Have you ever met someone who seems to be at peace no matter what is happening?
For most of us, worry gets in the way of peace. It’s hard to feel peace when you allow worry and anxiety to take over.
Paul discovered how to avoid worry and have peace no matter the circumstances.
We’ve been studying Philippians throughout this blog series, but let’s take a minute to review.
Paul had plenty of reasons to worry. For one, he was in jail while he was writing this letter to the Church of Philippi! He was also dealing with division in the church as well as church conflict and other disagreements.
Situations like these would cause most people to worry, but Paul did not. As Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “Instead, [Paul] took time to explain to us the secret of victory over worry.”
Today, we are going to learn this secret.
For this joy-filled series, we are following along with Warren W. Wiersbe’s outstanding commentary of Philippians, Be Joyful: Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy. We encourage you to pick up your own copy to study this book with us. This week we are focusing on Philippians 4:1-9.
What is Worry?
Worry twists us up in knots. It affects our thinking, and worry has physical consequences like ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, and heart disease (See Article from WebMD).
Have you ever made yourself sick by worrying? It happens!
For today’s purposes, we are going to discuss worry through a spiritual lens.
According to Wiersbe, “Worry is wrong thinking (the mind) and wrong feeling (the heart) about circumstances, people and things. Worry is the greatest thief of joy.”
As Paul explains, we combat worry by having a secure mind.
Throughout his letter (the Book of Philippians), Paul has been building to the secure mind.
He taught us the importance of the single mind, the submissive mind, and the spiritual mind. InPhilippians 4, Paul is describing the secure mind. As Wiersbe further explains, “When you have the secure mind, the peace of God guards you and the God of peace guides you.” That’s a wonderful promise!
For those who follow Christ, we experience peace with God. “This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, or things (Wiersbe).”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:6-7
In order to experience the secure mind and have true peace, you must pray the right way.
In verse 6, Paul identifies three components for “right praying:” prayer/adoration, petition/supplication, and thanksgiving/appreciation.
The first step of our prayer should recognize God’s majesty and His ability to meet our needs. Google “Psalms Scripture on adoration.”
The next step in praying is sharing honestly and openly about our needs.
The final step of our prayer should be thanksgiving when we show appreciation for all He has done.
In these verses, Paul instructs us to pray about everything in every situation.
As Wiersbe points out, “We are prone to pray about the ‘big things’ in life and forget to pray about the so-called ‘little things’ – until they grow and become big things! Talking to God about everything that concerns us and Him is the first step towards victory over worry.”
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8
Worry controls our mind if we let it.
“Wrong thinking leads to wrong feeling, and before long the heart and mind are pulled apart and we are strangled by worry (Wiersbe).”
Have you ever felt that way? If so, then pay careful attention to verse eight.
Here, Paul highlights what we should think on rather than allowing worry to drive our thought lives.
When our thoughts are focused on the true and noble, it is much harder for Satan to use worry against us.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
– Philippians 4:9
Finally, by living right, we can take control of our thoughts.
Since our actions are guided by what is in our hearts and minds, we must be cognizant of what we are taking in and how we apply it to the way we live.
“Facts in the head are not enough; we must also have truths in the heart. In Paul’s ministry, he not only taught the Word but also lived it so that his listeners could see the truth in his life (Wiersbe).”
By right praying, right thinking, and right living, we experience the secure mind and the peace of God that comes along with it. If we do not take heed of Paul’s instruction, we will continuously battle worry.
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