By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7)
Anxiety and worry have to do with a tomorrow, over which we have limited control. We are not sure what will take place in the future regarding our work, our relationships with family and friends, with our health, with our finances. When it comes to tomorrow faith in God is essential. The trouble with worry is that it concerns itself with things that may never happen. Worry is not a small matter. Anxiety and worry drain our strength, our energy, and our hope. Beware of giving yourself over to your worries—they can take possession of you.
Worry is more than concern. It is more than planning for the future. Anxiety is a particular kind of fear—fear of the future. It causes life to be out of balance, and is a continuing sense of disquiet and pain. For most of us—rightful concern, preparation, anticipation—and then worry and anxiety are on a continuum, and it is easy to slide from proper concern to unhealthy worry.
A close relationship with our Savior is the solution to our worries. In Christ one can be right with the world and the future. The believer in God is to fear God rather than man. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” (Matthew 11:29) It is far easier to respect, serve, and honor God than it is to placate all those persons, situations and inner feelings that appeal for our allegiance. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)
Believing in God, we trade an insecure future for a secure one. One of the difficulties for many people is that they become confused. They hear one thing one day and so live their lives in one direction—and they hear another thing the next day and try to live their lives in two directions at once. There is great peace in fearing (respecting) God, because in fearing God, we need fear no one else. In prayer God helps us to sift through the various inclinations that tug upon us.
There are things that we can do to make tomorrow alright or even better:
1. Show up for work
2. Don’t live beyond your means (Be disciplined in your financial planning)
3. Maintain a regular exercise regime
4. Don’t overeat or drink
5. Treat other people kindly
6. Above all else—put God first
Finally, We need to focus on and be grateful with what we have:
1. We are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26)
2. We are loved by God. (John 3:16)
3. God wants those who trust in him to make the best of life: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
4. In our Lord, we have a future that is beyond compare: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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