From Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we read a very familiar passage,
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 – NASB)
Anxiety! In some form or manner, anxiety plagues every human being that walks the face of this earth. Being “anxious” comes so naturally, does it not?
The English word anxiety means, “distress or uneasiness caused by fear of danger or misfortune.” So, due to something not going right, not going as planned, something interfering with what a person had intended to take place, “distress” sets in, “uneasiness” overtakes us, conditions are not as we desire them to be, and the result is that we become “anxious.”
The other day, while driving from one place to another, then to another, I became “anxious” because of the length of time it was taking me to get where I was going. Running into one obstacle after another that blocked my intended path, I became uneasy, irritable. It was a mild case of anxiety but nevertheless, I got wound up. As I did so these verses came to my mind, and I remembered God’s command: “Be anxious for nothing,” and I confessed my sin.
Author Jerry Bridges writes,
“Anxiety is sin . . . because it is a lack of acceptance of God’s providence in our lives.”
Do you believe in “God’s providence” in your life? Do you believe, as Mr. Bridges writes, that “God is orchestrating all circumstances and events in His universe for His glory and the good of His people?”
Providence! God actively being involved in the care and the direction and the guidance of the events and the circumstances of this world and its people, and especially in the lives of His called out ones.
Paul writes that we are to be “anxious” about “nothing.” Instead, we are to structure our lives with the knowledge that God is actively involved in working out His will in our lives (note: Philippians 2:12-13). We, in “prayer and thanksgiving” make “known” our “requests” to “God.” Then, we are to rest in that very real truth of His divine providence, that He is at work, that He is at work in our lives and that it is always for our good (Romans 8:28).
When we accept God’s will . . . that would be His agenda for us, and we submit to it and accept the divine pattern over and above our own personal agendas, “the peace of God,” a “peace” that “surpasses all comprehension,” a “peace” that actually “guards” our “hearts” and our “minds” from the dangers of anxiety, is the providential benefit.
Anxiety and providence! One is destructive and serves no good purpose, and God knows that and He tells us not to allow it to hold sway over our lives. The other is a sphere in which, if we orchestrate our lives, brings “peace.”
David believed in God’s providential hand. Note his words,
“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning (lit., “mediation”). Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to Thee do I pray. In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and . . . watch” (Psalm 5:1-3 – NASB)
David would, “in the morning,” offer up his “prayer,” his “requests,” and then he would “watch.” What was he watching for? To see how God would work out His will providentially in his life.
Brethren, “be anxious for” absolutely “nothing. Instead, be in prayer to God, make “your requests . . . known,” and then rest in the “peace” of knowing the providential working and care of “God . . . in Christ Jesus” toward you whom He has called.
Have a good day . . . and do not let anxiety overtake you. If it rears its ugly head heed the command of Scripture, pray, and then, knowing who it is that you pray to, be actively believing in His providential care, and be content.
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