Summary: Message 27 from Philippians. This is the second of four messages exploring Paul's admonition to pray rather than worry.

Chico Alliance Church

March 19, 2017

“Living in Peace” Pt 2

Paul specified some specific joy related actions throughout chapter four.

• Stand firm in the Lord 4:1

• Harmonize in the Lord 4:2-3

• Rejoice in the Lord always 4:4

• Cultivate the Gentleness of the Lord 4:5

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near.

• Cultivate a life of persistent prayer to the Lord 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8

Joy often gets swallowed up by contention, anxiety and negative thinking.

Paul provides a path to peace from all of it. Realization of God’s nearness causes us to rejoice; generates gentleness; alleviates anxiety; keeps our thinking healthy and positive. There are three basic instructions in this passage leading toward a life of peace.

Cultivate a life of engaging gentleness over unsettling contention.

Cultivate a life of consistent prayer over persistent worry.

Cultivate a life of positive thinking over negative thinking.

The result of following his instructions is God’s supernatural peace guarding our hearts and minds and enabling us to recognize the presence of the God of peace.

Cultivate a life of consistent prayer over persistent worry.

Recognizing the Lord’s nearness is not only cause for gentle relating but peaceful trusting.

Mandate to eliminate persistent anxiety

Be anxious for nothing

First off, this command prohibits a present behavior. The implication is that they were struggling with anxiety. Paul also implies that it is possible to stop persistently worrying. The command was to stop being anxious about ANYTHING but instead, to talk to God about EVERYTHING. Don’t worry about one single thing.

The Greek term used in this passage appears 25 times in the New Testament in its noun and verb form and is variously translated care, take thought, anxious, worry, be anxious, fret. It is something both permitted (care) and prohibited (fret); positive and negative. Anxiousness or concern is a very common sometimes involuntary emotional response to thoughts about facing life in a broken world. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in America.

Every person manifests anxiety differently; sleeplessness, restlessness, distraction, fuzzy thinking, pain, shakiness, feelings of uneasiness, apprehension, dread, concern, tension, numerous physical symptoms from slight to severe.

Some see the difference between fear and anxiety.

Worry stems from a general uneasiness about a possible future threat.

Worry about losing my job.

Worry that someone doesn’t like me.

Worry that I might get an incurable disease.

It is impossible to prevent all dangers and threats.

Unchecked anxiety develops into obsessive compulsive behavior which attempts to decrease the uneasiness. Healthy people learn to live with the uncertain feelings by faith in God’s care.

Fear, on the other hand, is a response to a specific present real or perceive threat.

Fear surgical procedure.

Fear stemming from a specific diagnosis.

Fear triggered by a specific event.

Our focus will be on worry as addressed in Scripture.

The root idea in this term is to “divide into pieces”. It means to be mentally and emotionally troubled, distracted, divided, conflicted, choked or paralyzed due to thoughts concerning some possible threat. The feeling of worry is the emotional response to a negative thought process. The opposite of worry and anxiety is peace and contentment or a Biblical thought process that enables us to manage life’s difficulties. Adjusting one’s thinking lies at the core of Paul’s prescription for worry. The term translated negatively “worry” here is also translated positively in other passages by the word “care” or “concern”. Paul used it early in his letter describing Timothy’s “concern” or interest for them. Paul included it in a discussion of personal struggles and suffering.

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 2 Cor 11:28

Paul urged “concern” for one another. Jesus targeted destructive worry in the sermon on the Mount. (Matt 6:25-34). He used the word “worry or fret” five times in these verses. He focused on fretting about food and clothes. He reminded them how much the heavenly Father cares about birds and flowers but cares much more about people. He reminded them that there are some things that we can do nothing about. Worry won’t make you any taller. In another place, he reminds them that worry won’t add any more days to our life.

Someone said, “Who says worry doesn’t work. The things I worry about never happen.” Jesus called failure to trust His love a lapse in faith. “you of little faith”. Your heavenly Father is fully aware of your needs. He urged them to set their priority on pleasing God. He told them not to worry about possible future trouble but concentrate on the actual trouble of today. When we expend emotional energy by worry about what might happen tomorrow we deplete the energy God provided for the issues of today.

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