Worry vs. Worship

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

Philippians 4:6-7, “… do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6 is such a helpful and practical verse.  It was a verse that I put to memory early on in my walk with Christ.  Simply put, the passage is saying to us—“Be anxious for nothing, trust God in everything.”  I’m not a big fan of bumper stickers, but there is one I especially like—”wag more, bark less.”  In bumper sticker form, this verse is saying to the believer—“trust more, worry less.”

If so inclined, we can find plenty of things to worry about—economic troubles, global threats, personal struggles, relationship difficulties, health concerns, financial fears, job issues, problems big and small—the list goes on and on.

But we are commanded not to worry.  The command, “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), is all-encompassing—one of those infamous and troublesome all-or-nothing commands, such as “rejoice always” or “do all things without grumbling.”  And though worry is a common sin, it is still a sin.  Many tend to think it to be a mundane thing, a relatively harmless vice—low on the list of offenses, but there’s good reason to reconsider that assessment.  And though studies confirm what we know to be true, that worry can prove harmful to us emotionally and physically, worry also works against our spiritual well-being.  Chuck Swindoll has spoken to this: “Many of us are addicted to worry because we simply don’t view it as being sinful.  It’s become acceptable, something we blithely excuse without a second thought.  After all, it doesn’t have the same obvious effects that, say, alcohol or drugs do.  It seems more like a normal part of the human condition.  Who can imagine life without worry?”

The Greek term translated “anxious” in Philippians 4:6 means “to draw in different directions, to distract.”  Webster’s defines the term this way: “A painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill.”  We know from experience what it is.  It is a preoccupation of our minds, a mental “nagging”, having to do with things that are of concern to us.

The phrase, “be anxious for nothing,” is a present tense imperative.  It is an all-the-time command to us from our God who loves and cares for us.  Worry is wrong because it is antithetical to faith.  God is pleased by faith (Hebrews 11:5-6), if we are worrying we are not trusting Him.  George Muller put it this way, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

If we are worrying, we are not worshipping.  Simply put, worship is acknowledging God for who He is and what He does in what we say and what we do.  Worship is something that far transcends that which happens in church on a Sunday.  It involves our heart, head, and hands and every aspect of our daily lives (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31).  Prayer is an integral part of worship.  As the helpful acrostic “A.C.T.S.” reminds us, prayer involves: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  Spirit-led prayer is born of faith.  In humility, we see and acknowledge our complete dependence on God.  By faith, we apprehend and acknowledge God to be who He has revealed Himself to be—one who is Sovereign over all, who knows and cares and who is more than able to care for us (Matthew 6:25-34).

Now we’ve gotten closer to the heart of what’s wrong with being anxious.  We’ve a world full of worrywarts.  Sin has made it so.  The born-again Christian is one who has been saved by faith to live and walk by faith in the sovereign God who loves Him and has promised to provide and care for him (Romans 8:28, 32, 33-34).  As ambassadors of Christ, we’ve got good news to share with the lost.  It is in the fabric of life and especially amidst our trials that we can best gain a hearing in this worrisome world.  Trust more, worry less.

Perhaps you’ve some things even now that you’ve been worrying about.  Take that list of worries and submit them to this verse.  Do with them, as the verse says.  Instead of worrying, pray (1 Peter 5:7).  But don’t just pray for God to change your circumstances, worship God in prayer.  Bring your requests to Him, in a spirit of worship—acknowledging Him in all His goodness and thanking Him in all He does.  Maybe He’ll choose to free you from your troublesome circumstances. Maybe He won’t (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  But even if you are to endure through troublesome times for a season, God promises to guard your heart and your mind with His peace, a peace which “surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7).


Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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