NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Philippians 4:6
— What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
— How literally should we take the Bible’s command to not be anxious about anything? Is it possible to live up to that standard? How well do you meet the standard?
— Would family and friends say you are a pray-er or a worrier? If an extraterrestrial with the ability to read minds visited your home, would it say you are a pray-er or a worrier?
Food for thought:
What keeps you up at night? What thing or things do your mind and spirit latch on to and just won’t let go of, keeping you awake and stewing when you’d much rather be asleep and snoozing? We might feel a shortage of many things — money, time, energy, motivation, peace — but one thing that proves to be in abundant supply is worry. We worry about the what-ifs as well as the here-nows. We worry about the big stuff, like national conflict and loved ones in harm’s way. We worry about the small stuff, like getting all the errands run. We worry about our stuff and stuff that’s not ours. We worry about stuff we borrow from the evening news. And sometimes, perhaps, we worry that we worry.
In his book, “Worry Less, Live More,” pastor and author Robert Morgan introduces us to eight practices — all from Philippians 4 — that when implemented help us worry less and live more. From Philippians 4:6, Morgan draws “the practice of prayer.” You and I would probably agree about the awesome resource of prayer that gives us the opportunity and invitation to communicate with the Creator of the universe.
We would talk about the privilege of prayer and access to the life-changing power of God through prayer. We would probably be sure to stress the peace available from God through prayer. And we’d be right, but we’re still likely to lie awake at night worrying.
How do we reconcile our practice of worry with the admonition in Philippians 4:6, “do not be anxious about anything?” The word translated “anxious” in that verse derives from a word meaning to be pulled in many directions. Goodness knows we can relate. We sometimes feel pulled in so many directions we’re not thinking about living, only surviving. “But in every situation,” the verse urges us. Did you catch that — every situation? Your worry doesn’t fall outside the scope of God’s promise when you “by prayer and petition … present your requests to God.”
So what are you worrying about?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.