I remember the first time I read the registration card for the foundational Biblical research class offered by our ministry. One of the class benefits stood out to me above all of the rest: I could learn how to overcome doubt, worry, and fear. As a young college student, I had many questions about life. Although I was attending one of the top art schools in the United States, I was uncertain about my future and even more unsure of how I was going to get there. I was anxious about everything and didn’t know how to change. The Way Ministry showed me how.
I registered for the class that very night. Session after session I learned keys and specific scriptures that helped me replace fear and worry with positive believing and trust in God. I learned how to overcome the anxiety I had about so many things in life. Although I was beginning to mature in God’s Word, I soon allowed mental pressure to set in and again felt overwhelmed with concerns about the past and anxiety about the future. But continuing to grow, I realized that the keys and scriptures taught in the Foundational Class would be my bedrock of learning to build upon my entire life. One day at a time I could choose to be anxious for nothing.
God did not call us to a life full of anxiety and being overwhelmed with tasks at hand. He called us to live life more than abundantly (John 10:10). God’s will is that we live each day rejoicing in all He has done for us.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
God gave us life so that we can rejoice and be glad each day. Psalms 68:19 tells us that He loads us with His benefits daily. So how can we rejoice and enjoy God’s benefits each day while handling the variables of life that present us with challenges and concerns? In the Book of Philippians, God provides us with a package of truth to show us steps we can take to overcome anxiety and claim the peace that He promises.
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.
God tells us here, “Be careful for nothing.…” The word “careful” can be more clearly translated “anxious.” E. W. Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament defines the Greek word for “be careful” as “to have anxious or distracting care.” “Be careful for nothing” literally means, “Do not be filled with anxiety regarding anything.” Not one thing! We need have no anxiety concerning the past, present, or future.
Dale Carnegie wrote the best-seller How to Stop Worrying and Start Living because he realized that one of the biggest problems men and women faced was worry. The very first chapter is dedicated to the value of living in “day-tight compartments”—shutting off both the past and the future and living today. He tells that the best way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate on doing your best today, one task at a time. We are to take thought for tomorrow with careful planning and preparation, but not with anxiety. He wrote, “So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: from now until bedtime.”
There is a record in the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus Christ is visiting the home of Mary and Martha. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to him teach God’s Word. But her sister, Martha, was “cumbered,” meaning she was overoccupied with cares or business. In Luke 10:41, Jesus tells Martha that “thou art careful [anxious] and troubled about many things.” The words “art…troubled” mean “to be in disorder, jumbled or crowded together, as of the mind with cares.”
Have you ever been in a situation where there is so much activity and disorder around that you have a hard time focusing on the person speaking to you? This can also happen with our thoughts. When there is so much going on in our minds, it can be hard to focus clearly and think about what we are supposed to be thinking about. Martha went to Jesus for help, and he lovingly helped her to redirect her thoughts. Martha’s mind was so crowded with all that she had to accomplish for her guests that she was distracted from what was most important—the Son of God teaching God’s Word.
Being anxious for nothing is also the focus of a section in Matthew 6. The idea of taking thought (or taking no thought) is found six times in Matthew 6:25-34; each one uses a form of the Greek word translated “careful” in Philippians 4:6. This taking thought is to be full of anxiety which divides up and distracts the mind; it’s being full of anxious or distracting care. Let’s look at these six occurrences in this wonderful section of scripture that emphasizes God’s loving care and reminds us that we need not be anxious for anything.
Matthew 6:25 and 26:
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?
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?…
This is an excerpt from the May/June 2010 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2010 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
For more information on subscribing to The Way Magazine, Click Here