Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do Not Be Anxious

In the New Testament letter to the church in Philippi we find this encouragement:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4: 6

Over the years I have found this to be one of the most challenging and frustrating verses in the Bible.  I have a tendency to be anxious about everything; big things and small things.  I started to make a list of all the things I’m anxious about and it got too long for this email! As I watch and listen to people around me it seems as if I’m not alone in my anxiety.  We are an anxious people living in an anxious world.

I know that my anxious worrying is useless.  Jesus once asked: 
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  (Matthew 6: 27)  In case you missed it the answer is “no!” But worry does more than waste time.  What I am discovering is that anxiety is exhausting and takes a toll on me mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I love the way Charles Spurgeon puts it:

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

So how do people, like me (and maybe you), who have a tendency to be anxious about everything learn how to not be anxious about anything?   I’m convinced (and daily discovering) that the closer I walk with Jesus the less anxious I become.  The further I am from Him the more my anxiety grows.  So when I am feeling anxious the first question I ask myself is:  Have I drifted away from Jesus?

The words of Psalm 139 help draw me back to Him:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Psalm 139: 23

The anxiety producing challenges you may find yourself facing this week don’t have to empty you of your strength.  Ask God to test your anxious thoughts and then with thanksgiving – because He’s a big enough God to handle your challenges – present those anxious thoughts to Him.  Then, just maybe and with enough practice, you can begin to live free of worry and not anxious about anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment