Read: Phil 3:12-4:23
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8
My parents recently moved from Upstate NY to the NC coast. The beach they frequent was in the headlines last year because it’s the beach where 2 teens lost limbs in shark attacks. We’ll be heading there this summer for another visit, so for obvious reasons, my anxiety level about my kids wave surfing goes way up.
What do sharks have to do with today’s focus verse, you ask? Plenty – if, like me, you tend to be a worry wart! A few years ago God began to show me that I spent way too much time worrying about things. And a lot of the things I worried about were things that were completely out of my control or things that would more than likely never happen anyway. Like my kids getting eaten by a shark. Well, ok that one may be a valid worry at this point – but I digress.
This verse not only convicted me – because if I’m worrying about stuff all the time, my mind can’t be dwelling on true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable things – but it also inspired me. What a relief it would be to not worry all the time. To have my mind on good things, on excellent and praiseworthy things. And this is what God wants for me because He loves me and doesn’t want me to be buried under the burden of worry. And what a heavy burden it is!
So I determined to get out from under that burden. I prayed that God would just take away my tendency to worry – but I quickly realized that I had a part to play in this too – like Paul says in the beginning of our passage (3:14) I “pressed on” toward the goal God had called me to and our focus verse was the verse I held on to as I trained my mind to “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” It’s much easier to stop worrying when you make a conscious effort to replace the worry with something good.
I certainly can’t say that I don’t worry anymore – but I thank God that in His tender mercies He reminds me that He has better things for me to think about. So if you struggle with worry, remember: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7) And train your mind to think about all the good stuff, all the blessings, all the beauty God has put in your life.
So, as I enter my own personal shark week I’m going to press on and take hold of the peace that God offers to me. How about you? What is worrying you this week?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your tender mercies. Thank you that you don’t leave us to wallow in worry but that you call us to something better. Please remind me when my mind leans toward worry to change directions and think about things that bring you glory. And thank you that you have it all under control. I love you! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.