During this time of the corona-virus, and not being able to come together and worship in person, our church has been doing a series of devotions that we sent out to everyone in the church. This is part 1 of a devotional that my wife wrote. Grab a coffee or tea, sit back, and I trust that you will be blessed. Let me know down in the comments any thoughts about the devotional or how you and your church (if you got to one) has been coping with this pandemic.
Recipe for a worry-free heart: Part 1
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.”
“Do not be anxious about anything”
It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but the notion ‘do not be anxious/afraid/burdened/worried’ is not exactly hidden in the subtext of the bible, it’s heavily riddled from cover to cover.
You might look at this passage and get that shallow relief of “Ahh, yes. I don’t have to be anxious. Amen.” But, by the end of the day you have already been flooded with 15 moments of worry or anxiety over Covid-19, finance, health, family, and Covid-19 again.
But why is this our pattern? We are told hundreds of times throughout the bible something, that if we intentionally sought after, would CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Yet we aren’t seeking this for ourselves?
When something is repeated in the bible, it’s because we are supposed to pay attention to it. In the case of this verse (as it is repeated hundreds of times in various forms), I don’t think you would argue with me in saying; God was well aware of our need to control and take responsibility for the things around us. These verses are a guide out of our own undoing, literally a who what, when, why, and how, to an anxious-free life.
So, like a good old fashioned grade 8 English lesson, I want to take you through the what and how of Philippians 4:6-7 today, and tomorrow; who, when and why.
1 in 6 Australians is currently experiencing anxiety and or depression (beyond blue) but, You don’t need to be diagnosed, or even associate yourself with ‘anxiety’ to qualify for what this verse is talking about.
In a podcast I was listening to by ‘fierce marriage’, they were talking about how as Christians, we are stewards that like to take responsibility and ownership over the things in our care. They were talking in reference to their children, but it is the same story for us when we worry about our house, our family, our finances, job, friends, etc.
They are things we take pride in, take care of, and enjoy, but when we take responsibility for these things, is when they begin to entangle our hearts, and we start carrying around burdens that are not ours to bear. We become anxious. Rather than enjoying and being joyful about what we are given, we worry and can become fearful over the future of these things.
Short version: We should not let the unknown cause us anxiety, it is not our burden to bear because God has ultimate control over all things.
Do. Not. Be. Anxious.
Straight forward, but not exactly useful.
I have never said to someone who is anxious “Hey, don’t be anxious” but I can almost guarantee the outcome; 1, it’s not going to be received very well, and 2, it will have zero impact on their ability to control their anxiety.
This passage, however, gives us the next step, in telling us how we can actually overcome the anxieties and worries in our lives;
“..but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Every family has a go-to meal, something that is quick to make, simple ingredients, and tastes great. For Harrison and I, that meal is vermicelli- pasta with onion, bacon, and canned diced tomato. It’s not hard, can be done in as long as it takes to cook the pasta, and we both love it.
Although I wouldn’t exactly compare this passage to vermicelli, I absolutely encourage you to use this as your go-to recipe for a worry-free heart.
This verse is clear, concise and is going to be incredibly rewarding the more you put it into practice.
RECIPE FOR A WORRY-FREE HEART:
- Pinch of Prayer: A conversation, but also an act of worship that glorifies God and reinforces our need for him.
- A spoonful of Supplication: The act of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly
- Touch of Thanksgiving: Grateful acknowledgment to God of benefits or favours being received
- A whole lot of “Let your requests be made known to God”: Although he is an all-knowing God, he wants us to share our hearts with him. He will not give you what you don’t ask for, so… literally make your requests known.
Short version: Have an earnest conversation with God, speak your worries and concerns, and humbly ask him to take control. Acknowledge your shortcomings, and thank God that He is the giver of peace that surpasses all understanding.
Putting these points alone into practice can still be fruitful, but tomorrow when we get into who we are praying to, and why, it creates a holistic view of this passage that I hope you will take on and truly benefit from.