Anxiety or Peace—It’s Your Choice
In our day, all means of measuring anxiety are reporting that levels of anxiety are higher than ever before. There is so much to be anxious about.
Paul had to deal with anxiety. His circumstances were different, but it was the same problem. Paul addresses the people at Philippi with the best remedy for anxiety.
- The problem. (Philippians 4:6) “Do not be anxious about anything.” Paul had a lot he could be anxious about. He was writing this from prison. Not only could he have concern for his own physical well-being, but also whether or not he would be allowed to continue to fulfill his purpose in sharing the Good News. Every circumstance he faced could create anxiety.
The problem is evident today. Paul reminds us that living in anxiety or living free of anxiety is a choice. Circumstances may be different in everybody’s situation, but ultimately, it’s your choice that determines whether you live in your problem or in God’s peace. It’s your choice.
- The prescription. (Philippians 4:6) Call on God through prayer. We can turn to a lot of different people or places or philosophers to try to get help with our anxiety—the best place is to turn to God.
The Bible refers to “calling on God.” We decide what call we make. We can make a call to Google, or artificial intelligence, or some book that we have read, or some person. The call to make is directly to God. He is waiting for your call!
I love the translation of this passage which says, “Let your prayers and praises change your worries into peace.”
Praying in an attitude of thanksgiving begins to change our focus on what’s wrong to God’s focus on what’s right. In most situations, there is much more right than there is wrong—it depends on the focus of our thinking.
- Peace. (Philippians 4:7) The result of this prescription is the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding. The greatest peace the world offers is exceeded exponentially by the peace that Jesus wants to give you.
He says that peace will guard your heart and your thoughts. Anxiety is created by choosing bad thoughts. Peace comes through giving everything to God and thanking Him for all that we have. That attitude leaves no room for anxiety!
You and I can choose to be anxious and worry, and the result of that will be misery, debilitating health, and a person that nobody wants to be around. Or we can choose to thank God for all we have and receive peace and His purpose for our lives. Anxiety will melt and be replaced by a confidence that Jesus will guard our heart and mind!
This formula that Paul gives is preceded by saying that we need to rejoice in all things—which is a way of thinking and acting. (Philippians 4:4) It is followed by our reminder that we must focus on the things that are right, and good, and true. (Philippians 4:8)
Anxiety or accomplishments—it’s your choice. Worry or witness—it’s your choice. Victim or victor—it’s your choice.
God’s purpose is to give these Biblical principles to you so you can practice them. (Philippians 4:9)