Be Anxious for Nothing

Be Anxious for Nothing

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    Why worry when you can pray? I heard someone ask that rhetorical question a few years ago, and it is still worth asking today. As we face life’s challenges, we may be tempted to worry and have anxiety, but we can always choose to pray, believing God to meet our every need.
Philippians 4:6 and 7:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    When our son was nominated to attend a very prestigious weeklong leadership training seminar at a university in Chicago, my husband and I could have been tempted to worry. We wanted him to have the privilege to attend the seminar, but we didn’t have the money required to register him. Because we had been taught how to not be anxious, we did not spend any time worrying about it or being concerned. We knew that God would come through for us. We got like-minded and prayed for the finances to allow him to go, thanking God for meeting our need. The very next day, we received a check that covered two‑thirds of the tuition amount, and by the registration deadline, we had all the money needed plus extra cash for transportation and incidentals.
    God’s desire is for His children to be free from anxious care and to see His promises come to pass. Philippians 4:6 and 7 teach us the role our prayer life plays in this matter. Much can be learned about being anxious for nothing by studying the words and phrases in these verses, so let’s get started by looking more closely at verse 6.
Philippians 4:6:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

    The words “be careful” are translated from the Greek word merimnaō, which means “to become distracted”; “to be anxious; to be troubled with cares.” Webster’s dictionary defines “anxious” as “characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency: worried.” Those are not characteristics we want to manifest in our lives. Worry and fear result in unbelief, and we want to remain steadfast in our believing of God’s Word.
    “Be careful for nothing” in today’s language would be understood as “be anxious about nothing.” The word “nothing” means not even one thing. God does not want us to have even one thing that would cause us to be burdened down and lose our peace. Burdens and cares can weigh us down and cause us to become distracted from living victoriously as He wants us to—living as sons of Almighty God Who created the heavens and the earth! There is nothing too hard for the Lord to do, as He indicated to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:14. God is aware of all that human life entails—the trials and afflictions, the things that come up from day to day that are pleasant and unpleasant, good and bad. And yet God says not to allow one thing to cause us anxiety or give us reason to worry, doubt, or fear.
    Our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, expressed how futile it is to worry and be anxious. In Matthew 6, he showed that we have no need to worry as we seek God first. In this record, we see the same Greek word for “be careful” in Philippians 4:6 translated as “take…thought,” “taking thought,” and “shall take thought.”
Matthew 6:25:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

    Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” He didn’t want them to be anxious about any of those things. He then asked them a question to get them thinking: “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Without waiting for a reply, he continued.
Matthew 6:26-30:
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith [believing]?
    Jesus Christ was teaching them how to believe God.
Matthew 6:31-34:
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day
is the evil thereof.
    Jesus Christ pointed out that we do need to eat and drink and be clothed; however, we don’t need to be overly concerned about these aspects of our lives, for our heavenly Father knows we have need of all these things. In contrast to being overly concerned, Jesus Christ admonished, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” That’s where we can focus our attention if we ever get anxious about anything, whether it’s a concern of ours about the present or about the future….

This is an excerpt from the January/February 2015 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2015 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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