God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 3 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [New International Version]

It is time to say “No” to anxiety. God provided a step by step recipe to eliminate  – not just manage – anxiety. Today, let’s resolve to adopt this recipe for the rest of our life.

When to do it? All the time

We saw earlier how we should pray. Now we want to know when, and why? Verse 6 says, “do not anxious about anything, but in every situation…” God is saying that there is no special case of anxiety where His recipe will not work. He is saying that whenever, and wherever anxiety kicks in, we should immediately enact these steps. We should deliberately decide “not to be anxious”. Then using that time we are no longer wasting being anxious, we should present our requests, lifting prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. We should do it all the time!

So why does it work?

At first, the reason God gives us for following His recipe may be surprising (verse 7). Why does He not start in verse 7 by saying “And you will receive what you are asking for”? This seems like it should have been the logical ending. However, upon closer inspection, we shall see how God is truly in the business of fixing problems permanently!

God says that doing what He instructs us to do causes us to be filled with His peace! In addition, He tells us that His peace, which not even the best of the brightest of human minds can comprehend, comes with the specific objective of keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Reading carefully these two verses, it becomes clear that the first problem here is actually not  the stressful situation in which we are, but the anxiety that the situation has just caused. It is anxiety which is the biggest barrier to our solution, not the problem itself. That is why it is so destructive! So anxiety must be dealt with first.

Anxiety is in essence the absence of peace, just like darkness is the absence of light! And that is precisely what God gives us first! What we need is true peace, which only God can provide.

Going back to the mom-child example. Mom’s love and know-how will bring peace to the child even before the problem has been solved! And in many instances, the child will come to realize that the problem was not that big at all to begin with!
With the peace of God now in place, our hearts and minds are fiercely protected, and focused on Christ Jesus. With our hearts and mind secure from the attacks of the devil, the very situation – which caused us to be anxious in the first place – may still be present, but now will appear much smaller, its true size! And with that peace, we are now ready to wait patiently for the solution to fully materialize, knowing with absolute certainty that God will indeed bring the solution to pass.

God’s recipe is guaranteed to work, because of His Love and Power, all the time, and in every situation! Let’s learn to apply this recipe in our lives.

God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 2 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – 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. [New International Version]

This recipe is guaranteed to work, all the time! There is no special case!

How to do it? Pray with Thanksgiving

In the previous article we saw what we should do first. Here, we see how. We present our requests by prayer and petition, and verse 6 adds with thanksgiving. Our prayers to God, in which we present our requests, should be prayers of thankfulness! For example, we should say “God I thank you because I know that you have already resolved my situation”. Here are two examples of how NOT to pray “Oh God please help me just this once, please I am desperate…” or “God, if you do this for me this time, I will…”

One reason we thank God is because He has already received and accepted our requests even before we knew we would have it. The reality is, the focus of our prayer should not just be about informing God about our challenges, because He knows them already ! Even more important, our focus should be about thanking Him, believing that He already has the desire and ability to resolve our challenges. Our prayer of thanks demonstrates our knowledge and conviction of this magnificent reality – that He already knows and wants to solve our problems!

Thanking God in our prayers in the midst of a challenge helps us set our sight on the end of result, the deliverance, rather than on the challenge itself. How wonderful!

However, there is more to God’s recipe. God also tells us WHEN we should do all this, and probably more important, He tells us WHY this recipe actually work, all the time! We discuss this in the next article.

God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 1 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – 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. [New International Version]

This recipe is guaranteed to work, all the time! There is no special case!

If you have ever experienced anxiety, then you know how wickedly destructive it is, pure and simple! But in two short verses, God has given us a detailed step-by-step guide to eliminate – not just manage – anxiety. In Philippians 4: 6, 7, He tells us at least four things: what we should do? How we should do it? When we should do it? And why we should do it? This and the next two short articles dig into God’s magnificent recipe to completely eliminate anxiety in our lives!

What to do? Stop being anxious, and then present your requests

There are two things we ought to do: We should stop being anxious and then, during that free time we now have, present our request to Him. It seems counter-intuitive that the first step toward eliminating anxiety is to stop being anxious! However, this reveals to us God’s perspective on anxiety: Anxiety is actually something “wecan stop! Then God tells us what to replace anxiety with: we should get busy presenting our request to Him. Think about it; parents actually apply this very principle every day. A child may come to his mother crying uncontrollably. Unfortunately, unless the child calms down first, he will not be able to tell clearly to his mother what is wrong. The child should calm down first, at least for the time necessary to tell what the matter is. Then, after telling his story, he will rely on his mom’s love and expert know-how to calm him down permanently regarding the matter at hand.

It is the same with God. He want us to calm down first! Then He wants us to present our requests to Him. His love and expert know-how will thereafter soon become evident and completely eliminate our anxiety.

But HOW do we present our requests to Him? As we discuss in the next article, knowing how  to present our requests is just as, if not more important than just presenting them. Knowing HOW is a key ingredient in God’s recipe for handling anxiety.