“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Anxiety is among the top debilitating problems both outside and inside the church today. We live in a world with instant connection to just about anywhere in the world. When tragedy strikes across the world, we know it within moments. Radio, television and the internet give us ready access to news as it is happening. This generation is exposed to terrorism, catastrophic accidents, crime, financial ruin, etc. There are regular opportunities to be tempted to be anxious.
Added to all that is happening in the world, what happens in our own little corner, from being overdrawn at the bank, rebellious children, problem marriages and cancer, and we have the perfect conditions for continual anxiety. How can we help but to be anxious? The Bible commands us to “Be anxious for nothing”…nothing. If God commands us to do something it must be possible.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells us the cure for anxiety. Typically when trouble strikes, we get around to praying eventually. Somehow though, prayer doesn’t seem to be enough to knock out that anxious feeling in the pit of our stomach. The fastest way to alleviate anxiety is the one, two combination in verse 6. The verse does not just say to pray and supplicate, the part we so often miss is “with thanksgiving”. It is our heart of thanksgiving that dispels that anxious feeling. Thanksgiving does not come naturally during times of trouble, yet that is exactly what God tells us to do. We begin giving thanks for general things like creation, salvation, sunshine and move into giving thanks for more specific things. We can thank God because He is at work in this situation, He remains sovereign, He continues to work out His purposes for His glory and our good, and He is in the process of conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ, etc. As we do this, we can expect that “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6).
Diane Hunt is part of the Development and Addiction Recovery teams at America’s Keswick. In addition to being a Biblical Counselor, she is a Women’s speaker for retreats, conferences and events. She is a regular writer for Victory Call and one of the authors of Crossing the Jordan Bible Study. She has been married to her husband John over 28 years. She has 2 adult children, 3 grandchildren, 3 adult step-children with 7 grandchildren making 10 in all. She delights reading and teaching, but mostly laughing at the funny things her grandchildren say and do.
Originally published in Real Victory for Real Life Volume 1.