Some people worry about the big things in life. Some people worry over every little detail. Some people worry about it all. Worry can consume us and depress us. It can weigh us down and debilitate us. Here is the truth about worry: God does not want us to do it.
When writing to the church at Philippi, Paul gives a very clear command: “Do not be anxious about anything…” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). These straightforward words mean exactly what they say: Don’t worry. Anxiety should not be a part of our lives. Not only should fear not cripple us, it should not even be in us. How can we accomplish this? Especially if we are prone to worry, like some are, how do we live this out?
Instead of worrying, we should pray: “…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). Prayer replaces worry. Rather than fretting a particular situation in our lives, we should spend that time and energy praying about it. Prayer shows that we are depending on God rather than depending on ourselves. Prayer shows that we are relying on Him to get us through the circumstance rather than figuring out our own solutions. Prayer lines our heart up with God’s will for any occurrence in our lives.
What happens when we pray rather than worry? “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV). Peace replaces worry. And not just any peace, but the peace that “transcends all understanding.” It’s a peace that those who don’t follow Jesus don’t have and don’t understand how we can have it. Others will wonder how we are holding up under the weight of the situations in our lives. It will not make sense to them. God very well might use this kind of peace in the hardest of times in our lives to open up doors of opportunity for us to say that Jesus is the reason I can have peace in the midst of this storm. He is the One seeing me through. I am depending on Him. This makes such a powerful impact on those who are not Christians.
How do we know when we’ve prayed enough about a certain issue in our lives? When we are no longer worrying about it, and we are leaving it in God’s hands. If we still have worry, then we haven’t prayed enough. If worry creeps back in, it is time to pray again. Be anxious about nothing. If you have worry, then it is time to pray.
God will use this peace that comes from Him to “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV). God will protect us. He will handle the circumstance. He will deliver us from it or see us through it. But either way, He will use it in our lives to grow us and bless others.
Worried? Pray. God’s answer will be peace as we trust Him.