When God confronts the sin of anxiety in Philippians 4, his prescribed remedy helps to clearly diagnose the problem – especially in the lives of those who tend to downplay its repercussions and choose to think that worry is not that big of a deal. In Philippians 4:4-8 the Lord commands five things for those who are anxious and worried. He directs them to rejoice, to be reasonable, to remember Christ’s return, to pray, and to consistently ponder good things.
Consider how God’s fix may in fact reveal the depth of one’s entanglement in this sin. If you rarely find yourself spontaneously “rejoicing” and your heart is running low on joy, then maybe you are more worried and anxious than you care to admit. If you can detect that your interaction with others is often less than reasonable, then maybe anxiety has found a home in your heart. If your mind doesn’t regularly turn to the victorious hope of Christ’s second coming, if your prayer life is lagging, and if your thoughts don’t persistently settle on what is honorable, pure and commendable, then it may be time to admit the root problem.
As with any sin, recognizing it and confessing it is the first step. Then you can move on to thoughtfully and purposefully employ these five inspired correctives. God is more than ready to give us victory over this destructive sin and to “guard our hearts and minds” (v.7) as we confess our sin and respond obediently to his instructions.