Overcoming Anxiety with Thanksgiving – Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is running rampant in our societies today. As I sat down to write this blog post, I did a quick Google search on the statistics for Americans struggling with some form of mental health problem.

According to Forbes,

  • 21% of U.S. adults experienced a mental health condition in 2020”
  • “The impact depression and anxiety has on the global economy can be measured in $1 trillion in lost productivity each year

These statistics are high but personally not shocking to me.  

Did you know that the Bible tells us to “Gird up the loins of your mind”?  It tells us to protect ourselves from anxiety and other mental attacks the enemy – the devil – will try to throw at you. 

In fact it clearly states that the enemy is seeking whom he may devour.  

Sadly man people (Christians and non-Christians) are struggling with the devil’s attack on their mind.  They have allowed worry, anxiety and depression to steal their life away. The devil is devouring their productivity, joy and peace, but today I want to talk about how we can stop him from doing it anymore. 

Our Text

6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Philippians 4:6-7 AMP

“Do not be anxious” is a Command

A wise man once told me, “You don’t have to be commanded to do things that come naturally to you.”  This is why Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you, etc.” 

In much the same way, we are commanded to not be anxious or worried about anything. 

Practically speaking, many times it feels like these thoughts will creep in and if we don’t know our authority, they will try to steal our joy, peace and happiness and we’ll let them! 

But the Bible tells us the formula right here in these verses. 

Redirect your thoughts toward something else positive

Just one verse after our text today, the Bible tells us what kinds of things we’re supposed to think on, 

8 Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

Philippians 4:8 AMP

Many can see here that the understood subject of these sentences is YOU.  

In other words, Jesus is commanding us,

  • YOU continuously think on what’s honorable
  • YOU continuously think on what’s just
  • YOU continuously think on what’s pure
  • YOU continuously think on what’s wholesome

It’s your (and my) responsibility to center our minds on the word of God for ourselves. 

Redirect your thoughts with praise / thanksgiving

Yes thoughts will come, but when they do it’s our responsibility to identify them for what they are – attacks from the enemy. 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV

The biggest lie from the enemy is to tell you that you cannot control what you think.  

No you can’t stop the initial thought from coming sometimes.  Maybe you see something and it sparks a thought in your brain, BUT you can keep that thought from staying!  

Don’t let bad thoughts stay around

You know growing up we had a pool that we’d swim in constantly as kids. The thing about it is that we had bushes right next to the water where wasps liked to make their nests.  

So then in the summer time my brother and I would go swimming and in the heat of the day these wasps would want to land on the water and start drinking out of the pool. 

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want those dangerous little bugs to stay around!  The longer you let them sit on the water the more they’d congregate and make certain areas of the pool more dangerous to swim in. 

“Oh don’t go over there because there’s a wasp there ready to sting you.” 

That’s the same thing though that happens in our thought life! We say,

“Oh don’t think about that, it’ll cause my anxiety to flare up.” 

Now as kids when we saw those wasps on the pool we had enough sense to get the waves stirred up and splash them out of there. 

In fact, we started getting smart and seeing them coming from far off we used to splash water at them to keep them away from landing!

That’s the same thing you have to do to the devil. Splash those bad thoughts with words and thoughts of blessing and thankfulness. 

Redirect your thinking to Thanksgiving

“…in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving…

Philippians 4:6 AMP

See?  Right in the middle of “every circumstance and situation” it’s possible for you to give thanks.  

Now we aren’t talking about giving thanks for the issue, but we’re talking about getting our mind off the problem and onto how many other things God has done.  

Our Freedom In Christ

There’s such a powerful truth in these verses. We don’t have to be anxious and full of fear anymore. Jesus paid the penalty for sin and spoiled the enemy from having any say in our life. 

Now the only person who allows these thoughts into our life is us. 

I promise you as you go about your day and keep thankfulness in the forefront of your mind, anxiety will have no place to sit anymore. 

Wrapping Up

I really do pray that this post helped you.  There’s so much more to this topic of anxiety and our thought life that’d I’d love to share with you.  Please if you have any questions, or thoughts don’t hesitate to either message me in the chat or comment below and I will answer them.  

I pray that as you read this post the Holy Spirit will teach and show you specific areas in your life that need to change. I know personally that happens every time I write one of these. 

If you missed it check out my previous post, “Understanding and Combatting Insecurity in Your Life”.

Woman with her head in her hands anxiety setting in