Summary: Philippians - Manual of Joy Joy and Secret of Contentment
Philippians - Manual of Joy
Joy and Secret of Contentment
Paul moves from worry to contentment. He knows what is it to face life and worry tells us that to turn to God and his peace will fill our souls God’s peace floods his mind and heart like a warrior to do battle with unbelief of anxiety.
Main idea –
1. Our Responsibility: take my worry to God (vs. 6)
Paul tells us not to be anxious but to take our concerns to God. Paul uses three words to describe how we do this. In everything “by prayer,” that's the broad word for spiritual devotion, including different kinds of prayer. Then “supplication,” that's the narrow word that focuses on the kind of prayer he has in mind, specifically, asking for help. The last word, “with thanksgiving,” that's the humble, non-demanding mindset that flavors all of prayer. Making requests thankfully means that we will be content and thankful with whatever God wisely and lovingly gives us. And we know that he will hear our prayer and wisely and lovingly give us what's best for us.
If you want victory over worry and you want to have the steady enjoyment of God's peace, then listen to God’s prescription, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Notice he says “in everything.” In everything let your requests be made known to God.” Pray about everything. Stay in a mindset of prayer all day. Don't just pray in crises. Pray about everything. If anxiety or worry is unbelief then the prescription is to turn to God in faith and trust him for whatever is on our minds and hearts because he cares for you. If we are sick or hurting we go to the physician, get his prescription, and follow it because he knows what is best for us. God knows far better what is in our best interests, so take this prescription. Take your worries to God in prayer because he cares for you. He cares for you means that he will look out for you, that he will take care of you, and that you can rest in his hands. Notice the phrase, ‘do not be anxious about anything but in everything let your requests be made known to God. God is the answer to what you are worrying about.
What is the promise that comes with the command to take it to the Lord in prayer?
2. God’s promise: His Peace will Guard my Heart and mind (vs. 7)
God’s peace will guard our hearts and our minds. Notice that he does not just say peace but the peace of God, God’s peace. This is not just psychological peace. This is peace supernaturally flowing from God. This peace surpasses all understanding. This peace is that which transcends any humanistic ability to control our mind and emotions flowing from God to us. This peace will guard our hearts and our minds. It will guard not only our thoughts but also our emotions. Paul is using military language to remind us of the battle that we face daily is a spiritual one. Paul is sitting in prison with a Roman Centurion at his side. In his own struggle over the uncertainty of his own life, he found that as he goes to God in prayer with thanksgiving making his needs known to God, When we make our requests known to God like this—in the devotion of prayer, in many specific requests for help, with a heart that is thankful for everything God designs for us, the pleasures and the pain—then his peace will guard our minds and free us from anxiety in a way that defies mere rational explanation; it surpasses all understanding. I pray that the Lord might make you feel the joy and the wonder and the power and privilege and the peace of a life of prayer!
My desire is that we be a people with a radical devotion to Christ, a spiritual passion that moves and motivates our lives. That we have a reckless faith that defies all circumstances. That we can walk in the face of uncertainty, even dire circumstances believing that nothing is impossible with God. Just as he sustained Israel in the desert for 40 years with no food or drink and neither their clothing nor sandals wore out, we believe God will sustain us and provide for us. I desire that we be known as a people who pray because we believe that God is passionately committed to us, loves to answer our prayers, and loves to supernaturally intervene in the lives of those who will believe him. That will get the attention of Homer and our witness will have power and influence.
When I find myself worrying: Confess it; Renounce it; and then turn from it and turn to God in prayer