Peace Without Worry – 1

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Scripture Text – Philippians 4:1-9

If anybody had an excuse for worrying, it was the Apostle Paul. His beloved Christian friends at Philippi were disagreeing with one another, and he was not there to help them. We have no idea what Euodia and Syntyche were disputing about, but whatever it was, it was bringing division into the church. Along with the potential division at Philippi, Paul had to face division among the believers at Rome (Philippians 1:14–17). Then on top of these things was the looming possibility of his own death! Yes, Paul had a good excuse to worry—but he didn’t! Instead, he took time to explain to us the secret of victory over worry.

What is worry? The Greek word translated “anxious” (in other versions, “careful”) in Philippians 4:6 means “to be pulled in different directions.” Our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears pull us the opposite direction; thus, we are being pulled apart when we give in to worry! The Old English root from which we get our word “worry” means “to strangle.” If you have ever really worried, you know how it does strangle a person! In fact, worry has definite physical consequences: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, even back pains. Worry affects our thinking, our digestion, and even our coordination.

From the spiritual point of view, worry is wrong thinking (the mind) and wrong feeling (the heart) about circumstances, people, and things. Worry is the greatest thief of joy. As most people know, It is not enough for us, however, to tell ourselves to “quit worrying” because that will never capture or subjugate the thief. Worry is an “inside job,” and it takes more than good intentions to get the victory over it. The antidote to worry is the secure mind: “And the peace of God . .  will guard (guard like a soldier at a garrison) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When you have the secure mind, the peace of God guards you and the God of peace guides you. With that kind of protection—why worry?

If we are to conquer worry and experience the secure mind, we must meet the conditions that God has laid down. There are three we are going to discuss: right praying, right thinking, and right living.

Right Praying

Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7.

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Paul does not write, “Pray about it!” He is too wise to do that. He uses three different words to describe “right praying”: prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. “Right praying” involves all three. The word prayer is the general word for making requests known to the Lord. It carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship. Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and worship Him. Adoration is what is needed. We must see the greatness and majesty of God! We must realize that He is big enough to solve our problems. Too often we rush into His presence and hastily tell Him our needs, when we ought to approach His throne calmly and in deepest reverence. The first step in “right praying” is adoration.

The second is supplication, an earnest sharing of our needs and problems. There is no place for halfhearted, insincere prayer! While we know we are not heard for our “much speaking” (Matthew 6:7–8), still we realize that our Father wants us to be earnest in our asking (Matthew 7:1–11). This is the way Jesus prayed in the Garden (Hebrews 5:7), and while His closest disciples were sleeping, Jesus was sweating great drops of blood! Supplication is not a matter of carnal energy but of spiritual intensity and fervency (Romans 15:30; Colossians 4:12).

After adoration and supplication comes appreciation, giving thanks to God (see Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:15–17). Christians have a tendency to easily say “I love you,” without a lot of thought today. However, it’s not many that will tell someone, “I appreciate you.” Certainly the Father enjoys hearing His children say, “Thank You!” When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one of the ten returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11–19), and we can only imagine if the percentage is any higher today. We are quick to ask but slow to appreciate.

You will note that “right praying” is not something every Christian can do immediately, because “right praying” is dependent on the right state of mind. This is why Paul’s formula for peace is found at the end of Philippians and not at the beginning. If we have the single mind of Philippians 1 then we can give adoration. (How can a double-minded person ever praise God?) If we have the submissive mind of Philippians 2, we can come with supplication. (Would a person with a proud mind ask God for something?) If we have the spiritual mind of Philippians 3 we can show our appreciation. (A worldly minded person would not know that God had given him anything to appreciate!) In other words, we must practice Philippians 1, 2, and 3 if we are going to experience the secure mind of Philippians 4.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 2.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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