Have you ever taken the time to think deeply about the words of Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing?” This phrase is comprised of only two Greek words and is a very simple command. However, its implications are vast. In essence what this passage teaches is that we are never to be given to anxiety.
When you survey the Gospels one thing you will notice is that the Lord Jesus prohibited fear and anxiety in His disciples under the most extraordinary of circumstances. Consider the following situations in which Jesus forbade anxiety:
1. When suffering persecution (Matt. 10:19).
2. In the face of martyrdom (Matt. 10:28, 31).
3. When the disciples thought He was a ghost walking on the water (Matt. 14:27).
4. When Peter began to sink after walking on water (Matt. 14:31).
5. When the disciples witnessed His stunning transfiguration (Matt. 17:7).
6. During war (Matt. 24:6).
These and other passages (cf. Matt. 8:26; 28:10; Luke 5:10) indicate that the disciples had certainly not learned to be anxious for nothing. In fact they were anxious for almost everything. Does that sound familiar? I have to confess that it does in my own life at times.
It must be said that to be anxious for nothing does not come from human strength nor is it achieved by the removal of difficult circumstances. Rather, freedom from fear and anxiety comes from three realities:
1. The character of God.
We learn to be anxious for nothing when we learn who God is. No matter what the difficulty may be, at all times God is sovereign, wise, and good. And every act of God’s providence issues forth from His character. Thus our hearts can rest in the infinitely good, wise and sovereign God who is absolutely trustworthy.
2. The promises of God.
One of the greatest promises in all of the Bible is that the Lord works all things for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Further, the Lord promises His abiding presence in any and every situation (Pss. 23:4, 6; 46:1; Heb. 13:5). So we can trust Him at all times since He is always committed to our good and is ever present with us.
3. Prayer to God.
But even if you know the character and promises of God, one thing is still necessary in order to be anxious for nothing. Paul tells us how the power to do this is received, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).”
When fear, worry, or anxiety begin to take root in your life, may you seek the infinitely sovereign, wise, and good God in prayer and lay hold of His promises. Ask the Lord to expose every anxious thought and replace them with faith in His character and promises. And at the end of each day of your life, thoughtfully consider how faithful the Lord has been to you and trust in His faithfulness for your future.