Thursday, January 27, 2005

Anxious About Nothing

by Donna L. Watkins
© Donna L. Watkins - Male Northern Cardinal

"Do not be anxious about anything ... " Philippians 4:6a

Our world has become an excellent place to fear all .... when God says, "Fear Not!" Advertising, media, news, and listening to other people's fears have caused many Christians to join the world in its quest for control.

We've come to think we can control our daily lives and future by making choices based on fear. God tells us He will take care of us and that we are to trust in Him.

"When I am afraid I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3

I already know this writing is going to be a bit rough and tough, but hang in there with me. Together we may grab hold of something that will bring us to a better place in Him.

When I approach an important event I begin to fear that I will miss some great detail. A few months back our son was coming to visit for four days. I had so many things I wanted to do during that time, such as specific foods to make, places to see, music for him to hear, topics to discuss, etc. I became anxious that it wouldn't go the way I'd planned, so I made meticulous lists to make sure I had my desires all laid out.
I didn't count on a couple of rainy days.

Isn't God good at showing us we can't control our own lives? Why do we keep trying when we know in our hearts and minds that He does a better job?

The visit was better than any plans I could have, because it rained the first day, I decided then that I wanted the time to go God's way. He had better things than I could ever think of for my list. Those were the important things of the visit. I might have missed them in trying to keep to my "schedule" of how life should be for those four days. I certainly would have missed a lot of joy and peace while I stressed over making the list happen.

Consider these words from Hanna Whitall Smith:

"Nothing so greatly hinders the work of God's unseen spiritual forces, upon which our success in everything truly depends, as the spirit of unrest and anxiety."

Please read that again!

Somebody once said, "All things come to him who knows how to trust and to be silent." This is so true! Our anxiety creates an energy that 'pushes away' the great things in our lives that could happen. It also pushes away people. Peace attracts, but anxiety repels.

We are so caught up in striving and worrying that we don't see the better things happening. God promises to make all things good for us if we love Him. Loving Him is obeying Him. He would rather have obedience than sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Present them! Give them to Him!

Did you notice what you need to do before that? It says in every thing ... and it says with thanksgiving!
Do we thank Him for everything? I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

We have become too controlling and self-centered in the way we deal with life. We think we can handle it and that we deserve better. All the time we are getting the best! Trials and tribulations are for our good and if we approach them that way, and thank God IN them ("IN every thing give thanks"), not FOR them, we can rest assured God will use them for our good.

In the worst of circumstances, if you will get still and ask God to show you, you will be able to list good things already happening from the bad.

People purchase all kinds of things to find peace. More clothes, newer cars, nicer furniture and decor items, more food, more security. Some people buy cell phones for themselves and children solely based on fear. Home security systems are installed to keep all the stuff protected. Antibacterial soaps are used even though research now shows them to be creating health problems. Chemical cleaners promising to kill germs on contact are sprayed without thought of what the chemicals are doing not only to us, but to our children and pets.

Insomnia is a major health problem. Why do we continue to think that if we worry long enough over something that it will make it better? The Bible says that we must "trust in Him" to have peace. Trusting in ourselves is what produces the anxiety and worry.

We are a nation of debtors which causes much of the anxiety and insomnia, with people "having to buy" many things that are considered needs when they have only been pushed upon us by media and fear. Is it working? We are busily trying to eliminate God from the equation and nothing is getting better. The promises of the advertising are not coming to pass.

God is being pushed further and further away.

It's all about trust and belief. Do we believe God loves us and has the best for us? The best is not the picture we would paint for ourselves. We would not have thought that the best for Jesus was the cross.
The strongest trees are those growing on the side of a mountain daily struggling with the heat and winds and cold of exposure.

We have a purpose on earth before we get to live bliss in Heaven and it's not to have everything go according to our own mental lists. Read this Scripture again and what follows it.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Philippians 4:7 gives you the results from obeying the previous verse: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Wow! What a purchase we can buy with only obedience. God even gives us directions on how to make this happen in verse 8. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy ..... think on these things.

What do you think about all day and all night? Thoughts have power. If you wonder why things are happening in your life, take a look at how they relate to your thoughts.

Seeds produce a harvest. What kinds of seeds are you sowing? Thoughts, words and deeds are seeds! You will harvest what you sow. If you continually worry and think fearful thoughts, you will harvest trouble and fear.

Make the switch. Renew your mind. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Take control of your mind. Think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Write them on index cards and carry them with you and place them around the house. We can do it! We can be obedient to Christ and sow good seeds for a good harvest.

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