Be Anxious for Nothing | Tomorrow’s World

Be Anxious for Nothing

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There are so many things happening today that may fill us with anxiety, including the economy, crime and violence, drugs, war, terrorism, moral decline, pandemics, ineffective government, political and societal divisions, supply chain issues, food and border insecurity, climate change, and other threats to our safety and welfare. What does the Bible teach about how to handle anxiety?

Bad news may make you feel nervous, worried, and depressed. Your heart rate may be elevated and your breathing made heavier. You may lose your appetite and suffer from trouble sleeping. Why? You are filled with anxious thoughts.

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. If the mental and physical stress becomes too intense, harm to our physical and mental health may result. Some have extreme difficulty coping with anxiety and turn to alcohol or drugs to seek relief.

Modern health practitioners prescribe counseling, various therapies, and medications to manage stress, change thinking, and relax. Controlled breathing, positive affirmations, goal-centered thinking, meditation, and physical exercise can be helpful in controlling anxiety.

The Bible addresses the subject of anxiety and also provides therapies that we should utilize to relieve our anxious thoughts. Jesus Christ told His disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.” Jesus then explained that God supplies food for even the birds and that His disciples were of far higher value to the Father. Then He concluded, “Will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:25–34).

The Apostle Paul instructed, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). This was followed by some important and practical instructions about controlling our thoughts, as Paul urges us to “meditate” on what is good—to think about, study, and learn from things that are inspiring and positive (v. 8). This instruction is therapeutic and preventative, helping us to avoid thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Worry and anxiety indicate that we are lacking in faith that God and Christ will take care of us. Of course, we must also be sincerely and diligently trying to obey Him and live the way of life He has laid out for us. Having this confidence will allay our fears and worries. We do not delude ourselves, wishing the problems away. Rather, we know the problems are there, but through prayer we take our concerns to God, who loves us and who will supply our needs.

God gave the prophet Jeremiah the simple solution to anxiety: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7–8).

Anxiety is increasing. But we can overcome our anxiety by seeking God, making our requests known to him in prayer, meditating on good and true things, having faith, and trusting in the One who promised, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

You may find the following articles on this topic helpful: “Finding Peace and Overcoming Fear in Troubled Times” and “What, Me Worry?” Be sure also to order or read online the free study guide Twelve Keys to Answered Prayer.