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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Be anxious for nothing. What? Me worry?

Pastor Richard Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

(Not currently meeting in person)

There are times when certain passages or words in scripture can throw us for a loop because of the current common use of the word(s) in our reading and conversation.  One that I found early on was Paul’s writing, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).  

Many years ago, my understanding of being anxious was in the sense of wanting something very much; similar to a child as they anticipate Christmas getting closer each day.  It stands to reason that telling a child not to be anxious for the arrival of something they want so badly resembles the effort of herding cats. Children are going to continue being anxious for that morning, but hopefully not anxious as the primary dictionary definition: “experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about imminent events or something with an uncertain outcome.” 

This certainly helps us understand what Paul is telling us in scripture, that when we read this precept, we’re inclined to understand that we are not to have anxiety or worry about anything. Christians try to live by what God has ordained for us. Do not worry! This is a clear exhortation, especially in the time that we live in, and the rest of this verse, “but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”  

This does not mean a simple formula, “if you’re anxious, try prayer; it works.” God, through the pen of Paul, is telling us here, in the 21st century, that to have anxiety or worry about anything is a sin. Mainly, our worries are about things in this life that we have very little control over anyway. Putting such importance on such things to the point that we’re distracted from more important things is evidence that our treasure isn’t in heaven, but really on earthly things.

Another way of phrasing this scripture text is to not be troubled with cares. When we are born into God’s kingdom, we have the assurance that God cares for our needs and God has a plan for us. The Bible says that God fashioned the days for me before I was born. When I surrender to Christ, that surrender includes giving God the controls of my life and letting Him lead me into the life He has fashioned for me. 

For assurance, the very next verse reads; “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

The only way to be free from our anxieties is to rest confidently in his plan and submit to his will. Anxieties will not just disappear when we commit to trusting God. We must know and apply his word to our lives. To be anxious for nothing, we must see God’s goodness, present our cares before the throne of grace and leave our cares in God’s hands.

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