Worry is ruminating about an issue that is plaguing us without actually makingsubstantive progress in addressing the issue.Worry is a waste of time.Concern, however, is solution oriented.Concern focuses on solving the problem, addressing the issue.Concern comes up with options, sets priorities, and draws conclusions.God expects us to be responsible and take care of the things over which we areresponsible or have influence.That is concern.And we should be concerned about those things.“There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees aproblem, and a concerned person solves a problem.” Harold StephensConcern leads to action, worry leads to depression.Our English word "worry" comes from a word that means "to strangle” and itcertainly does strangle us emotionally, physically and spiritually.The mind thinks about problems, and these feelings weigh down the heart, creating avicious cycle that wrecks our emotional & physical states.Our minds tell us we should not fret, but we often cannot control the anxiety in ourhearts!We have to break this circle of worry before we can enjoy peace.
What causes worry?Wrong thinking and wrong attitudes toward people, circumstances, or things.Notice here in chapter 4 that Paul has no worry about people (vv. 1-5),circumstances (vv. 10-13), or the material things of life (vv. 14-19).Paul gives us Gods four-fold remedy for worry:1. Harmony2. Joy3. Contentment4. God-confidenceRemedy for Worry1) harmony in the fellowship2) joy in the Lord3) contentment in circumstances and4) confident trust in GodThese are the first steps on the path to spiritual stability (standing firm).Philippians 4:6-7“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication withthanksgiving…”Paul seems to be making a play upon two indefinite pronouns: nothing andeverything. "Worry about nothing; pray about everything."In verse 4 we were given one of the new commandments from God: Rejoice!4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Now in verse 6 is another commandment: Don’t worry do pray (about everything). “Nothing” is the most exclusive word in the English language. It leaves out everything. But the reason we are to worry about nothing is because we are to pray about everything. This means that we are to talk to the Lord about everything in our lives.
Nothing should be left out. Can you mention anything in your life that is big to God? When we say that we take our big problems to God, what do we mean?
When a wheel comes off your wagon, it may look like an impossible problem to you,but He will always hear and answer your cry. None of our problems are difficult for Him. But what we call “little things”, He wants us to bring those to Him also."There is nothing too great for Gods power; and nothing too small for his Fatherlycare.” William BarclayGod’s phone #Jeremiah 33:33“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, whichyou do not know.”As believers we need to get in the habit of bringing everything to Him in prayer --nothing excluded. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17Seven basic principles for developing and maintaining spiritual stability emerge fromPhilippians chapter 4:1)cultivating harmony in the church fellowship,2)maintaining a spirit of joy,3)learning to be content,4)resting on a confident faith in the Lord,5)reacting to problems with thankful prayer,6)thinking on godly virtues,7)obeying Gods standard.
REACTING TO PROBLEMS WITH THANKFUL PRAYER“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests bemade known…” Spiritually stable people constantly react to trials with thankful prayer. Such prayer is the antidote to worry and the cure for anxiety. The three synonyms used in v6: prayer, supplication, and requests – all refer to specific, direct offerings of petition to God.Philippians 4:6a6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication withthanksgiving let your requests be made known…” Philippians 4:6aThe assumption of the text is that believers will cry out to God when we have a needor a problem, not with doubting, questioning, or even blaming God, but withthanksgiving.Colossians 4:2“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;” Colossians 4:2Instead of having a spirit of rebellion against what God allows, believers are totrustingly “cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us" (1 Peter 5:7).
When we pray, we must always remember three things: 1) the love of God 2) the wisdom of God 3) the power of God 1) The wisdom of God always knows what is best for us. 2) The love of God always desires what is best for us. 3) The power of God can always bring to pass that which is best for us.He who prays with a perfect trust in the love, wisdom and power of God will findGods peace.Believers should always be thankful for: God’s love (Rom 5:5), Gods power (Ps 62:11; Rev 4:11), and for God’s promises (2 Cor 1:20).“The future is as bright as the promises of God.” William Carey
Gods promises support the wisdom of gratitude. He has promised that no trial believers face will be too difficult for them to handle (1 Cor 10:13).1 Corinthians 10:1313 “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God isfaithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with thetemptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 He has also promised to use everything that happens in believers lives for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28). Even suffering leads to our ultimate good.1 Peter 5:1010 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you toHis eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10People become worried, anxious, and fearful because they do not trust in: Gods love, God’s wisdom, or God’s power. They fear that God is not loving enough, wise enough, or strong enough to prevent disaster.
It may be that this sinful doubt is because their knowledge of Him is faulty, or that sin in their lives has crippled their faith. Thankful prayer brings release from fear and worry, because it affirms Gods sovereign control over every circumstance, and that His purpose is the believers good (Rom 8:28). “God causes all things to work together for our good”Worry is tension between the mind and heart.The peace of God will guard (garrison) our hearts and minds if we but meet theconditions He gives.Not just praying, but right praying.The Bible nowhere says that any kind of praying will bring peace to our hearts.What is right praying?It begins with adoration, for this is what the word "prayer" means in v. 6.This is love, enjoying the presence of God, honoring Him in worship.Rushing into His presence and begging for peace of mind will never get results.We must bow before Him in worship and let Him search our hearts and minds.Next comes supplication, which means the earnest, sincere desire of the heart.True prayer comes from the heart, not the lips.What a joy it is to present our requests to Him!Hebrews 4:1616 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that wemay receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Finally, there is appreciation or thanksgiving ( Eph. 5:20 and Col. 3:15-17).Colossians 3:15-1715 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called inone body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with allwisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritualsongs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word ordeed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God theFather. Colossians 3:15-17It takes faith to thank Him for uncomfortable circumstances or for requests not yetgranted.How God loves to hear His children thank Him!This is the way Daniel prayed in Daniel 6:10.
Daniel 6:1010 “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house(now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and hecontinued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks beforehis God, as he had been doing previously.” Daniel 6:10No wonder he had such peace in that lions den! The lions did not want to eat something with that much backbone!The result of believing prayer is that the peace of God will stand like a sentinel onguard upon our hearts.
Philippians 4:77 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heartsand your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7"Peace with God" is the result of faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1); "the peace of God" and thepresence of "the God of peace" will come when the believer Practices: right thinking, right praying, and right living.Worry, worry, worry!How many Christians lose their joy and peace because of worry?In chapter 4, Paul tells us that the secure mind—the mind that is guarded by thepeace of God—frees us from worry.Of course, the believer who does not have the single mind from chapter 1,the single mind of chapter 1 (1:27) – “you are standing firm in one spirit, with onemind”
the submissive mind of chapter 2 (2:3) – “with humility of mind, regard one another”and the spiritual mind of chapter 3 (3:19) – “our citizenship is in Heaven”can never have the secure mind of chapter 4 (4:7) – “the peace of Godshall guard your minds”.We must first live what Paul describes in the previous three chapters before we canclaim the promises and provisions of this final chapter.As M. R. Vincent puts it: "Peace is the fruit of believing prayer."The peace of God is so precious that mans mind, with all its skill and all its knowledge,can never produce it, it surpasses all understanding!
The Scripture speaks of other kinds of peace which we can understand. There is world peace.We have the assurance that someday peace will cover the earth as the waters coverthe sea.It will come through the person of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Also there is the peace that comes when sins are forgiven. Romans 5:1"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus”Then there is the peace that is tranquility.The Lord Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you..." (John14:27).That is a marvelous peace, but it is not "the peace... which passeth all understanding."But there is a peace that sweeps over our souls at certain times. If you look out at a sunset beyond a great snowcapped mountain and take in the majesty of Gods creation, a peace comes over you that "passeth all understanding."
And that same peace may come when your heavenly Father allows you to havecancer and go to the hospital frightened to death, and then that night when youcommit it all to Him and tell Him that you want to know He is real; He makes Himselfreal to you and that peace that "passeth all understanding" floods your soul. You can only say that it is a wonderful peace!With the God of peace to guide us and the peace of God to guard us, whatdo we have to be anxious about?