“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
In order to arrive at the contentment that God desires for us, we have to go through our lives and clean out the garbage.
Worries get to the point to where they start to stink. We need to go through each part of our lives and see what lingering worries have us down. We need to see what can be swept out with the trash and what can be given to God in trust and thanksgiving.
It’s important here that Paul says to offer our worries to God with Thanksgiving. It’s OK to thank God for what he is going to do.
The worry we suffer under is usually about things that are not in our control. We need to learn to give even that to God. We give him the burdens of our heart in such a way that it increases our trust in him; in such a way that it grows our faith in him; in such a way that we can move on without that weight upon our heart.
Jesus reminds us about how senseless worry is. He tells us to look around and consider the lilies of the field and the birds in the air. God makes the lilies beautiful and provides food to the birds. He asks us if any of us by worrying can add even a single hour to our life?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The secret here, from Jesus’ words, seems to have something to do with the KINGDOM.
We get overwhelmed with worry as we continue to look at the main project of our lives as one of advancing and building OUR KINGDOM.
We want things to go OUR WAY.
We want OUR WILL to be done, certainly in our lives, but even in the lives of others. But that’s often not the case.
We get worked up over how to control things, and people.
Paul had an affliction. He described it as a “Thorn In His Flesh.” We don’t know specifically what it was, but we know it bothered him. We can imagine that it was something painful for him. We are sympathetic with his struggle because it’s part of the common struggles that we all endure.
Paul testifies that he prayed over and over again for relief, but God sent no relief. What God did for Paul was even better than taking the Thorn away. God showed Paul that his Grace was Sufficient. God showed Paul that the struggle he was going through was purposeful.
Paul came to the realization, “It’s not up to me.”
Paul was weak, and God was strong.
The weaker Paul realized he was, the mightier he realized God was.
Paul came to the point of contentment and satisfaction in his work with God when he realized that the success of the work was not up to him.
Isn’t that a liberating thought? It’s not up to me.
Practice saying that: “It’s Not Up To Me!“
God says to us, “Don’t wear yourself out on this. I’ve got this.”
There are so many things that we worry about, worry that wears us out.
Paul teaches us to give our worries to God, and with thanksgiving, learn to place our trust in him so as to express gratitude for how he will continue to work all things out according to his good purposes.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”