“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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.” Philippians 4:4-7
This beautiful passage begins with the command to rejoice always and in all things. This reminds us that joy in our life does not come from the circumstances of our life, but from our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Joy is one of the fruits that the Holy Spirit bears in our hearts when we draw near to Him in devotion. Through this, it is possible to choose to rejoice, instead of dwelling on anger or fear. Why – because “the Lord is at hand” (v.5b). Let us remember as we go through our week, the Lord is present with us in a real way. This is the imminent presence of God with us, indwelling our hearts by the Holy Spirit. You are not alone or forgotten. The Lord is at hand, to guide your life toward His good purposes.
Therefore, “do not be anxious about anything.” As a caring Father, the Lord Jesus is ready to hear the anxieties of your heart. Life is crazy and full, from youth to old age, with anxiety upon anxiety. Your only hope for peace is to learn the discipline of prayerfully giving your anxieties to the Lord. In a very literal way, when you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, get alone (in your car, your office, bedroom, etc.) and pour out your fears to Jesus who is at-hand and cares for you. Let your requests be made known to God, but temper these prayers always with thanksgiving. You may not see it until you get on your knees, but there is always much to give thanks for. By giving focus to thanksgiving, it helps remind us where Jesus is at work.
By praying in this way, you are consciously giving over to Jesus the temptation to be crippled by anxiety. There are only two options in your thinking: (1) the biblical teaching that God is sovereign, God is good, and God is working out a good plan in your life. Or, (2) God doesn’t really exist, the world is a series of random events shaped only by your efforts, and success is up to you. The first perspective leads to life, the second to pride and self-destruction.
If you struggle much with anxiety, this process of recognizing God’s near love for you and giving all anxiety over to Him in prayer may happen 100 times a day for a while. However, eventually, this habit of always coming to Jesus with your fears will keep you near to Jesus and constantly in prayer. This is known as abiding in Jesus (John 15:1-8) and walking by faith (Romans 1:17). This is the way Jesus would have us live. By this, the peace of God will “guard” your heart in a way that surpasses your understanding. As you grow in faith, thanksgiving, and joy you will begin to face trails with a peace that surpasses understanding – because you walk by faith – knowing that your heavenly Father loves you and is working out His purposes in your life.
Dear brothers and sisters – this week choose to be anxious for nothing – keep on giving your anxieties to the Lord!
May the peace of God guard your heart,