I can almost hear the sighs! It’s all right for you, Paul, telling us not to fret or be anxious, you have no idea what it is like trying to live in the 21st century. This is true, but we have to remember that Paul was writing this from his prison cell in Rome, chained to a Roman soldier, and never knowing from one day to the next when he might be put to death. Amazingly, the whole letter to the Philippians is full of joy and Paul’s positive attitude to life. Despite the fact that he knew he might die at any moment – or perhaps because of that – he was filled with rejoicing and praise for his beloved Saviour and he never allowed worry to come between them.
One of the biggest hindrances to our relationship with God is that we worry about our day-to-day problems – the many different things which crop up at work, or at home, or at Church. It is said about some people that they are never happy unless they have something to worry about! But in today’s verse, Paul tells the Philippians not to be worried about anything, but to focus on Jesus. I was interested to discover that the Greek word for worry is merimnao which comes from another Greek word: merizo, meaning “to divide in parts”. We want to focus on God but are unable to, because all our daily concerns divide our minds and cause us to be distracted.
In Luke’s Gospel (chapter 10: 38 – 42), we read of Jesus’ first visit to the house in Bethany. Martha is ‘anxious and distracted by much serving’ and Mary, instead of helping her sister, is sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet building her relationship with Him. When Martha protests to Jesus, He tells her she is worried and troubled about many things, but that Mary has got the right idea. I can imagine Martha getting inwardly furious “How can He say she is right? Here am I slaving away, trying to prepare a meal for Him and all those others who came with Him. I need help!” But Jesus is saying, “Focus on Me first, get your priorities right, and then the other things will seem less complicated and less challenging.”
So often we stumble off into a new day without finding time to spend with Jesus and allowing Him to calm our minds. It may mean getting up a little bit earlier, but just being quiet with our Friend and putting ourselves into His hands, helps to get things into perspective, our priorities sorted, and even a really busy day then seems to run more smoothly.
Prayer: Dearest Father, Thank You that You are concerned about even the trivialities of my life, such is Your love for me. Please help me to place the concerns of each day in Your loving hands, knowing that You care about each one of my concerns and that You will guide me through them. Amen.
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