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Don’t worry, be happy

A Simple Message

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

The above passage is undoubtedly one of the most comforting in Scripture.

The thought that we do not have to worry about anything in our lives; and are encouraged to trust God in all our affairs certainly does bring peace. Though, as Paul lamented in chapter seven of his Epistle to the Romans, the spiritual warfare we face with our own carnal mind has a way of creating difficulty where none should be. We know that praying to and trusting in God is the path to peace. We know that worrying and overthinking our problems fails to improve anything.

Yet, when faced with a situation we so easily jump headfirst into worry and reserve prayer as a last, desperate resort. Doing this not only fails to solve our current problem, but draws more problems. As we worry more we become less able to see situations clearly, more prone to errors in judgment, and suffer detriment to our own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. So, then, how do we stop our natural inclination to worry and overthink?

“pray without ceasing” is the command issued via Paul in First Thessalonians chapter 5. If our carnal nature is inclined to worry without ceasing, the only solution to gain spiritual victory is to pray without ceasing. Looking to Philippians for guidance on how to accomplish this in our daily lives, we find very simple steps. First, we remind ourselves of what God has already done. Worries of the future decrease when we look to the victories of the past. Knowing what God has done before, God can do again, and more. Secondly, we ask with expectation.

Placing faith in God that what we commit to His hands will never be taken to failure, but from victory to victory. Early 20th Century author Florence Scovel Shinn addressed this topic with what she called “affirmations.”

Little reminders we can tell ourselves of what God has done and will do. “With God the unexpected happens, my seemingly impossible good comes to pass.” “I cast the burden of worry upon the Christ within me, and I go free.” Would be examples of such affirmations.

A prayer in its own way, when worry enters our minds we can instead lift up praise and expectant requests to God. Finally, we can enjoy the peace of God when we apply the words of Bobby McFerrin “Don’t worry, be happy.