By Olin Williams
February 1, 2022

Anxiety is reaching a high level in our society today. With the global outbreak of viruses and political demonstrations of different views, society is facing a period of apprehension and fear. What does the word anxiety actually mean?

The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, ” Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The term, “be careful for nothing,” is the closest biblical meaning to the word anxiety. The root meaning is, “to draw in different directions or distract”; that is to have distracting care or anxiety.

Apostle Paul’s command to “be careful for nothing,” does not suggest carelessness, but to refrain from being troubled with cares or carrying unnecessary burdens. Jesus uses the term, “take no thought,” in Matthew chapter 6. This does not mean thoughtlessness, but rather anxiousness or undue thought. The dictionary defines anxious as “trouble in the mind respecting some uncertain matter.” Apprehensive and fearful would be synonyms.

Worry means to be “uneasy in the mind; to feel anxiety about something, to fret.” The old Anglo-Saxon root idea for anxiety is to “strangle or choke,” describing its destructive force. The Apostle Paul himself personally experienced the destructive force of anxiety. Therefore he is warning the Philippian church of this danger.

In 2 Corinthians 11;28, the Apostle Paul writes, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” He is saying besides being beaten, stoned , shipwrecked, etc. for his beliefs, he has to be concerned about the spiritual needs of the churches. Therefore he is recommending by prayer and supplication, we should make our requests be made known unto God.

Besides the task of making a living, we are facing social dilemma of extreme proportions today. Let us heed the words of Apostle Paul and turn to prayer to God. In 1 Peter 5:7, we read, ” Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”