Philippians 4: 6, 7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [New International Version]
It is time to say “No” to anxiety. God provided a step by step recipe to eliminate – not just manage – anxiety. Today, let’s resolve to adopt this recipe for the rest of our life.
When to do it? All the time
We saw earlier how we should pray. Now we want to know when, and why? Verse 6 says, “do not anxious about anything, but in every situation…” God is saying that there is no special case of anxiety where His recipe will not work. He is saying that whenever, and wherever anxiety kicks in, we should immediately enact these steps. We should deliberately decide “not to be anxious”. Then using that time we are no longer wasting being anxious, we should present our requests, lifting prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. We should do it all the time!
So why does it work?
At first, the reason God gives us for following His recipe may be surprising (verse 7). Why does He not start in verse 7 by saying “And you will receive what you are asking for”? This seems like it should have been the logical ending. However, upon closer inspection, we shall see how God is truly in the business of fixing problems permanently!
God says that doing what He instructs us to do causes us to be filled with His peace! In addition, He tells us that His peace, which not even the best of the brightest of human minds can comprehend, comes with the specific objective of keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Reading carefully these two verses, it becomes clear that the first problem here is actually not the stressful situation in which we are, but the anxiety that the situation has just caused. It is anxiety which is the biggest barrier to our solution, not the problem itself. That is why it is so destructive! So anxiety must be dealt with first.
Anxiety is in essence the absence of peace, just like darkness is the absence of light! And that is precisely what God gives us first! What we need is true peace, which only God can provide.
Going back to the mom-child example. Mom’s love and know-how will bring peace to the child even before the problem has been solved! And in many instances, the child will come to realize that the problem was not that big at all to begin with!
With the peace of God now in place, our hearts and minds are fiercely protected, and focused on Christ Jesus. With our hearts and mind secure from the attacks of the devil, the very situation – which caused us to be anxious in the first place – may still be present, but now will appear much smaller, its true size! And with that peace, we are now ready to wait patiently for the solution to fully materialize, knowing with absolute certainty that God will indeed bring the solution to pass.
God’s recipe is guaranteed to work, because of His Love and Power, all the time, and in every situation! Let’s learn to apply this recipe in our lives.