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Christians are not exempt from troubles in this life. We, too, have our share of unwanted divorces, illnesses, and job terminations.

Jesus told His disciples, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33). But in that same message, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (14:27). Jesus offers the ability to live without anxiety, no matter what is happening.

How, you ask? Paul gives us his formula for worry-free living in Philippians 4:6–9.

Analyzing Anxiety

If anybody had reason to worry, it was Paul. He was under house arrest in Rome when he wrote to the Philippians. The beloved church he founded in Philippi was struggling with false teachers and fierce division. In addition, Paul was waiting to hear whether he had received a death sentence after his two-year trial. Yet in Philippians 4:6, he wrote, “Be anxious for nothing.”

How was Paul able to reject worry and maintain peace despite his circumstances? Let’s first see what causes us anxiety.

A Wrong Value System

One thing that causes anxiety is a wrong value system. Building your life around the temporal instead of the eternal will rob you of peace. I am no psychic, but I bet what you fear most is the loss of something important to you.

It may be money, health, a position, or a person. You cannot protect yourself from the loss of those things because they are temporary.

That is why Jesus said in Matthew 6:19–21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Unconfessed Sin

Another cause for anxiety is unconfessed sin. When we Christians live in a way that displeases the Lord, foreboding overshadows our hearts. You may be filled with anxiety because you know all is not right between you and God.

David had that sense of doom when he wrote Psalm 32:3–4: “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.”

Satan’s Attacks

Sometimes anxiety is a result of Satan’s attacks. Ephesians 6:16 commands us to take up “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” One of Satan’s favorite arrows is worry. Fretting has a way of stopping us dead in our tracks—paralyzing us from moving forward with God. However, most of the things we worry about have almost no chance of happening. John 8:44 says Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.”

In the same way that the Roman centurion guarded Paul when he was writing this letter, the peace of God will watch over you whenever you pray, meditate on His Word, and conduct yourself as you know you should.

Answering Anxiety

How do we deal with worry when it comes up in our lives? Paul gives three answers.

Pray Persistently

The first way to deal with worry is to pray persistently. Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
I want you to do something:

  • Take a sheet of paper and title it “My Worry List.”
  • Then write down all your concerns.
  • Next, take out another sheet of paper and title it “My Prayer List.”
  • Now cross off each item on your worry list and write it on your prayer list.

People who have a full worry list usually have an empty prayer list—and the opposite is true as well.

Think Truthfully

A second way to overcome worry is to think truthfully. Paul said, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (4:8). One of the most important choices we make is what to think about. We choose the pasture our mind will graze in. Set your mind on what is true, honorable, excellent, and lovely. When I read the Bible, I remind myself that just as God has been faithful to His people in the past, He will be faithful to me right now.

Live Consistently

A third way to overcome worry is to live consistently. Paul said, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things” (4:9). When you live disobediently, anything and everything will frighten you. To regain your courage, do what you know you should do. Ask yourself, “What is one thing God wants me to stop doing? What is one thing God wants me to start doing?” Make those changes today.

God’s Assurance Over Worry

God promises us that if we do these things—if we practice righteousness—then we will possess quietness and confidence, because “the God of peace will be with you” (4:9). Look back at verse 7: “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In the same way that the Roman centurion guarded Paul when he was writing this letter, the peace of God will watch over you whenever you pray, meditate on His Word, and conduct yourself as you know you should.

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