Be Anxious For Nothing

Author:  Jeff Russell
Date: August 7, 2020
Worry about NOTHING
    Pray about EVERYTHING
Be anxious for NOTHING
It’s an epidemic that spans the globe, all generations and likely has invaded your home and your heart as well. Call it “worry” or “anxiety,” most of us suffer at times through sleepless nights, anxious days and of course something on our minds that just won’t go away. Sound familiar?

Anxiety is a painful uneasiness that feeds our private fears. In its mildest form we simply churn. In its most severe form, we panic. The word “worry” actually means “to strangle,” and that’s what it does to our godly perspective. Eventually we lose focus on what truly matters.

But anxiety does do one good thing: It shines a spotlight for us on how much we need the Lord. That’s what we are reminded of as we explore God’s Word and discover His solution to the things that keep us up. We need to be willing to do this one thing and be ready to receive God’s unexplainable peace.
The letter to the Philippians may be one of the most practical and most necessary letters we have in the New Testament. Paul the apostle didn’t write it to correct any doctrine or conduct. As a fact, many have penned it “Joy” because within its pages is the recipe on “How to have joy”. Equally important is the great truth concerning believers “secret power”—Prayer.

So here we have it, and it’s simple! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

In other words: Worry about nothing; Pray about everything! This is a direct commandment, not a suggestion. Most of us will admit that we do worry.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  John 14:13

We know the Scriptures say it’s wrong, even sinful, but we still do it. Let’s be encouraged now to change our ways. Instead of worrying let’s, “Pray about everything”.

It’s been said, “May we recalculate our route if need be, and look forward with great hope and faith. May we “Stand up inside!” by being valiant and “All in.”
Look again at Philippians 4:6. Two little indefinite pronouns have tremendous significance. The first one, “nothing,” is probably the most exclusive word there is in the English language—it excludes everything. We are not to worry about a single thing.

The reason we are to worry about nothing is because we are to pray about everything. Just as “nothing” excludes all, “everything” includes all. That means we are to talk to the Lord about everything in our lives.
Years ago, a widow asked her church leader, “Do you think we ought to pray about the little things in our lives?” And he replied, “Can you mention anything at all in your life that is big to God?”

You see, when we divide things in our lives as big or little, we make false divisions. All areas of our lives are very small as far as God is concerned. But even what we call little, He wants us to bring to Him. As believers, we need to get in the habit of bringing everything to Him in prayer—excluding nothing. So, these two little pronouns are exact opposites. Nothing means nothing, and everything means everything.

When the apostle Paul says that a believer is not to worry, he is not advancing a foolish philosophy of shutting our eyes to reality or burying our heads in the sand as it were, and denying that disease, sickness, death and trouble are realities.
Paul doesn’t say we are to pretend those things don’t exist. No, instead we need to move the things we want to worry about into the realm of prayer.

Let me illustrate that.  A man couldn’t sleep one night. He rolled and tossed, until his wife finally asked him, “What is the matter? Why can’t you sleep?”
He said, “I owe the tax man $6,000 and the bill is due.” He wept on… “and I can’t pay it.”

“Well,” his wife said, “Get up, get dressed, go over and tell the tax man you can’t pay him, then come back and go to sleep and let him stay awake.”
I would like to offer to you my friends, that is exactly what Paul the apostle is saying here. When we tell God everything, it becomes His problem.

We have the right as His children to go to Him in prayer and say, “This is something only You can handle” then, turn everything over to Him. Worry about nothing; pray about everything.

I believe everything in our lives should be made a matter of prayer to God, no matter what it is. He is our heavenly Father, and we can talk to Him honestly. We can unburden our hearts to Him as we can to no one else.
Paul continues his exhortation to us with, “…by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6.

When you make your request, you are to thank Him right then for hearing and answering you. We thank Him right then as a result of our faith “nothing wavering” James 1:5.

But what about unanswered prayers,

You might ask, what if He doesn’t answer?  May I be bold enough to say that there is no such thing as un-answered prayer to those who have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

God does answer prayer, and when you take your petitions to Him you are to thank Him because He is going to hear and answer. No one likes to believe God is not listening to their prayers. Yet we read in 1st Peter “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1Peter 3:12

Once again, we read “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their cry.”  Psalm 34:15

Friends, when we call out to God in time of trouble, we want Him to say yes, but of course, He's not always going to say yes. He’ll always hear and answer a request that is brought to Him in faith, but sometimes the answer is no. And sometimes the answer is wait! And this can be the most challenging answer of all.
The story is told that when the Panama Canal was under construction the families of some of the workers came down to visit. One young engineer lived on a houseboat with his wife and boy. Every afternoon this young engineer would get into a rowboat and row out to the houseboat. He would take a hand full of blueprints of the Panama Canal with him to work on at home with his family near him.

One evening he had all of his blueprints spread out, and his little boy was playing at his feet with a toy wagon. A wheel came off the wagon, and the little fellow sat there and worked with it, but he just couldn’t get the wheel back on. Finally, he did what little boys do and began to cry.Do you think the father ignored his son? He could have said, “Son go on and find your mother. I’m working on the great Panama Canal, and I can’t have you bothering me.” But he didn’t do that. He put aside the blueprints, sat down on the floor, picked up his son, and asked him what the matter was. He held up the wagon in one hand and a wheel in the other.

To the little boy, this was a major project. To the father, it was practically nothing. With just a twist of the wrist, he put the wheel on. Then he kissed his son’s tears away, put him down on the floor, and he began playing again.
Now, do you think our heavenly Father is any less kind than a human father? When a wheel comes off your wagon—and believe me, it will come off—take it to Him and ask Him to put it back on. It may look like an impossible problem to you, but He will hear and answer your cry. If He says no, it is because that is the best answer you could have.

At different times in my life I’ve asked Heavenly Father for something, and I am embarrassed now that I didn’t thank Him at the time, right then.
 My advice to you is this: Instead of saying that God has not answered your prayers, say, “My Father heard my prayer, but He told me no, or wait, which was the right answer for me at that time.”

We are to let our requests be made known to God with thanksgiving—knowing that, regardless of how He answers, it will always be the best thing for us.

What will happen when we don’t worry but instead, we pray? Read on. “And the Peace of God, which passeth (surpasses) all understanding, will keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Indescribable peace

We can have the kind of Peace the world offers, but It will never ever be the kind of peace that is offered to us through Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace.  You and I have the assurance that someday peace will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea Habakkuk 2:14.  We can have the peace that comes with forgiveness of sins Romans 5:1. We can also know the peace that feels like tranquility John 14:27. That is a marvelous peace.

But none of the peace offered to us by this world is the piece that is mentioned here in Philippians. This peace can’t be described. It “passeth all understanding.” This is a peace that sweeps over our souls while we are in the troubles and trials of life. This peace gives us confidence, irrespective of the circumstances. We have confidence that things are going to work out for our good and His glory.

Our nation is faced with a great pandemic. Yet, this same peace enables us to face life full on, as we stand on the wide deck of life and know it makes no difference how hard the winds blow or how high the waves roll. Because once again, this peace “will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
This peace “guards” our hearts and minds. This peace of God is like a sentinel on duty around our hearts and minds, protecting and keeping us in life’s most worrisome trials. Have you noticed what’s happened? We entered this passage with anxiety and worry. We come out now in peace. Between the two is prayer.

Have things changed? No, the problem is still there. The storm still rages, the waves still roll high, the thunder still resounds—nothing has changed outside, but the one who is praying has changed.

Something has happened to our soul, moving us from a place of worry to a place where God’s peace now controls our heart and life.

I’m convinced that the primary purpose of prayer is not just to change things, but to change us. We sometimes think prayer is a faucet we can turn on to get out of it anything we want. Perhaps a magical, or mystical way to make our problems disappear. An appealing thought, but that is not prayer. It is so much more! Prayer is when we go to our Father in Heaven, tell Him everything, and then let Him take over. Once we take our hands off, He begins to move—not just on the things outside, but inside our private hearts and lives. Sometimes He puts the wheel back on the wagon and makes it better, but some-times He doesn’t.

Getting from anxiety to peace

The thing He’s concerned about is changing our hearts.

Oh, this is the treasure of real prayer. Real prayer changes your heart. It brings your thinking, your will, your plan, and your purposes into alignment with the will of God. Prayer does that! And further, it secures for us and others, blessings that God is so willing to grant and just waiting for us to ask for them.

Most of us stand on the fringe of prayer. We never really enter in. We never come as a child with absolute simplicity and absolute faith to a Father, knowing He will hear and answer us in the best way possible.

We need to say to Him, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

Help me to enjoy that wonderful closeness with You in prayer. Help me to take advantage of the wonderful privilege of talking to You, an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present Father who does what is best for me.”

When you pray like that, not only will He hear you, He will rush to help you, to guard you with perfect peace that no one understands.

The story of Peter walking on the water is in three of the gospels. You remember, Peter is on the boat, thought he saw a ghost. He called out… “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt…? Matthew 14:28-33

Has a wheel come off, are you drowning? Sometimes you have to walk through a difficulty before you can witness the miracle. Instead of trying to get out of it, invite God into the storm. He wants to walk alongside you and give you peace in the midst of it. With God on your side, you're going to come out better than you were before! Worry about nothing. Pray about everything.

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