Over the past few months, we have had countless opportunities to choose between worry and trust. We’ve faced long separations as husband and wife, major decisions about occupation and schooling, financial and physical hurdles. To name these things in a mere few words on paper makes them look so simple – but the reality is that they were each long and hard roads that we had to travel, often only seeing no further than the step we were taking.
And sometimes we worried.
It’s such a normal, human response to worry. We start wondering “what if” or “why,” and we let our imaginations run free with those questions. But this is completely opposite of how we should be thinking as believers.
Consider what God’s Word tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
We have an alternative to worry!
In fact, we are commanded to “put off” the habit of worrying (or being anxious) and to “put on” prayer and supplication and thanksgiving. We are commanded to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and to exchange those selfish thoughts of worry for God-honoring thoughts of truth. We are commanded to think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).
This is so much more than just another command to follow: this is an amazing promise that God wants to fulfill in our lives! Scripture provides us with some wonderful reasons to change our thought habits, some specific things to think about when we are tempted to worry:
- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
- “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).
- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose … What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28,31).
These, indeed, are promises that are true and lovely, full of excellence and worthy of praise! And if we choose to obey the injunction to “be anxious for nothing,” and choose instead to fill our minds with the promises and truths of Scripture, we are promised even an even greater benefit than merely a lack of worry: we will have peace.
We will have the perfect peace of one whose mind is “stayed upon Jehovah,” because we will be gazing upon our Heavenly Father instead of our circumstances.
“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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4).