Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
I have heard this passage of Scripture many times and it is even one I have memorized and quoted often. But as I read it today I realized that this one passage of Scripture really says a lot and I wanted to break it down and focus on what each part of it means.
Do not be anxious about anything… My Study Bible says that this word for anxious refers to a “self-centered, counterproductive worry”. That summarizes most of my worrying quite well. Worrying about my money, my time, what’s going to happen in my life. That is self-centered. And since the act of worrying itself is not actually producing anything (except sleepless nights and stressed out days) it is by definition counterproductive. There isn’t a whole lot of situation-changing action involved in worrying. So after carefully analyzing the first part of this passage, what have I learned? Don’t be anxious about anything! (Amazing how I came to that conclusion.)
The Bible is clear that God is going to take care of our needs. He doesn’t promise to always do it the exact way we think we want him to do it or in the perfect timing according to our timeline. But he does promise that he’s got it all under control. Nothing surprises God and nothing is too much for him to work out for our greater good and to accomplish his plan for our lives. God does not want us to fall. But if we do, he will pick us up and put us right back on our feet.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
– Matthew 6:25-34