“Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
When Paul coaches us, “be anxious for nothing”…… what he is saying to you very simply is: “do not be anxious about anything” and yes, it’s easy to react with indignation. You might be thinking to yourself, “c’mon really, Paul? Have you looked at my life lately? Don’t be anxious about anything?”
Since these are hard words to apply, let’s consider Paul’s advice thoughtfully to see how it bears up when the rubber meets the road, so to speak ….
The core of the word “anxiousness” is the idea of “a dividing care.” Worry, fear, and anxiety are like troubled sisters. But anxiousness evokes the idea of a dividing care; something that wakes you up at night, a distraction so nagging you can’t fully enter another conversation, a trouble that overshadows all your interactions. Basically, a care that divides your mind ….
There is no peace in that. When you have peace; things are in their right place ~ entrusted to God ~ and no care divides your mind. When Paul tells us, “be anxious for nothing” he is instructing us not to allow a dividing care about anything to enter into our hearts or minds ….
And quite often we tend to rationalize our anxiety:
“Well, Paul’s advice applies to most people in most situations, but if Paul considered what I feel anxious about, he would certainly make an exception. Clearly I should be, and have every right to be anxious about my burdens.” ……
Sound familiar? And truly, are our anxieties really so unique? We can all agree that anxiety is natural and understandable, but many things are understandable that are not excusable …..
And because we believe that God’s Word is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we believe that EVERY single word is specifically chosen by God ~ even this word “anything” …. So therefore, we must accept that the God who made us wants us to hear, “Do NOT be anxious about ANYTHING”
The decision to be anxious is the decision not to trust God about the specifics of your situation, and therefore, ultimately, the decision to give up your peace ….
Just as when we choose to sin, we choose to suffer; in like manner, when God tells us not to be anxious; He is not trying to rob us of something satisfying; He’s warning us about something self-destructive. Anxiety has nasty, proven side effects: irritability, depression, insomnia, fatigue, migraines, muscle pain, elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, ulcers, weakened immune system, susceptibility to overeat and overwork. The side effects of anxiety seep into every area of our lives: physical, emotional, mental, and yes, spiritual. Anxiety is obviously not healthy in the least ….
So how do we banish anxiety? “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” …. Very simply ~
We start praying. About what? Everything. Let me repeat that: EVERYTHING! There’s no wiggle room or creative way to parse this: pray about everything, and how? With thanksgiving!
Your money …..
Your children ….
Your relationships ….
Your health issues ….
Your job …..
There is no such thing as an “unimportant prayer, or prayer request list” whatsoever. Nothing is too trivial to be important to God. The guidelines are simple: Be anxious about nothing; pray about everything. Out with anxiety ~ in with prayer ….
And the final result??
“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (v.7)
In conclusion; what anxiety has plagued your mind this week? How do you feel this as hindered you in achieving peace? I encourage you to write down every concern you can think of in an all-inclusive “everything prayer list” and then take every care, large or small, and submit it to God; “casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
He cares about you, and for you. He is waiting to ease your load and give you rest:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Let us pray ~
Father God; forgive me for being anxious. It seems so much is outside of my control. In some situations, I cannot even see how my anxiety can lift, yet, I trust You, and I bow before You, my Sovereign Lord, Who is in control of everything. I Thank You that You are at work in my life and that no detail has escaped Your notice. What an awesome God You are, worthy of all my praise and worship. Displace and dispel the anxiety in my heart and mind with a deep, abiding sense of thankfulness and grace me with Your peace. I release it to You right now, in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen ….