A Prescription for Overcoming Worry

In God’s Word, the Bible, we find some help and encouragement for an ailment that many of us have wrestled with from time to time: anxiety and worry. This help is located in the letter which the apostle Paul wrote to the church he founded in the city of Philippi on his second missionary journey. The prescription is found in Philippians 4:4-7. It’s a passage which really comes alive for us when we consider that this encouragement comes from a person who wrote these words from a Roman prison, awaiting trial and possibly death because of his faith and the proclamation of the Gospel. You can be sure that he had learned a few things about how to deal with anxiety and worry!

He starts by telling us to “Rejoice in the Lord!” He then repeats himself, no doubt for emphasis, “I say it again, rejoice.” When we rejoice in the Lord, we are focusing on him. We are expressing our faith and trust that he is going to help us. The book of James teaches us the same thing (James 1:2-8, 12). We should “consider it all joy when we face various trials.” We can do that because God is helping us to develop perseverance. He’s teaching us to learn how to trust him and causing us to become more like Jesus Christ.

In verse five it says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” To me that communicates trust in the Lord. He’s in control and we don’t need to get all worked-up and frantic in the difficult situations we may find ourselves. Stay calm! How? The next phrase of that verse tells us: “The Lord is near!” He’s with us in the boat, like he was with his disciples in the storm on the Sea of Galilee! He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we can say as David did, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” We don’t need to fear because the Lord, our Shepherd, is with us, too! (Psalm 23:4).

Verse six tells us. (I’m using the Living Bible paraphrase here). “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” That’s the prescription! With the Lord’s help, We can stop worrying. We can stop dwelling on all the negative circumstances we may be facing. And don’t forget to thank the Lord for what he has done and is doing in your life! Along with prayer, thankfulness is an antidote for worry!

It’s normal to have legitimate cares and concerns about our lives, but how we need to learn to cast our cares on the Lord. When we, do we’ll find that he will sustain us, (Psalm 55:22). He’ll give you the strength you need. In other words, stop trying to carry the load of cares and concerns all by yourself. Give them to the Lord. He can handle them! As Peter said in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast your anxiety upon Him, because He cares about you!” He loves and cares about you! Think about that. Believe Him.

So, what will be the result of taking this “prescription?” Simply this, as we see in verse 7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

So take your prescription. This medicine is good for you!

Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Community Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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