So, I just bought a new spiritual journal that contains a Bible passage at the bottom of each page. In keeping with a promise I made on Facebook about writing mini-Bible studies while observing the governor’s order to have no meetings over ten people, I decided to write some S.O.A.P. journals based on these Scriptures.
What’s a “soap” journal you ask? It’s a form of journaling that incorporates the letters of the word soap, using them as an acrostic. The “S” stands for Scripture; the “O” stands for observation; the “A” stands for application; the “P” stands for prayer. They are supposed to be short but mine never are. So, with that in mind, let’s get started.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6 LEB)
Did you know that worry is a sin? The Apostle Paul says this in no uncertain terms in Phil. 4:6 when he says, “Be anxious for nothing.” To be sure, this phrase in the Greek is in the imperative mood which makes it a command, not a suggestion. Why is this so important? David Guzik explains it like this, “Undue care is an intrusion into an arena that belongs to God alone. It makes us the father of the household instead of being a child.”
The Greek word for anxious in this verse is merimnao which means to be troubled; to be anxious; to be fretful; or to be worried about something. This kind of fear suffocates and strips away a person’s capacity to enjoy what they possess.
When Paul wrote this, the word merimnao described a person worried about the basic necessities of life, someone worried about providing food and clothing, a place to live and other necessities of life.
Jesus’ Use of the Word Merimnao
Jesus uses this same word in Matt. 6:25 where he says, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Jesus combines this word with the Greek word me which means an absolute denial or intense prohibition against something that is already taking place. Indeed, He was urging everyone to stop worrying. Moreover, Jesus specifically told us to not worry about our food and clothing and other necessities of life. Sounds like He might have also been peering into today’s world when He uttered those words.
According to the parable of the sower in Matt. 13:22, Jesus says the cares (merimnao again) of this world choke the word of God. Choke is from the Greek word sumpnigo which means to suffocate, to smother, to asphyxiate, to choke, or to throttle. Clearly, worry has the ability to consume you in such a way that your life comes to a screeching halt as you are smothered by your fear.
To conclude, Phil. 4:6 tells us to not let everything that is going on in the world right now cause you to panic. The word translated nothing in the phrase “Be anxious for nothing” means absolutely nothing! The ISV translation says it best, “Don’t worry about anything!” That means don’t worry about anything at all!
Jesus wants you to “cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1Pet. 5:7).” He wants you to walk free of all those smothering, suffocating fears once and for all!
Father God, I repent of the worry and fear that has been gripping my heart during this coronavirus pandemic. I know You don’t mean for us to be unwise during this crisis, but we can have complete confidence that none of this caught You by surprise and You do have everything under control and all of us in Your hand. Thank You, Father, for Your peace and Your joy in Jesus Mighty Name, amen.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think. We will explore the rest of this verse in a post coming very soon.