Life offers us no shortage of things that tempt us with anxiety. The pressures of jobs, relationships, parenting, keeping house, paying bills, eating healthy . . . even balancing all of the above can produce an abundance of anxiety—if you let them. The apostle Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, wrote, “Do not be anxious” (Philippians 4:6). When I realized this meant that I actually had a choice of whether or not to give in to anxiety, my life started changing for the better.
You see, when the Lord gives us a command, like this one, He always provides how to do it. When we recognize the familiar feeling of anxiety, we are to stop and take our feelings and concerns to the Lord in prayer. Not only that, but we are to do so with thanksgiving. No matter how ominous the circumstance, we can always begin by thanking the Lord that we don’t have to face it alone. Thank the Lord that He is able to do infinitely more than we could ask or dream, and He is working all things—truly all things—together for our good, whether it feels that way or not. Thank Him that nothing is impossible for Him. As you pray and express your gratitude to the Lord, it will become much easier to present your requests to God and then leave them there with Him. When we begin to thank God for what He has done for us in the past and what He desires to do in and through us in the future, our gratitude will grow, and our eyes will begin to look above our problems into the face of our God. That’s when the most awesome thing happens: peace replaces anxiety!
You see, this verse is an instruction that is followed by a promise: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). How awesome! How amazing! How like God’s economy! He lifts my anxiety and guards me with His peace.
Let’s not allow anxiety to color our lives this holiday season. It’s not necessary. It is avoidable. We have so many things to be thankful for. Let’s develop an attitude of gratitude. When the things of the world press in on us, let’s consciously count our blessings and express our thanks to the Lord. Let’s present our requests to Him and leave them to Him to handle in His time and in His way; and then let’s receive His peace. It transcends our circumstances. Thank You, Lord!
PRAYER: Father, Your Word tells me that I have a choice when circumstances seem to be against me. I choose to obey Your command to thank You for the circumstance and receive Your peace…help me make that choice every time.
JOURNAL: Record your top concern and rephrase it with words of gratitude for what God does in working in and through you for His good purposes. Whatever the outcome, don’t forget to thank Him for His peace that passes all human understanding.
This devotional taken from Healthy Holiday Living available now in our online store.