Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
For all those of you who are prone to worry, did you ever stop to think how dangerous worrying is? Over 100 diseases have been directly attributed to worry! Worry will not only take away your physical energy, but it will also rob the soul of its stamina as well. Why? Worry is the ultimate act of rebellion against the rule of God in a believer’s life. How? Worry says that God is dead; and if He is alive, then He is incapable of doing anything about my situation!
Even though we may know these things, it doesn’t change the fact that people worry. As a matter of fact, worry could be called the most popular pastime of the human race. One elderly lady said, “I always feel bad when I feel good, for I know that I’ll feel bad after a while!” What a tragic outlook, yet many people live right there. The bottom line is this, When we worry we have ceased to trust the Lord, and that is a sin!
When you get right down to it, although the calendar says that there are seven days in the week, there are really only three. Two of them should never cross our minds in worry. One of them is yesterday, and it can never be changed. The other is tomorrow and no man holds the power to affect tomorrow. Today is really the only day we have and with God’s help, we can face anything that arises, Phil. 4:13. My friends, worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy, but it doesn’t get you anywhere! If worry is eating you alive and is destroying your physical and spiritual life, I want to help you defeat its power.
A Caution To Observe – Nowhere does the Bible ever attempt to downplay the existence of problems. In fact, it tells us quite plainly that problems will stalk us as long as we live in this world, Job 14:1; John 16:33; Eccl. 2:23. Of course, you didn’t need me to tell you that troubles and trials are real, did you? After all, you battle them every day of your life.
A Command To Obey – When it comes to worrying over the problems we face in this life God has one word to say: Don’t! The phrase “be careful for nothing” literally means “Do not worry about anything!” As clearly as I can tonight, I want us all to understand that worry is a sin! What is worry? The word refers to “a troubled state of mind resulting from concern about current or potential difficulties.” It comes from an Old English word that means “to strangle”. It was used to refer to the practice of wolves killing sheep by biting them around the neck, thus strangling their prey to death.
This is literally what worry does in your life. It will strangle you physically and spiritually. Worry will choke the life right out of you! “Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it falls due.” “Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow’s troubles.” “Worry pulls tomorrow’s cloud over today’s sunshine.” “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” Why is worrying a sin? It displays a lack of faith in the reality of God and in His ability to meet your needs, Rom. 14:23. Worry calls God a liar; it doubts His ability and it says “God is dead!” Why should Christians not worry? – There are several good reasons! God knows what you have faced, are facing and will face – Pro. 15:3; Job 23:10; Psa. 37:23. God cares about what you face in life – Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 5:7. God has promised to take care of you – Phil. 4:19; Heb. 13:5-6.
A WORD ABOUT PRAYER – If we can’t worry, then what can we do? We can pray! Instead of worrying, the child of God is counseled to pray. When Paul talks about praying, he uses three words in this verse. He talks about prayer, supplication, and requests. An examination of each of these will help make his instructions more clear.
Prayer – This word is the general word for coming into the presence of the Lord. It carries the idea of our acknowledging God for Who He is. It speaks of adoration, worship, and devotion. It is the picture of a weak child seeking the attention of a powerful parent. It is the picture of our seeing Him for Who He really is. Prayer is the believer of leaving the cares of the world behind to get lost in the presence of God. It is about our worship and adoration of God. When we get our eyes off our troubles and can focus them on the face of our Heavenly Father, then as He grows larger in our hearts, our problems grow smaller in our minds! When trouble comes in your life or mine, one of the greatest sources of strength we possess is our ability to escape from our world into His. We can literally step into a realm where troubles, sorrows, and worries cannot follow!
Supplication – This word refers to an earnest sharing of our burdens, needs, and problems. It speaks not of flippant prayer, but of prayers that arise out of the heart. Fervent prayer about needs that move the soul is in view here. God wants His children to pray, but He wants us to pray with a passion for the things that move our hearts, James 5:16. Heb. 5:7; Rom. 15:30; Col. 4:12
Requests – This word refers to a detailed prayer about specific issues. We need to learn to pray specifically and not in generalities! Many times, we pray around and issue, but never prayer in a detailed specific manner. We should never be afraid to approach God with the specific needs of life! He has promised to hear from you and to answer you, Jer. 33:3.
The Atmosphere Of Prayer – Paul says that we are to do this “in everything”. Big things and little things alike are to be the subjects of our prayer lives. Nothing is too big for God and nothing is too small for Him either. A deacon who only prayed about the “big things”. What is big to God?) We need to learn to pray about everything all the time! God wants us in His presence talking to Him about every matter of life, Heb. 4:16; Matt. 7:7-11; 1 Thes. 5:17.
The Attitude Of Prayer – Notice that our praying is to be done in the attitude of “thanksgiving”. As we approach God with the worries, fears, and burdens of life, we should do so with a thankful heart. Why? We have a God Who cares about us; Who hears us; Who loves us and Who had promised to answer our prayers when we call upon Him. Besides that, regardless of how bad life becomes, God has directed our path to that point and He is actively working out His will in us, Rom. 8:28. We need to learn to be thankful people! (Ill. Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17-20; 1 Thes. 5:18.) After all, He has done for us; the least we can do is to be thankful to Him! If He never did another thing for me, I would have enough reason to praise Him for all eternity! Let me learn to be thankful in His presence, Psalm 100.
God wants us to know that there are some precious promises that can be ours if we can come to the place where we refuse to allow worry to be our master, and we learn to bring our needs to him.
God Promises Us His Peace – We are promised His peace. What is peace? The best definition I have ever heard is this: Peace is tranquility of the soul! This kind of peace “passes all understanding”. In other words, it is “a mind-blowing experience.” This is a state of being where you are calm in the heart and mind despite the fact that turmoil and strife are raging around you. This is calm in the heart that exists even though your storm still rages. It is a mysterious thing, but it is God’s gift to those who will trust in Him “in everything”. This is the kind of peace that Jesus promised His disciples, John 14:27. It is a peace that is divine in origin. It is a peace that cannot be disrupted by the problems, disturbances, and difficulties of life. It is a peace that cannot waiver, that cannot be shaken and that cannot be destroyed. Job had this kind of peace. Daniel had this kind of peace. The 3 Hebrew boys had this kind of peace. David had this kind of peace. I have had this kind of peace and it is amazing!
God Promises Us His Preservation – We are told that God’s peace will “keep your hearts and minds.” When Paul mentions the heart, he is referring to the seat of the emotions. The heart is the place from which our feelings come. When Paul mentions the mind, he is referring to the place where we do our thinking. And, what is worry if it isn’t wrong feeling and wrong thinking? When we see our burdens, our problems and our fears through human eyes, we will always develop wrong feelings and wrong thoughts about the things we face in life. However, God’s promise is that His peace will “keep” our “hearts and our minds.” The word “Keep” means “to stand guard over”. When Paul wrote these very words, he had a Roman guard on either side of him. They were “standing guard” over the man of God. Paul says that God’s peace is like a guard that protects the heart from wrong feelings and the mind from wrong thoughts! I don’t know about you, but I need that kind of help all the time!