“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
The dictionary defines the word anxious as “Troubled, uneasy in the mind.” Jesus’ intent is for us to experience peace, even while living in a world full of trouble. Clearly, peace is not the absence of trouble, but rather that which transcends trouble. We can believe that trouble, often defined by any challenging circumstance, is a legitimate cause for anxious thoughts.
Challenging circumstances are not the cause of anxiety. Neither are good circumstances the cause for peace. This scripture teaches us that, although we have little control of our circumstances, we have complete control of our peace.
Think: how much energy do you spend trying to control your circumstances and how much peace has it produced in you?
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Peace is rooted in our ability to trust God. The problem with anxiety is that it often drives thoughts of God out of our mind. When we are anxious our mind is fixed on past, current or future circumstances rather than on God. When we focus on God, we are reminded of his power, his character and his promises.
For example, the Bible teaches us that God’s intent is always good (Jeremiah 29:11), that he knows what we need (Matthew 6:32) and that he will be faithful even when we are not faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
Do you spend enough time reading the bible about God, to know the power, character and promises of God in order to fix your thoughts?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is no better remedy for anxious thoughts than prayer. Nevertheless, we often turn to worry rather than prayer. Worry can take on many forms including moving fast, talking more, listening less, resistance, criticalness, cynicism, negativity and pleasure seeking. When we get tired of worrying, we often make plans to fail, quit or run away. Prayer connects us to the God that intends good, knows what we need and is always faithful.