Anxiety is a growing issue in our society today. As someone who works with middle and high school students it blows my mind how many students are dealing with heavy anxiety to the point that they are debilitated and even medicated. This passage is telling us that we should not be anxious about anything. This does not say that we should never stress about anything. We often confuse stress with worry and anxiety. The reality is that an appropriate level of stress can spur us onward, where anxiety and worry actually pushes us away from what will truly help.
Anxiety and worry is simply a lack of faith in God. It is easy to just say we shouldn’t worry or be anxious, but what happens is that we end up in a place of crushing anxiety because we ignore what is said in verses 4 and 5. We are told to rejoice in the Lord always and in all things. If we would live our lives with a posture of thankfulness and joy in the Lord, things would look much different. This does not mean that there will not be difficult circumstances. It means that in those circumstances we will still focus on God because of who He is, and we will rejoice.
This takes the focus off us and puts it on God. Our response is much more likely to be us running to Him in prayer and supplication rather than being debilitated under the weight of anxiety. When we experience that kind of peace we are able to think more on what is described in verse 8.
By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate