Sunday, September 23 2018
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We will pray this opening prayer as we begin our time of worship this Sunday. There are so many day-to-day worries that can cause us anxiety – work, school, relationships, finances, health – and the list goes on. No doubt, it is easy to let anxiety creep into our lives. When it does, it is easy to be consumed by it. Anxiety is linked to depression and leads to fear.
Did you know that the Bible speaks to us directly about anxiety? In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) So, we can see that feelings of anxiousness are not unique to our time and place.
Paul’s advice to the Philippians was to present it all to God – give it to God and leave it there. How true are these words of wisdom for us today! How often do we pray about our needs, burdens, and worries but fail to leave them there? Too often we pray about those burdens that are causing us to be anxious, but we don’t leave them with the Lord. Too often we say amen and take the burdens back. Paul says present your requests – and that means present them and leave them trusting that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds.
Fear is closely related to anxiety – and Paul speaks about that too. He says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) We really have no reason to live in fear or anxiety because God is for us. He knew us in the womb before we were born (Isaiah 44:24) and He knows our needs before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). I find comfort, peace, and hope in that.
Earthly circumstances and situations change and pass but Jesus is our solid rock and foundation that endures. Hold fast to him and trust him, know that he cares for you. Hold fast to the words of scripture. Commit them to memory so that when trying times come, you can draw upon those words and promises.
Would you join me in memorizing Philippians 4:6-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7 this week? Perhaps this can be for you a starting point for committing even more scripture to memory - it will become your well to draw from.
Blessing on the journey!