We live in uncertain times. I think all of us can agree with that. Words such as “bankruptcy,” “job loss,” “job insecurity,” “personal debt,” and “fiscal cliff” seem to dominate the news lately. Dwelling on all of these things adds a tremendous amount of stress to our lives. As a result, we develop feelings of distress, discouragement, and discomfort in our lives.
What can we do, if anything, to obtain relief from these burdens and pressures we feel everyday? The answer to this question is found in the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7. In these two verses of Scripture he writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” From these two brief verses come three principles that will help to alleviate the burdens we bear in life.
First, our Lord through his apostle is telling us that we need to develop the right mindset as we deal with our burdens. Simply put, we are not to be anxious about anything! Truly, our anxiousness about a matter will not make the situation better nor will it make us feel better. Anxiety is in effect an unproductive emotion. Jesus provides us with a wonderful discourse on this topic in Matthew 6:25-34. I urge you to read this passage, for in it he tells us we should not worry nor be anxious because God will provide what we need when we need it.
Second, Paul tells us that we need to take all our anxieties and give them over to God in prayer. This makes sense because most certainly God is better able to deal with our anxieties than we are. He is able to help us in our time of need because he knows what is best for us, and he also has an infinite amount of resources at his disposal to bring us the help we need! Let us also remember concerning this particular principle that we are to approach him in prayer in a spirit of thanksgiving. During this week when we focus on the holiday of Thanksgiving, let’s not put as much attention on the good food (as hard as that may be to do) as we do on being grateful for having the food in the first place, as well as the roof over our heads and all the other blessings that God gives us that we take for granted. (Especially the spiritual blessings that come from being a Christian!) When we pray with gratitude, we can learn the lesson that focusing on being grateful for what God has already done for us assures us he will continue to take care of all of our needs.
And third, God tells us that if we pray, then peace will replace the anxiety we feel. And not only will peace replace our anxiety, but that peace will continually protect our hearts and minds. All of this is possible for those who take the time to cast their cares upon God. Knowing these truths, we need to ask ourselves why we waste another minute of our lives being anxious, worried, burdened, and overwhelmed. Let us give God the glory in our lives by being filled with joy and peace rather than anxious.
Hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving!