest at least two ways from Philippians 4:6-8: 1) Maintain ongoing communication with God. After God, through Paul, admonishes us to not be anxious about anything, Philippians 4:6b-7 says: “…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That’s a command and promise from God, so give it a try! 2) Maintain a clean, clear mind. Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent of praiseworthy – think about such things.” Again not a suggestion from God, but a command fro our good and God’s glory. Maintaining a pure thought process is absolutely essential if we are to hear what God is trying to communicate to us as He brings peace to our hearts in life’s trying, anxious moments.
Hey! Keep the faith, stay sweet, remain pure, and don’t let anxiety worry you.
Grace and peace to you!
Your friend and pastor,