Worry no longer
In Philippians 4:6-9 Paul gives us a four-step process to handling life, not only when things are easy, but especially when things are tough as they were for Paul who was in prison and the Philippians who were having discord in their church. And it’s based on what you are thinking about.
First step – don’t worry! Don’t worry about anything. Are you kidding? I mean, worrying is how we live our lives, isn’t it? I am a worrier, I’m afraid – how about you? Actually, if any of you said you’re not, I’m not sure I believe you. We all worry. We worry about yesterday, we worry about today, we worry about tomorrow, about next year. You might even make a list of the things you’re worried about – maybe it’s your marriage, maybe it’s your work, maybe it’s money, maybe it’s your child, or your parents or your health, or your church’s health. What’s on your list?
Paul’s next step is key: don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. Since we cannot change one thing in our lives by worrying, Paul says give it to someone who can do something about it. Give it to God in prayer. Of course, God already knows what’s going on with us. God knows every detail of our lives. But when we tell God, “Lord, this is too big for me; I can’t handle this by myself,” it is then that God takes the responsibility off our shoulders and carries the weight himself.
And then Paul goes on: don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything, and be thankful. Our attitude should be one of gratitude, thanking God for our lives, even the things which we worry about. That is what we should be thinking about: how we can show our gratitude to God, how we can be thankful.
And then the final step: if we give up our worries, if we pray to God, if we are thankful to God, we can have peace. Not just any peace, but the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, a deep peace which should define our lives. So, what are you thinking about?
Paul goes on to give us this wonderful list about what we should be thinking about – whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. That is quite a list. What are you thinking about?
Rev. Dale Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.