The Antidote to Worry
The Antidote to Worry
Do you worry? I think most of us worry at times. Yet I know God doesn’t want us to go through worry, anxiety, or fear.
I was reminded recently in an email devotional of a favorite passage which I have not paid enough attention to lately: In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests made known to God, and the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.”
It is almost impossible to perform a negative like “Don’t worry,” “Don’t get drunk,” or “Don’t hate.” Indeed, the way to get rid of negative thought and behavior is—with the aid of the Spirit-- to fill the void created by a negative with positive thought and behavior. “Don’t worry; instead pray to God.” “Don’t get drunk; instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.” “Don’t hate; instead love the Lord your God with all that is in you, and love your neighbor as yourself.” “Don’t fear; instead trust God who loves you more than you know.”
So the antidote to worry is given by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7. I’d like us to go through what he prescribes step by step.
First, he says, don’t be anxious about anything. Anything means anything. No possible happening or event or person should cause us to worry! With God’s help we must stop.
How do we overcome worry? Paul says we do it by talking to God (praying) about everything! Yes, in each and every situation of our lives (cancer, doubt, fear, abandonment, boredom, temptation—to name just a few) we need to talk to God about it!
Paul uses three words for talking to God. First of all he uses a general word for prayer. To me this means that our Father wants to hear-- and accepts—whatever prayers we voice in a particular situation. Secondly he uses a word that can mean petitioning God for others or ourselves. Whatever needs we sense for others or for ourselves, we can—and should--bring these freely to God. Finally Paul gently reminds us that we must always, in each and every situation, never forget to thank God!
We can tell God about our problems or those of other people, but we should never stop there. We must learn always to begin giving thanks in all situations! And when the floodgates of thanksgiving open, then we begin to be really changed.
Paul says that when—no matter what the situation-- instead of worrying, we pour out our hearts to God, ending up with thanksgiving, that the Peace of God will always begin to flood us. In fact he says that God’s Peace will keep our hearts and minds in Christ.
We will find that the hard situations did not take us from Christ but that God’s Spirit, active in our prayers, kept us in Christ.
Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column first appears in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter news.