“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 4:6-7
Pauline literature has beautiful do’s and don’t’s. For example, Colossians 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self, with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Do not lie, put off the old self, and put on the new self. The Bible is full of these principals of putting off, and putting on. Do not, and do.
We are not left on the edge of a cliff of do not’s when we read Scripture, but rather we are given a bridge to the other side with God’s do’s. We come to the edge of the cliff and see that we must stop doing what we’re doing, then God provides a bridge to the other side where green pastures are, with the command, do this. Stop doing this, start doing this. Put this off, put this on. In other words, the Christian life is not a constant putting of, or adhering to commands, but rather it is a practice of putting off, and putting on. When we are in a constant state of trying to put off sinful practices, without putting on new Christ-like habits, we end up trying to overcome things by our own strength. When we see small glimmers of success upon our own strength, we become self-righteous, and in reality in the end we end up falling back into those old sinful behaviors. Don’t just put off, make sure to put on as well.
Our text today is a blueprint to the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. It says first, “Do not be anxious about anything” There is nothing worth being anxious over. Anxiety doesn’t change a situation, anxiety doesn’t give you peace. Anxiety will rob you of peace, control your decision making, and in reality is sinful. All anxiety stems from not trusting in the sovereign plan of God, and seeking to establish your own will over His will. Do not be anxious about anything.
If we were to stop here, which many do in practice, we do not have victory over anxiety. If we just white knuckle our anxiety, and seek to simply not be anxious, it is impossible to have victory. There are two sides to this coin.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
So, in other words, do not be anxious, do pray. Anytime anxiety creeps in and attempts to control the mind, the will, and emotions, you are to take those things directly to God. He is the source of all power, and it is Him who can help you overcome anxiety. Our problem is, we think we have the ability and power to overcome anxiety on our own. We believe and adhere to the first part of this text, ‘do not be anxious’ and look inward for strength, and it is not found. We are to look out of our self, to the source of all power, and ask for help in whatever it is we are anxious about. If you are worried about your children, take it to God. If you are worried about work, take it to God. If you are worried about finances, take it to God. Whatever it is, take it to God.
Here is the kicker, ask for the Lord’s will to be done. Prayer is not so much asking God to get on your side, more so it is asking God to help you get on His side. He knows better, He has your best in mind. He is trustworthy, and none of us will come to the end of our life and say, God was not faithful. He is faithful, He has proven it time and again, and this time will be no different.
Beg, ask, and plead earnestly, but never demand. God is not a genie, and we do not have any right to demand that He do anything for us. All of our prayers should have a disposition that says, let your will be done.
So, do not be anxious saint, it’s not worth it. Do not let your circumstance control you. There is nothing anxiety can do to help. Seek to put it to death by the power of the Spirit. Then, pray. Take everything that is causing anxiety directly to the throne of grace, and seek His help and power. He is the source of our strength, it is not found in you. Your well will run dry, He is a well of infinite power. Plead earnestly, but not demandingly. Make your requests known, but understand, they are merely requests. Do not, and do, these things and you will experience the beautiful promise attached to this text:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”