We are living in difficult times. There are protests and political turmoil. We read about persecution around the world, especially Asia and Africa. Many of those same areas are suffering from drought and severe plagues of locusts. This week Mexico suffered an earthquake. And in the midst of all this, we each try to do our jobs and care for our families while dealing with the COVID pandemic.
But God tells us not to be worried or anxious.
Today’s passage is Philippians 4:6-7.
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.
Today I will focus on verse 6 and later on we’ll look at verse 7.
Paul and his first century readers had plenty to worry about. Philippians is one of Paul’s prison letters. He had been in jail here in Philippi, and now was in jail again elsewhere. Paul knew that the Philippians were also suffering persecution and gives them a special thanks for sending help sacrificially.
While not obvious from translations, this verse is one of a series of imperatives (commands) without conjunctions (connecting words). Starting at the end of verse 5, the text reads, “The Lord is at hand, do not be anxious about anything.” Then he tells them to pray to God with thanksgiving. God is at the beginning and the end of Paul’s thought here.
Many times Jesus told his disciples and the crowds not to be afraid or troubled, worried or anxious, because God would provide. Yet, when the disciples were with him on the boat in the middle of the storm, they panicked, woke him up and yelled, “We are perishing.” Jesus calmed the storm, and asked them, “Where is your faith?”
Fear and anxiety mark the lives of unbelievers and are signs that one does not truly trust God.
Gordon Fee comments that one consequence of the Lord’s being near to us is that we don’t have to worry.
We know that God is at hand, He is always with us, He will not leave us. Jesus is in the boat with us.
The ESV smoothly translates verse 6 as “Do not be anxious about anything,” which reads better in English, but makes it harder to notice the contrast in this verse. More literal translations read: “Be anxious about nothing.” The Greek is even stronger: “NOT EVEN ONE THING.”
In contrast, we are to pray about EVERYTHING.
Our dependence is on God. We rely on Him for His provision and protection. We can trust him. He will take care of our needs.
God is greater than all our troubles. We need this perspective. If He created the universe, we can trust in him our difficulties. He is in control, so there really is nothing to worry about.
Worry leads people away from God; prayer brings people closer to Him. Many of us may be isolated in our homes, but we are NOT alone.
1. There really is nothing to worry about. God is in control
2. Talk to God and let him know what you and others need
3. Give thanks to Him.