If you’re one of those people who obey this passage with something close to consistency, I applaud you. Here’s what Paul writes:
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6).
Just to make sure we understand exactly what he’s commanding, here are a couple of alternate translations:
- Do not worry about anything . . . (NRSV, NCV).
- Don’t fret or worry. . . . (The Message).
Raise your hand if you haven’t disobeyed Paul in the last 24 hours.
Do you have kids? Bills? Health issues? Job uncertainties? Anxiety about our country?
So here’s Paul again: Don’t worry about anything.
What I’m tempted to do is to qualify Paul’s “anything.” I want to think, “Well, I know we shouldn’t worry about most things, but what I’m worried about is really significant. After all, it’s my kids, or my bills, or my ___.” (Put your joy-killer in the blank)
But we probably shouldn’t qualify the “anything” here . . . he didn’t put an asterisk beside it. It seems like he really means what he says—don’t worry about anything.
I don’t always do that very well, do you?
The key is in what follows, of course: “but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Worried about your kids? Thank God for them, then pour out your heart to God about them. Health problems? Thank God for how he’s blessed you, then talk to him about whatever’s on your heart.
The same applies to our jobs, our bills, our country, our everything.
It’s easy for me to write this and considerably harder for us to practice it, but God says too much about it for us to ignore it.
As Christians, we should turn our fears and anxieties over to the Lord, throwing our worries at his feet and walking away with a confident smile on our faces.
Don’t worry about anything, God tells us. He’s got it all under control. Let’s focus on that as we spend time with him this week.