“Be anxious for nothing...”— Philippians 4:6a “Be anxious for nothing.” What an amazing feat that would be! “Nothing!” We’re not given even a little room to be anxious for a few small things. NOTHING is worth robbing us of our peace.
Worry can become a lifestyle and a habit. The habit of worry can gain such a stranglehold on your life that it becomes part of your personality. You find yourself approaching situations with an anxious attitude, and eventually it begins to rob you of your health, joy, and your relationship with God.
C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, described how hard our enemy, Satan, works. Written from the point of view of demons who regard God as the Enemy, he writes: [Senior devil Screwtape to junior devil Wormwood]: “There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He [God] wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them worrying about what will happen to them.”1
Anxiety and worry make us carry burdens our heavenly Father never intended us to bear, and turn small matters into devastating circumstances. No wonder Jesus warned us about the “cares of the world” (Matthew 13:22)!
It is easy to tell someone—even yourself—not to worry. But it is hard when you are accustomed to worry and your anxiety levels rob you of the strength to fight it. I liken it to athletic training or getting into shape.
There is an answer.
Prayer and trust.
Start with step one and utter a simple prayer asking God to help you pray. Then step back, with no condemnation, and let His Spirit minister. Even if you don’t feel it, you can know He is there. Every day, at every wave of anxiety, pull your mind away from the subject, think about Jesus and His love, and say a prayer. And every day you will grow stronger.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” —Corrie ten Boom2
- Lewis, C.S., The Screwtape Letters, (HarperCollins, 1942, 1996).
- Quoted in: Living Quotations for Christians, edited by Sherwood Eliot Wirt and Kersten Beckstrom, copyright 1974, Harper and Row Publishers, Inc.,New York, NY., p. 263, ref. 3504.