“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
It is so easy to find ourselves concerned and stirred up about situations in our lives, but this verse is a true reminder to us of the manner in which we should be facing these very moments. Paul is not writing as one who does not understand but rather from a prison cell, he pens these words of life and strength.
He begins by telling us what not to do. Do not. Maybe he is saying make an active choice not to, or be intentional when circumstances arise not to. Refuse to be anxious, afraid, don’t become a basket case, uptight or worried. This sounds easier said then done. However, again he is speaking this from a place of having no idea what was going to unfold in his life. What would his tomorrow bring? While in so much uncertainty he says, refuse to become concerned about anything, any one thing, at all. Refuse to become worried at all? This is a real challenge for me. I tend to find lots of things to concern myself with, even when I have some element of certainty in my life. I worry, I fret, and I become anxious. He is saying, don’t do it.
Then he offers the way in which we can combat it. If in everything, all things, each thing I will choose to pray, worship, commune with the Lord. If in each thing, as I commune I bring my requests and appeal to the Lord about the things that press on me. And if I do them in thanksgiving, with an attitude of thanks. I just might find that my anxious thoughts have scattered. There is something about a thankful heart that is at peace.
He does not tell me to pretend they don’t exist. He knows that they may very well be real, but he tells me to take them with a grateful heart and present, offer, entrust, devote, and lay these requests, desires, concerns before God. Our very personal God who loves and is involved in our every moment. Paul tells me to bring my anxieties, with a heart of thanks in communion, to my God who hears.
Applying this Word could really turn an anxious heart into a trusting heart, communing with Abba and living in tremendous peace. It all starts with a choice to refuse to follow a familiar pattern and be willing to shift into a God directed life.
Looking forward to your thoughts.