Breaking the Habit of Worry
“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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Can you imagine never being “anxious about anything?” It seems like an impossibility – we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. There are many times when the pressures and needs of life feel overwhelming. Surely there are many circumstances in which Christians cannot be happy, but we can always pray and rejoice in the Lord.
The busier we are, the easier it is to worry. If we want to worry less, we need to pray more. Prayer results in an indescribable and immediate sense of peace. Christ’s peace allows us to continue with what we need to do, in the confidence and assurance that God will work everything out.
Unlike worldly peace, the peace of God “transcends all understanding.” It is beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area, God’s peace “guards the hearts and minds,” that is, the emotions and thoughts, of His children. This peace is confident assurance in any circumstance (John 14:27).
True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. With God’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future.
The most effective way any believer can prepare for the stress of the day is to begin with God. Spend time alone with Him and make your requests known to Him. Tell God the issues and concerns weighing you down. Anticipate the stressors in your schedule and ask God to give you peace in the midst of them. When stress comes, and it will, claim His promises.
Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offers comfort in place of worry. The end result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Jesus says He will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from Him. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s peace.
To break the habit of worry, Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. It is there that we gain the perspective and peace we need to handle the stress of life without sacrificing our relationships and health along the way. The heavier the burdens, the longer it may take, but when we give our worries to God, we will feel relieved and at peace.