We live as individuals but share in the human experience. This post series asks the core questions of what, why, and how about this shared experience. After all, God came to earth as a human himself, to share that experience with us and bring us salvation through that human experience. So, join us today as we explore the core question… how do we stop worrying?
Worry is not fun, nor is it God’s desire for us
We have looked at the questions of why do we worry and how to respond to worry. In these we have seen God’s faithfulness to use our worry as a nudge toward himself. He does not want us to worry; He wants us to trust him, cling to him, wait on him, and look to him. Since most of us do not enjoy the experience of worrying, this is a relief in the pages of Scripture!
Philippians 4 gives us 5 action steps to stop our worrying
In another well-known Bible passage about worry and anxiety, Paul writes a letter to his friends in Philippi that points us to five clear action steps that will help us to stop worrying. Let’s take a look. (The full passage is at the bottom, for your meditation and prayer. You may want to read through it once now.)
Action 1: Rejoice in the Lord always.
Yes, there are difficult situations in life, and there is much that we can worry about. Paul is writing this letter from jail – he had much opportunity to worry! But instead, he calls us to rejoice. And he repeats it: “I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Action 2: Remain gentle with all people.
Worry can harden our hearts. It does not coincide well with gentleness, patience, or kindness. How would you speak if Jesus was visibly standing next to you? Paul reminds his friends that the Lord is near, and their gentleness helps to break the power of worry.
Action 3: Present your requests to God.
There are two key parts to presenting our request to God. We pray and petition, and we tell him of our thanksgivings. This balance is hugely important in reducing our worry. For every worry in your mind, make a list of five things for which you are thankful. This shifts our perspective, making us more confident to present our requests to God – the One ultimately in control of them.
Action 4: Rest in Jesus Christ.
We cannot control or force the peace of God. We cannot understand it. But Jesus Christ does, and He guards our hearts and our minds. This is certainly a mystery to mankind, and it is a certain truth of the holy Trinity. When worry creeps back in, turn back to Scripture, to the gospel. Read the psalms. Pray. Take a deep breath and focus on Jesus.
Action 5: Think and act based on what is praiseworthy.
There is a list here in verse 8 of what we should think about, and a recommendation in verse 9 to “put into practice” the things we have learned and received. What is true? What is lovely? What is praiseworthy? God’s Word tells us these things, and if we focus our thoughts here and we act accordingly, there is less and less room in our minds and hearts for worry.
Worry is natural, but it does not need to overwhelm our lives. Take some time today to meditate on God’s Word here in Philippians, walking through these action steps. If you find yourself continuing to struggle with constant worry or anxiety, talk to your family, your pastor, or a counselor here at iHope.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.