“..Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9
This week this set of verses has been swirling around my life and my days. I have heard it many times but as God does his highlighting we often see clearer.
When I have the same scripture two or three times in one day from different sources I know God is trying to tell me something. This was one of those times.
I had been reading and studying the Bible and I felt blessed to recently see or talk with distant friends. My week was going fine yet I felt anxious, disconnected and distant from the Lord. Have you ever felt that way?
I heard a pastor say in a sermon this week that one of two things is occurring here if we are still fearful or anxious.
One – we don’t have the accurate, right and true vision of who God is or two – our prayer life is lacking.
We live in a time of high anxiety. In the world around us and in our personal lives. And yet here in scripture, the apostle Paul is telling us to not be anxious. The irony of this letter is that he writes it to the church in Philippi while he is in a Roman jail cell.
He writes “…do not be anxious about anything” – anything? Anything. How is that possible? This is where truly understanding and reminding ourselves of who God genuinely is –not our lens of him – that brings such comfort. His sovereignty, grace, mercy, justness, and wisdom must be in our minds.
Paul goes on to tell us to bring it to God (this requires action and intentionality on our part) –in prayer and supplication. Which is with a deep heartfelt purpose. We need to go beneath the surface where our fretting and our worries tend to lie and go deep – laying out our hearts at Gods feet.
Yet doing this with a deep sense of thanksgiving, declaring our gratitude for all we have been given and are going through and giving God the glory. When we do this God then promises to give us a peace that comes from only him. And not just give it to us but it will guard our hearts and our minds from future anxiety and fear.
But Paul does not end there. How are we to keep the anxiety away? By focusing on what is true – found in God, honorable -worthy of respect and admiration, just-in harmony with Gods divine standard of holiness, pure -morally clean and undefiled, lovely- pleasing, commendable – highly regarded and excellent. (ESV footnotes)
Where our thoughts are placed matter greatly. I love that Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything but to pray, know God hears you and to focus your mind on positive and good things. Our minds and emotions control so much. Being intentional on what is truly worthy to fill our hearts and heads must take place. It is a battle of our earthly physical senses and body with the much higher and deeper spiritual calling of eternity.
He ends with remember what you have learned and know and now go and do them. Remember who the sovereign God is, remember what he has given you in the death of his son, remember how he has already met you on your journey, remember he loves you greatly and is with you always.
This was such and encouragement to me and I was reminded to be intentional in prayer – specific prayer, all of me – for all of him.
Be encouraged my friends and lay it down this week. He will meet you. You are loved!