Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…
I. ITS FOLLY. What good can anxiety do?
1. It is an idle thing; the mind hovers and flutters round the subject; goes over the same ground again and again, wearies itself in vain repetitions of the same cares and fears; but what has it done? has it advanced the matter one real step? Has it arrived at one good counsel, or set itself to one wise act?
2. It is an enfeebling thing; it eats the very life out of the energies; it leaves the man not only where he was, but ten times less capable and vigorous than at the beginning.
3. It is an irritating thing; it ruffles the temper, upsets the balance of the spirit; is the sure source of moodiness, sharpness, petulance, and anger; it sets a man at war with himself, his neighbour, God's providence, and God's appointments.
4. It is a sign of mistrust, of feeble faith, of flagging energy, and languid obedience.
II. ITS CURE.
1. St. Paul knew better than to attempt the correction of anxiety by human arguments. It may be useless, wrong, mischievous, but it is in us all; and let a man be sharply tried, he is anxious still. The conflict with any one of our evil tendencies is too strong for us single handed.
2. Bring in another person; introduce a new consideration; suggest a new motive. Tell us of One who amongst our other griefs has borne this, amongst our other sorrows has carried this (Isaiah 53:4); of One who in all our afflictions is Himself afflicted; in all our cares is Himself troubled (Isaiah 63:9); above all, of One who is not in some different and distant world, where the sound of human groans scarcely penetrates, where the burden of human distress is regarded as unreal, but who is here, in our world, at hand, present; who both foresees and remembers with us, feels with as well as for us, is "touched with a sense of our infirmities," yea, was Himself "tempted in all points" (Hebrews 4:15). Then, in His presence, in His human soul, in His compassionate heart, we will lay aside our anxieties, rest from our burdens, take refuge from our fears and from our sins.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.