Philippians 4: “Worried Sick”

One day after school I was off on one of my many adventures and completely lost track of time. Needless to say, school got out at 2:45, I was supposed to be home by 3:00, and dinner was served promptly at 5:15. At this point, it was something like 5:30 and I still had five to six minutes of walking to do.

Needless to say, I started running home, trust me, I knew I was dead meat when I got there. I finally got home and my family was just finishing up from dinner…not good. You know it’s bad when your sister won’t make eye contact and has that look of disbelief. I walked into the kitchen, when my mom uttered the famous mom phrase, “Where have you been, your father and I have been                             . You know it… “worried sick.”

There have been many times that mom has said, “I was worried sick.” I remember thinking one time, you don’t look sick. But think about that expression: “I’ve been worried sick!” If you didn’t know any better you would think, is that even possible? Can you worry yourself to the point of being physically sick! We know the answer to that…yes!

I heard a doctor once say, “food doesn’t cause ulcers in your stomach.” It’s not what you’re eating that causes ulcers; it’s what’s eating you.

If not controlled, worry and anxiety can do a lot of damage. Worry and anxiety can affect your daily life: interfere with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and even job performance.

A WebMD article I read said, “Many chronic worriers tell of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries.” People who struggle with worrying are extremely worried right now that I’m writing about being worried. Anxiety and worry manifest themselves in many different ways, but you need to know that they don’t discriminate by age, gender, or race.

Worry vs. Worship

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) 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.

Did you know; it’s utterly impossible to worry and worship at the same time! Did you also know that worship is a major spiritual weapon? The first line of defense to worry is to worship through prayer. Paul’s giving you permission here to offload your stress onto God. As one commentator put it, “Paul is telling us to take all the energy that is used in worrying and put it into prayer.”

The Blue Print for Prayer

In verse 6 Paul gives us a blueprint for what we can do when we begin to worry:

  1. Tell God what you need (prayer and petition NIV)
  2. Pray about everything
  3. Don’t worry/be anxious about anything
  • Prayer = General term for worshipful conversation with God.
  • Petition = Being specific to God about what you need. Notice it doesn’t say what you want.

4. Thank him for all he has done.

Thanksgiving is an important attitude to have when praying to God. Prayer combats worry by creating in us a thankful heart.

You need to remember that God didn’t create worry. Adam and Eve weren’t worried about being naked until after the fall. They didn’t even worry about what God thought of them until after the fall. In short, worry is the result of the fall when sin entered the world.

Glass of Water

How heavy is a glass of water? The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, it will have great impact on my ability to function during that day. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. And so it is with worry…