“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
Anxiety is one of the hallmarks of today’s culture. Even for Christians it’s a daily struggle. How are we supposed to live up to the call to not be anxious? Max Lucado says it’s important to understand what Paul’s statement in the fourth chapter of Philippians really means.
“When the Apostle Paul says be anxious for nothing, at face value, that sounds like an unattainable goal. But in reality, what Paul is really saying is don’t let yourself live in a state of perpetual anxiety.”
“In other words, anxiety always knocks at the door. It already has for you today and it already has for me today. Paul is saying that even though anxiety knocks at the door, learn not to invite anxiety in the door to sit at the table. Learn to deal with that anxiety biblically, spiritually, and quickly before it begins to take hold and pull you down.”
Anxiety itself is not a sin, it’s an emotion, but it can escalate to a point where it puts us in sin and gets us to react in negative ways.
“Sometimes we begin to feel anxious and then we feel guilty about feeling anxious.”
The main reason we feel guilty is because we believe we are to be above or beyond anxiety and fear. However, Max says that is an unrealistic expectation.
“Let’s take heart. Look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was feeling anxiety. He was feeling fear and trepidation about what He was about to face. He experienced a severe level of fear, so much so that He recruited three friends to pray for Him. So much so that the capillaries in His face burst and blood rolled over His face.”
As quickly as we take heart that Jesus knows our suffering, Max encourages each of us to also take heart that Jesus overcame anxiety.
“Anxiety did not win the battle. Jesus found faith, courage in prayer, He began to admit His fears to His heavenly Father and by the end of that episode, He was able to stand up and face the greatest challenge of His earthly ministry with courage.”
Max believes that we can do the same because we have the power of Christ in us. He says the key is to acknowledge when anxiety knocks at the door and train ourselves with godly tools to deal with our anxiety.
With more than 125 million products in print, Max Lucado is America’s bestselling inspirational author. He serves the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy.
Key Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7
Featured Songs: The Lion and the Lamb – Leeland; No Longer Slaves – Bethel; This We Know – Passion