Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Amplified
In 1988 Bobby McFerrin wrote and released his little song, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” It is reported that he got the inspiration from Indian mystic Meher Baba who frequently used the phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy.” He was also influenced by the jazz duo Tuck & Patti who had a similar poster in their apartment. His motivation was not biblical inspired, but the idea of choosing happiness over worry.
The Bill Gaither Trio released, “Why Should I Worry or Fret” song, and many others covered it. It was based on the biblical principles of faith versus worry and focused on the greatness of God.
Here in Philippians, the apostle Paul captures one of the many marvelous truths, helps, and comforts afforded within the pages of the Bible. I suspect that every Christian has a favorite verse or verses that have been a greater inspiration to them than any other passage. This passage is always an inspiration to me and a challenge.
When we consider the words of this passage, we quickly realize that the person who is anxious or worried about nothing has either fully placed their life and confidence in God’s hands or they are living in a fantasy world. Total Trust is embodied in the charge and challenge of the apostle. His simple message was Worry about NOTHING and Pray about EVERYTHING. He suggests that an attitude of gratitude is necessary.
DON’T BE ANXIOUS OR WORRIED…
That is a very tall order as most of us have discovered in life. But what does Paul mean? He does not mean to have a flippant, happy-go-lucky not caring attitude toward life. It is not an appeal to adopt the Doris Day view of life – “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever will be will be.)
Paul was a man of deep moral conviction. Life was profoundly serious business to him and should be to us. He took life seriously and realized that he had no guarantees of tomorrow. He wanted his followers to embrace a similar view of life. Life, enjoy but never become nonchalant or flippant.
Paul was not suggesting that we avoid the “thought-out life.” If you will recall, it was this apostle who said, “whatsoever a man sows, he will also reap.” Paul believed it was our right and duty to decide in advance what kind and size of harvest we would reap and sow to that harvest. The Bible is never opposed to the planned life. It is opposed to ignoring the directive of the Holy Spirit. The steps of a good man, the Bible tells us, are ordered by the LORD.
Jesus told the story of a man who set out to build a tower. The man was haphazard in his planning and preparation. His objective was not in harmony with his ability to perform, therefore he could not finish the project. What he built had no value and he was the laughingstock of the community all because of his lack of planning and diligence.
What Is Paul Suggesting? He is warning that the person who is fretful and fearful toward life will succumb to fear and lose joy, hope, and faith, and be filled with doubt and worry. He is warning that we must never listen to the voice of fear but always listen to the voice of faith, through the Holy Spirit.
In short, he is forbidding us to worry! His foundation is in harmony with the declarations of saints in both testaments. In the Psalms, we are told to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. God is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of difficulty so do not fear. Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. Also, that fretting only tends to open the door to evil. It is a doorway to doubt. In the New Testament, the apostle Peter tells us – “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”
I have often wondered if Jesus is amazed at how full of fear His followers are from time to time. In His teachings, He reminded us of how the Father cares for the birds of the sky (never saw a sparrow fall to the ground that God did not take note of). He speaks of the lilies of the field and their beauty and that even the hairs on our heads were numbered and for those reasons, we had no cause to be fearful or worry. God is God and has not and will not change!
As I think of this, I see the picture in my mind of our Lord stretching out His arms lovingly and saying, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy burdened, I want to and will give you rest.”
Therefore, I can say with confidence that the Bible and God are against worry so DON’T WORRY! Give up and let Jesus take over! I want to say more but will pause here and wait until the next session.
God bless you as you embark on a Fret-Free day! Have a good one in Jesus!