Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:4-7 NASB (emphasis added)
There are three apostles responsible for most of the writing in the New Testament: Peter, John, and Paul. For the last two days, we’ve looked at what Peter and John had to say about anxiety (worry, fear, apprehension, timidity, etc.). Today, we’ll examine what Paul says about this subject. What we’ll see is that all three men uniformly viewed anxiety as having no place in the mature Christian life.
As you see above, Paul says “Be anxious for nothing.” Remember that Peter said, “…casting all your anxiety on Him…” (1 Peter 5:7). Remember also that John said, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18). By three witnesses, therefore, we can know with great confidence that God does not want us to consider anxiety a friend or ally of His.
Paul had not been one of the twelve original apostles, but he learned, as they had, that Jesus walked without fear and He wanted the same experience for His disciples.
As we have seen, Jesus drew His strength from the Old Testament, which included passages such as this verse that has been part of one of our daily meditations:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me…”
– Psalm 23:4 NASB
Notice again that David does not write, “I fear only really bad evil.” Instead, he says, “I fear no evil.” Jesus brought this conviction to new heights…and taught it to His disciples.
At the root of most of our sins will usually be some form of greed or some form of fear. That is, we either want more of something than we need and have…or…we are afraid we are going to lose what we have and be in need. Therefore, always resist fear and greed whenever they appear in your heart.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Heavenly Father, it is comforting to know that You do not want us to be anxious. Help me sense measurable progress in reducing the anxieties I discover in my heart today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.