“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 BSB
I am prone to anxiety. In the battle against stress and fear I have a weak constitution. When a problem crops up my natural tendency is to maximize it to the greatest extreme.
Philippians 4:6-7 is the biblical counselor and pastor’s go-to passage when helping believers battle anxiety. That may make us want to ignore this passage, but I think the reason for its popularity is that it works! No matter how “old hat” this passage is, it remains true and effective. Anxious believers have found the promise of God’s peace attached to prayer to be the balm they can apply and reapply to their angst-ridden souls.
So, with joy, I return to Philippians 4:6-7 for my own soul and invite you to come along.
Earlier this week, I turned to Philippians 4:6-7 as some information in the news raised my anxiety levels. As I did word studies using Bible Hub, I was amazed to find that the word “anxious” means “drawn in opposite directions” (HELPS. 3309). The word study continued, “(figuratively) ‘to go to pieces’ because pulled apart (in different directions)” (Ibid). That’s exactly it! That is what anxiety feels like! It feels like being pulled into pieces or falling to pieces.
Paul commands us not to fall to pieces for anything. Instead, Paul says we should pray and bring our specific requests to God with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
God does not promise to remove the things that trigger our anxiety. Instead, He promises to guard our hearts and minds with His own peace.
Time and again I have turned to these verses as anxiety has crept in, and I have never seen God fail in keeping His promise. As I began to fall to pieces this past week, I brought my specific fears and needs to the Lord. He heard me, and His peace came and protected my mind and heart.
HELPS Word-Studies. Helps Ministries, Inc., 2011.
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