6 Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. 7 Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Does this mean that it is a sin to worry or be anxious about things? Are we violating God’s will when we toss and turn in the night, concerned about the events of the future? No, not at all.
Remember that Jesus wrestled with fears and concerns all night long before his betrayal. As he prayed in the Garden, his anguish was such that his night was sleepless as the disciples slept while on watch.
If you have those nights, lying next to a partner who appears to sleep effortlessly while your brain will not shut off, it does not mean that you are incapable of trusting in God.
This text points to appropriate behavior during those times. In anxiety we toss and turn for a solution, for escape from the weight of the problems at hand. We think that if we just had the right answer, all of our difficulty along with the concern would melt away.
Unfortunately, that faulty thinking causes us to turn inward, thinking the solution resides within us. Paul offers a different focal point.
Prayers and requests that move before God shift our attention from a world that is directed by our own good choices and perfect planning to a more realistic focus.
As he told the church in the letter of Colossians, lift your eyes to things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Our hope, dreams, and ultimate peace arises from a source outside of ourselves. It is this heaven given peace that will move beyond anything that we can describe. It will begin to regulate our thoughts and emotions, helping us as we face the enemies that surround us. Temptations lose their power before one who is God centered. The forces of darkness are exposed as powerless when we walk side by side with Jesus in this world.
Does it mean that you will never have concerns again? No, this life is full of concerns. Jesus spent more than one night in isolated places in prayer. What it means is that you know the source of strength, and knowingly place yourself in his keeping. It is this that offers peace, nothing else will.