Three things jump at me as I read chapter four:
1. Don't worry. Worry is not about how big your problems are it is about how small you think God is. All we can do is surrender our cares, in prayer and supplication, to God. When we are able to do that we will know a peace beyond all understanding. I don't know about you but I am really good at surrendering issues to God and then snatching them back again. There are seasons where I seem to enjoy reveling in worry and turmoil. This is not a healthy way to live this life. We were created to live life in a love relationship with God. Living into that life is a matter of trust.
2. Think on these things. The Proverb says that as a person thinks so shall they be. I read somewhere that I am what I eat. I believe fully that I will become like whatever has become the central focus of my life. If I choose to focus on the negatives of life, the fear, the violence, the dehumanizing aspects of modern living I will find myself living in fear and growing angry. If I choose to place security of money or sex or power at the center of my life I will find myself living without peace and far from God. If I choose to think on -- truth, honor, justice, purity, pleasing, and commendable things . . . if I focus on excellence and what are praise worthy things, I will know a freer life and I will know the peace of God.
3. Constant striving, constant grasping, constant competing with others is the quintessential dead end of humanity. Paul tells us in 10-14 that he has "learned" to be content in all situations. Notice it wasn't given to him and he was not born with it: it had to be learned. I have to learn to not covet; I have to learn to not grasp and grab and want more and more and more. I have to learn to be content with whatever I have. The way that I learn this is by recognizing that all that I have, all that I am and all that I dream of being is a gift from God. When I recognize that God is my provider I will be able to do all things through Christ who gives me strength (13).