Reflections on thankfulness – Day 4 – Thank God instead of worrying
Philippians 4:6-8 (NIrV)
Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.
Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.
This passage is great as it gives us a practical way of dealing worry. Worry is when we meditate on bad things which have, or could happen. It’s the opposite of what’s described here in verses eight and nine; Paul encourages us to focus and meditate on good things – things which are “noble, right and pure” (v8). Worry can lead to anxiety, where fear disempowers us and leads to all sorts of physical, emotional and spiritual problems driven by fear.
The antidote is hidden here in verse six – in everything, tell God what you need and give him thanks. Yes, thanks! Such an easy thing, yet it has the power to transform our lives. It’s a way of taking our eyes off our circumstances or our fear, and onto God. Thanks is one way we can “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Being thankful even without thanking God has massive positive effects on mental health. The huge growth in thankful journals is testament to this. Just go on Instagram and search for the hashtag #thankful to see how people are discovering the transformative power of thankfulness.
However, Philippians 4:7 tells us why thankfulness changes us. In the Contemporary English version it says: “Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.”
I know I would love to have God’s peace control the way that I think and feel. Would you? Let’s set our eyes towards this goal by cultivating a habit of thankfulness.
Share this with your family
Let’s chat together about difficult situations which need more of God’s peace. Is there a difficult situation with a friend or someone at school or work? Do any of us have a meeting or test coming up which we’re are a bit worried about? Do any of us have concerns about a friend or family member, or general concern about the future? Let’s work together to find something to thank God for in each situation. Then tell God we would like his peace to control the way we think and/or feel about this situation. Lastly, let’s bless each other with God’s peace. We could do this in a physical way such as making the sign of the cross on your head or hand.
We can help each other
Share ideas and learn from each other so we can all succeed in inspiring faith in our homes.
"It was so good to talk to other mums who are struggling with the same things as me."
Join the community
Sign up to receive regular emails and inspiration from Care for the Family.