Tom Landry, a former coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team, had the ability to stay calm in the midst of a tense game. The television cameras would show Coach Landry on the sidelines with his arms folded seemingly very relaxed, while on the field the game was hanging in the balance.
Landry is a fine Christian layman and in a written testimony he said, “I overcame my fears and anxieties by a commitment to something far greater than winning a football game – a commitment to Jesus Christ.”
Landry was saying the answer to fear and anxiety is a commitment to Jesus Christ. But Christians can suffer from fear and anxiety. Paul in his letter to the Philippians (4:6-9) gives help with this problem. He diagnosed the problem, prescribed a cure, recommended a program and made a promise to the Philippians. What he said for them will encourage us who are prone to let fears and anxieties take control in our lives.
Paul says worry is a divided mind between legitimate thoughts and destructive thoughts. Worry can take over our lives and it chokes out the word of God. It causes us to abandon our trust in God who tells us to cast our care upon him.
The prescription for worry is prayer. He says, “in everything” by prayer. Prayer may not change the situation, but it always changes us and makes us better.
Paul advises us to replace anxious thoughts with prayer and thanksgiving. To avoid anxiety we must have right thinking and right action.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts make the ruts that our actions will follow. What we think about is what we end up practicing.
We have the promise of peace when we pray and think and act as God intends. Peace will then guard our hearts. This is how we should handle our fears and anxiety.