Friday, September 4, 2015
Be Anxious for Nothing...
"Be anxious for nothing…"
Easy to say, hard to do.
That's the problem with pulling four words out of a letter - they become over-used and misunderstood. If all we had were these four words, it would be like the Bob Newhart clip of the psychologist who, after hearing the troubles and feelings of his patients, would look at them and yell, "Stop it!" As funny as that scene is, it's just not that simple.
But we get way more than four words and to stop after "nothing" would be irresponsible. Here's what we get:
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
When you're anxious, bring it to the Lord. Cry out to Him but do it with a thankful heart that you know the God of the universe, that He made a way for you to access Him, that He loves you and hears you, and is intimately involved in your life. Pray with confidence that He cares, He can and will intercede and that ultimately He knows what is best for you. Pray and be thankful.
And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Mmmm…the peace of God. What a great promise! This peace, which is for the most part inexplicable, is not because we've prayed, but because we've prayed with thanksgiving. To have a thankful heart encompass your fears is to put God in His rightful place, on the throne of your life. How can you walk into the presence of God and not fall in thanksgiving? So when you pray, drench your concerns with thanksgiving - turn your heart to the blessings in your life and then bring your concerns. God's peace will then guard your heart and your thoughts - why? Because the larger He gets, the more you rest in His care.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise dwell on these things.
Here we get our support to the first four words. God knows that our anxiety comes from our thought life. What are you marinating in? Anger, bitterness, worry, frustration - a bad conversation between you and a friend, spouse or fellow employee? Where is your mind taking you? How much of your waking thoughts are consumed by trouble, strife, fears and concerns? The Lord, in telling us not to be anxious, tells us now what to think about. Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent and worthy of praise - okay, stop for a moment. What are you anxious about? Does it fit in these categories? Then, don't just "stop it" - change it! What in your life fits in these categories? That is what you need to dwell (marinate) on!
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me,
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Practice these things - put them into action. Don't be forever learning and ever applying - get going. Here's a suggestion - carry a journal with you and when you find yourself fretting, write down your thoughts. Then test them against the list of what we are supposed to be thinking and decide to set your mind on something more uplifting. Then, WITH THANKSGIVING, go the the Lord and thank Him for your salvation, your adoption, your justification, your redemption (if you don't know what those are, then maybe a little studying would give you some pretty awesome things to marinate in) and then ask Him to help you where you are anxious. Then get your mind on something else, or go FIX the problem and move on with your day.
I am so thankful that we have more than just four words, though a command from the Lord should be enough for us to act. May the peace of God dwell richly in your lives as you walk in obedience with Him.