November 14 I Monday
“Do not be anxious about anything…” —Philippians 4:6
Was Paul being realistic when he wrote the opening verse of this devotion? What if we have bills that we cannot pay, or we just got laid off from our job, or we received distressing news about our health from the doctor or our marriage is falling apart, then someone comes along and tells us, “Don’t be anxious about anything”? We would probably think that person lives in a completely different world than us. Yet, Paul was serious with his imperative to “not be anxious about anything.”
He tells us why, as he continues: “...but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). Instead of being anxious about whatever predicament we find ourselves in, we are to pray to God. This, however, is more than just praying about it, because some of us may talk to God about things, but we do not actually give the things to God. We simply talk to God about them, and then go on as though nothing has changed. We ought to submit our requests to God and trust Him to act on our behalf.
As we present our prayers to God, we are to include thanksgiving in it. But thanking God for what? There was a craze in the church before, where we were encouraged to thank God for everything, even for bad, evil and sinful things. But this is not what the Scripture teaches us. When Paul told us to “give thanks in all circumstances’’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18), he was telling us to give thanks in all circumstances and not for all circumstances. In other words, we are not thanking God for the problem, but thanking God for His presence, His sufficiency, His wisdom and His power in the situation.
What we would find as we pray to God, presenting Him our request with thanksgiving, is that instead of being anxious about the problem we face, we find “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This peace that we get from God is not dependent on some human resource that we can explain away; this is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It only has a divine explanation because of its supernatural resources. In a way, this peace comes from passing the issue to someone bigger—to God. We trust in Him to act in the situation to bring about His purposes.
With the Lord Jesus Christ as our security, hope and trust, the next time we find ourselves in trouble, we have no reason to be anxious about anything.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your sufficiency. Thank You that whatever happens to me in this situation, it will work out for good. In Jesus’s name, amen!