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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
DEVOTION – JULY 7, 2019
Anxiety. It’s a word we hear constantly thrown around in our world today. But what does it mean? In this passage, it is translated from the Greek word, “merimnaō,” which means to be anxious or deeply troubled with worries.
Recently, I acquired an interesting sickness called shingles. They are known to affect primarily older adults who have had chicken pox, but they can show up in younger people–particularly in their 20s–due to stress and anxiety. How funny is it that the Lord uses our physical bodies to remind us to listen to what has been written in his Word for thousands of years?
When everything gets hard or hectic, I tend to worry and stress about things far outside the spectrum of my control. I get really anxious. In the same breath, I completely deny that I am, in fact, anxious and stressed to avoid being seen as weak. I anxiously look for the world and the things in it to calm my heart and satisfy my soul.
I just forget. I forget about Jesus.
I forget about his Word and what he says. I often don’t even realize I’m doing it until something in his grace jolts me back to where my hope actually lies. This time, God’s grace came through shingles.
I am encouraged today by these words from Philippians. We don’t have to choose anxious and worrisome thoughts; rather, we can come to the Lord with all things at all times and ask him to carry our burdens for us and allow us to rest in his peace.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” True rest, peace, and contentment come from the Lord, not the world.
What if we remembered that when life gets crazy, relationships get messy, things change, and we feel out of control? What if we ran to Jesus with our anxieties and worries in prayer and petition before we ran to people, food, drink, the gym, destructive thought patterns, shopping, or whatever else we go to first?
If we go to Jesus first, I really think we’d know him more intimately and find the “peace that surpasses all understanding” Paul talks about here. I think we would experience the freedom that comes from letting this peace guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I think we’d walk with more patience and grace. I think we’d know the intimacy with our heavenly Father in the way we long for. I think we’d live in the abundant life Jesus offers way more consistently.
I’m not completely there yet, but I’m reminded and challenged today to take everything to him and not try to carry it on my own. Would you join me?
Forgive us when we forget. When we forget about your loving kindness though the avenue of prayer. When we forget that you invite us to bring all of our cares and anxieties to you because you care for us. Thank you that we can come to you weary and burdened and find rest. Thank you that nothing is too big or bad for you to handle. Thank you that you are the creator and sustainer of the entire universe and also intimately acquainted every detail of our lives. We love you. Thank you for loving us first.
College Age and Young Adults Graduate Assistant
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