A study of Philippians 4:6-7 encourages anxious free living, prayer with thanksgiving, and assures the protection of God’s peace.
A study of Philippians 4:6-7 encourages anxious free living
V. 6 Do not be anxious about anything…
The Greek word for anxious is merimnáō, which means to be concerned or anxious. Something we all understand and experience.
That’s because so much of life is beyond our control. And becomes a source of worry and anxiety. Paul’s words may even sound a bit patronizing. With all the uncertainty going on today, how can you NOT worry? And what does Paul know of all the pressure and stress you’re under anyway?
Wait. Isn’t he in prison as he writes this letter? And it’s not all he’s suffered for the cause of Christ either. He rattles off a whole list of extreme, life-threatening events he has experienced in 2 Corinthians 11:16-28. So he speaks from first hand experience. Which makes his advice credible.
But what’s the secret? A NO WORRY switch you flip? Or do you hang an ANXIOUS FREE sign around your neck and that does the trick?
REFLECT AND RECORD
Think of times you’ve experienced anxiety. What caused it? How did you deal with it? What resolved it? How did your Christian faith make a difference?
A study of Philippians 4:6-7 encourages prayer with thanksgiving
But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…
Now Paul moves to an action item. God can handle what’s out of your control, So express your concerns to Him.
By prayer and supplication simply means to ask in prayer. Knowing God has the ultimate say in all things.
Jesus also addressed our natural tendency to worry in Matthew 6:25-34. And reminds us that God cares for all creation–which includes us.
However, to pray with thanksgiving doesn’t mean gratitude because God grants every request like a divine genie. But to acknowledge His Sovereignty as the giver of all that is good. To thank Him for His provisions. And trust in his care. What are some things you’re grateful for? Take a moment and thank God.
Let your requests be made known to God…
There’s no approved do an don’t topic list for prayer requests. Although you might avoid a shopping list that’s all about you. And keep in mind that in Luke 18:1-9, Jesus encourages persistence in prayer. So think beyond one and done.
And don’t assume God’s answer is always “yes.” Although James 4:2-3 suggests that maybe you don’t receive because you don’t ask.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill for removing anxiety. Even Jesus experienced anxiety and in Luke 22:39-44 he prayed for a different outcome. But in the end accepted God’s will in obedience. And we should too.
A study of Philippians 4:6-7 assures the protection of God’s peace
We all probably prefer the protection of God’s power. But that is not always His provision. Our desired outcome is not guaranteed. Although God does promise in Romans 8:28 to make everything work for good. Have you experienced difficult experiences that God worked out for good? What did you learn from them?
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word for guard is phrŏurĕō, and means to mount guard as a sentinel. In other words, God’s peace will guard your heart and mind from anxious thoughts. Maybe not to dismiss entirely, but to prevent them from dominating your attention. Why is this important? Because when you are anxious, your imagination runs away with wild speculations of the worst possible outcomes. And only creates more anxiety.
The Greek word for peace is eirene and primarily denotes a state, not a relationship or attitude. Its Hebrew counter part is shalom and better communicates Paul’s meaning for Christ-followers. Because Shalom refers not just to absence of physical conflict, but the sense of wellbeing which comes from a right relationship with God. When you are in a right relationship with God, you don’t need to fear death. Because it is simply entrance into an eternal future with God.
How has God’s peace sustained you during difficult times? Where do you need that peace right now? Express it to God and ask for His peace that transcends your understanding.
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