Anxiety and the Peace of God

Zach W- DITL PhotoBY: ZACH WARRICK

EMAIL: zach@lifeassembly.com

BIBLE TEXT: Philippians 4: 6-7:  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

PERSONAL REFLECTIONPaul writes in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” As someone whose anxious mental gymnastics periodically rival the on-field efforts of professional athletes, I’ve often struggled to find peace in the middle of anxiety. So when Paul tells us not to worry about anything in Philippians 4, I admit that I get irritated. I’m probably not the only one.

“Yeah, Paul,” we say, “but you saw Jesus in a divine vision. You wrote most of the New Testament. What do you have to worry about?” Only when we consider the fact that Paul was beaten, persecuted, shipwrecked, and (eventually) executed are we forced to admit that maybe Paul knew what he was talking about in the anxiety department. Even so, too often it feels like our lives are determined far more by anxiety than by peace. Job pressures, spousal stresses, familial situations, school loans, overdue library books, or cluttered kitchen sinks… Anxiety exists in a variety of disguises, and there are days when our worries dominate us.

Yet Paul argues that anxiety should not limit our fulfillment in God. God’s peace, His empowering presence which extends beyond the boundaries of our own anxious hearts and minds, is available to us constantly. In verse six, Paul gives us the formula by which to topple anxiety and to relinquish our hearts again to God’s peace. We must tell God what we need through prayer. That’s the first step. Don’t hide any of your fears or worries or anxious thoughts from Him. He knows your heart and desires to speak to you, just as you should constantly speak to Him. Next (and here’s the tricky part), we must give thanks to God for all He has done. Thankfulness is the antidote to anxiety. Gratitude, if practiced consistently and authentically, will replace the fear which too often tries to hold us captive. God has done so much for us, and reflecting on His love, grace, and power will remind us that He is ultimately in control.

God’s peace comes to those who recognize God’s power over even our most pervasive fears. So tell Him your needs. Then praise His constant and unfailing goodness. No worry can withstand the all-consuming love of God.

PRAYERLord, give rest to our anxious hearts and minds. Help us to remember your power and grace in our lives and that your love will ultimately conquer all our fears. We thank you today- Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Zach Warrick is a Nashville native, the pastoral assistant at Life Assembly, and a consummate coffee-drinker. He loves writing and watching cartoons with his brother among other things.

 

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