There is so much wisdom in the book of Philippians. These nuggets are truths we can live by. It is so important that we stay true to the Lord. He has certainly never let us down. He is ever ready to stand guard over our lives and give us direction. He doesn’t impose on us, and that is part of what is so wonderful.
God has given us all a life. What we do with it is our choice. How do you choose to live your life? Are you a lone ranger trying to do it all alone? Or, are you relying on God for your every move. A lot of us are somewhere in between. We like our freedom, yet we know we may not have the best plan. God does have the best plan for us, and often it’s not what we were thinking at all.
One of my favorite passages is found in today’s reading. Verse 6 and 7 really resonate with me. Looking at verse 6 first: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Have you had times in your life where you forgot to trust God and worried about something? Don’t fret (notice I didn’t say worry!), we all have done this. I have known some ferocious worriers in my day. When I first discovered this verse, I felt a sense of freedom. The message is simple, but we often forget. We often worry about things we shouldn’t be worried about. What SHOULD we be doing? Praying. There is so much freedom and peace that comes from praying.
When a situation is out of our control, which most of them are, it does no good to worry. Most of what we worry about never happens anyway, and we’ve wasted our time, our joy, our peace with that silly worrying. As I write this, I have my own concerns (don’t we all), so this is a good reminder to me to PRAY! Don’t worry.
We can’t forget the gratefulness piece here either. We need to thank God for what is doing. A grateful heart is a happy heart. A happy heart does not worry but praises God for all of his provision. Never forget to give thanks to God for what he has done for you. If you are feeling a little out of sorts, remember the cross.
Verse 7 goes on to tell us what our “reward” will be when we don’t worry but choose to trust God. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Oh my. Peace. Peace that exceed our understanding. That certainly sounds good to me!
And, it’s true. If you haven’t experienced God’s peace, you really should. He offers it to everyone who trusts. That’s the key – trust. Even though we sometimes say, “Yup, I’m trusting God this time” there is a small part of us that is still worrying. Right? So long as we hold on to a little bit, our peace cannot be full. We are cheating ourselves of God’s gift.
Yesterday in training for our business, our leader spent a long time focusing on verse 8. In case you’re wondering how is it that we might FULLY trust and close out those worrisome thoughts, verse 8 is our answer. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” There it is. Simple, yet hard. Remember worry is of the evil one meant to keep us from trust God.
So what is on your heart right now? Are you finding yourself caught up in worry? Maybe you are struggling financially. Maybe your children are growing way too fast and you’re feeling insecure as a parent. Maybe your children are grown and on their own but you don’t know if they are following Jesus. Don’t let yourself get caught up in worry. Trust God. Think about the truth. God desires us to be in relationship with him and to trust his leading. We need to get out of our own way.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank you that you’ve got my back. Thank you that I can come to you with my struggles and pain and you take it from me. You have died for me so that I can be free. Help me to focus on the truth and on the beauty of your grace. I surrender to you my worry right now. Take it from me and fill me with your peace. I pray for those who don’t know you and your promises. Bring those people alongside me so that I can reflect you in a relevant way for them. Use me God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.