“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
I read that verse and a couple of things come to mind:
1) This is a command – It says “do not”, meaning this is not just a suggestion for healthy living, but a character that God wants in His children. Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not steal … and added to those moral imperatives is “do not be anxious”
2) This is all encompassing – It says “about anything”, meaning it’s not ok to trust God in times of cancer but be anxious about the traffic in the morning. This implies that life has no pockets where God says “it’s all up to you so it’s ok to stress about it”. Over and over again the bible affirms the idea of “do not be anxious” (μεριμνάω merimnaō)
Do not be anxious because there’s more to life than what you think
““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)
Do not be anxious because anxiety won’t change the situation
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)
Do not be anxious because it’s the path of the faithless
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28–30)
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31–32)
Do not be anxious because living in the now needs all your focus
““Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
Do not be anxious because God’s provision comes when you need it and not before
“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” (Matthew 10:19)
Do not be anxious because you might settle for the good and miss the great
“But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:41–42)
3) This is an invitation to trust – It says pray, supplicate, give thanks, make your request known – meaning “anxiety moments” are meant to be “God trusting” moments; meaning life’s uncertainties are God’s way to provoke relationship and faith; meaning in the daily grind of life, the death of self-reliance happens in the 100 subtle moments that seem insignificant but demand a decision to where we will rest our thoughts and hope.
4) This is a promise rooted in God Himself – The result of Phil 4:6 is in fact Phil 4:7
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
The key words here are
(1) “and”, meaning verse 6 and verse 7 are connected at the hip.You can’t take one and leave the other.
(2) “Of God” and “in Christ Jesus”, meaning peace of mind and rest of heart is “of God” and “in Christ Jesus”. Anxiety is a battle of faith – what do we know and believe and trust about God.
Ultimately our acceptance before God is rooted in the victory of Jesus on the cross and in the grave; however, the day to day experience of that victory is felt as we choose to trust that the Father who provided His own Son for our good will therefore provide whatever other insignificant thing needed to maintain that good (if it is in fact for our good).