What Does It Mean To Be Anxious for Nothing?
To be anxious for nothing means we don’t need to be afraid, worried, alarmed or frightened about anything because all things work together for the good of those who love God. While we may forget this and spiral into worry at times, it is true that God uses all circumstances — no matter how bad they seem — for his glory and for our growth, betterment and refinement. Knowing this, we can rejoice in the Lord always.
Which Scripture Says “Be Anxious for Nothing”?
The specific wording “be anxious for nothing” comes from Philippians 4:6 in the New King James Version of the Bible:
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 6-7, NKJV).
The New International Version phrases Philippians 4:6-7 this way:
“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.”
The well-known verse is part of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, encouragement and prayer for the Christians in Philippi. He wrote the book of Philippians during his imprisonment in Rome, exhorting the church in Philippi to follow his example and encouraging them to speak the Word of God “without fear” (Philippians 1:14) when facing persecution.
Is It Possible to Not Be Anxious About Anything?
It’s highly unlikely we could ever live our lives without a single moment of worry. Putting our trust in God takes prayer and practice.
In his book “Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World,” Max Lucado writes: “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. It’s the life of perpetual anxiety that Paul wants to address. Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually in angst.”
While it’s inevitable that we will have feelings of anxiety, we don’t have to get lost in them. Thankfully, God’s Word gives specific instructions for handling anxiety. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us we can become less anxious through:
People talk to God for many reasons — to give thanks, adoration and praise or to ask for forgiveness. One of the most common reasons people pray is to make a request of our heavenly Father. This is a prayer of petition.
Jesus offered up prayers and petitions during his life on earth. He told his disciples: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:21-22, NIV).
If we want to be anxious for nothing, we should regularly ask God to reduce our anxiety. We can practice this by:
- Noticing and interrupting anxious thoughts when they arise and replacing them with the truth — a Scripture or prayer.
- Spending time every day in the presence of God.
- Organizing a personal or group Bible study around Philippians 3 and 4.
- Reading daily devotionals about trusting Jesus Christ.
- Seeing a Christian counselor who can help us change anxious thinking patterns.
“Anxiety is an inevitable part of the human experience. But God has a plan for us. A plan of peace. And I’d love to encourage you today by reflecting on that holy plan.” – Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
Take a look into Compassion President and CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado’s journey with anxiety and how Philippians 4 guides him toward peace.
How Does Philippians 4:6 Apply to Child Poverty and the Work of Compassion?
The problems of the world, such as child poverty, violence against children and the emerging global food crisis, can feel overwhelming.
But the Lord is near. We don’t have to be anxious or distraught. Just before Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious about anything, he writes:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5, NIV).
Knowing that the Lord is near, we can share the fruit of the Spirit and act on our compassion to deliver mercy. We allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our efforts to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
For people living in poverty, the potential for worry is endless. Where will our next meal come from? Will I be able to afford my child’s medicine? How will I pay rent this month?
When children in Compassion’s sponsorship program hear that they don’t need to be anxious about anything because all things work together for the good of those who love God, it gives them peace and hope.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV)
Our local church partners around the world share this truth with children every day. And sponsors also help ease children’s worries by sending encouragement in letters.
How Does Compassion Work To Release Children From Poverty in Jesus’ Name?
In partnership with thousands of local churches around the world, Compassion serves in Jesus’ name and addresses the critical needs of children living in poverty. Our church partners adapt our holistic child development program to the specific needs of the children in their individual communities. They focus on whole-life care for the children.
Whole-life care is comprehensive care to help children fully develop and become responsible and fulfilled adults. Whole-life care means we begin, in some cases, with prenatal care and go all the way through young adulthood. It means we take a long-term approach to child development and provide opportunities that encourage healthy spiritual, physical, mental and emotional development.
Through our Child Sponsorship Program, our church partners provide:
- Medical checkups and health care.
- Health and hygiene training.
- Ongoing Christian discipleship through a local church.
- Educational assistance, including textbooks, school uniforms, post-secondary courses, tutoring, supplies and even literacy and financial training for caregivers.
- Key life skills training, mentoring and vocational programs.
- Nutritious food and supplements to protect against malnutrition.
- Recreational activities and support to develop self-confidence and social skills.
- Protection from crime, violence and danger.
- Access to emergency services like surgeries and disaster relief.
When you sponsor a child, you can encourage your child through the letters you write, just as Paul encouraged the church in Philippi.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything. Put into practice what is noble and right.