Do Not Be Anxious | Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6 ESV

Life is one gigantic string of endless possibilities. We all make plans, but none of them are set in stone. Someone may desire to live a long, healthy life as a rich man, only to die young and a pauper. Many things in life are simply outside of our control. No matter how much preparations we make, life will often take completely unexpected turns, for better or worse.

When any of this happens, the natural inclination of the human heart is to become anxious. In some cases, the stresses of life build to such a level that the person actually has an anxiety attack. Fortunately, the Bible is the most applicable book ever written, and it does not forget to deal with such issues as anxiety.

Shockingly, however, the Bible’s answer for anxiety is merely not to be anxious. Most anxiety sufferers would argue that such a response is kind of like telling someone sick with pneumonia to stop being sick. There does not appear to be any rational way to cease being anxious. You cannot simply turn off worry and stress.

Happily, the verse does not leave us with an impossible command to satisfy (which would bring upon even more anxiety!). Instead, God gives us an alternative to being anxious: pray.

Followers of Christ are not meant to definitively stop being anxious just because the Bible says so, as if being anxious were a switch that could be flipped on and off. Rather, in anxiety’s place, God tells us to pray to Him, to make our requests known to our Father.

As Christians, this should make complete sense. After all, anxiety is often caused by the unknown or the lack of control, while prayer is the act of coming before the God of the universe, who knows and controls everything. Thus, the act of making our requests known to God is all about surrendering our stress of the unknown and uncontrollable to our all-loving, all-knowing, and all-controlling Father.

Prayer is the finite placing confidence in the infinite.

This is the only true answer to being anxious: pray to the God who is in control and calls us His children. The following verse gives a great promise as to the result of such prayer, saying the peace of God that is beyond understand will guard our hearts and minds in Christ. When we pray to the Father, we surrender our anxiety, and God grants us peace.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not be anxious about anything.

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