Summary: In these two verses God gives us a formula to practice to overcome anxiety and worry. Four words that begin with the letter R will help you to learn to have peace even when circumstances are not peaceful. Realize, Reach, Release and Rest.
I. Realize (v. 6) "Be anxious for nothing"
We must first come to the place that we know that we are anxious. The Bible says our hearts are deceptive. Sometimes we do not know what is bothering us. Some people show anger. Some get depressed. Underlying these emotions might be anxiety and worry.
The Psalmist prayed "search me oh God and know my heart." prayer and reflection will lead to us to know what we are worried about.
Areas in life that we worry about:
1. Our relationship with God. Am I really a believer? Has God truly accepted me?
2. Our marriage? If you are single, your concern about getting married.
3. Our children.
4. Our work. Environment, income, relationships on the job etc.
5. Our church.
6. Finances/ money.
7. Our health.
Once the Lord has revealed to us that we are indeed worried or anxious and what we are worried or anxious about we are ready for the next step.
II. Reach (v.6)
Reach out to the Lord in prayer.
A. "Prayer" denotes a humble, submissive attitude. "I need You Lord." It carries the idea of begging. "If My people which are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face then I will hear..."
B. "Supplication" (NKJV) means strong urgings. Many times in the Scripture the idea of 'Crying out to the Lord" is used. In the Old testament one might put on 'sack cloth' (rough clothing) and sit in ashes as an act of strong pleadings in prayer.
Once we have done this we are ready for the next step.
III. Release (v.6)
'with thanksgiving, let your requests be known' (NKJV)
"Give thanks in all things" the Bible states. It may not make sense for us to say "thank you Lord for this hardship." For this cancer... For this conflict at work... For this financial crisis... But is demonstrates faith, trust in the Lord. It demonstrates His Lordship, His power, His wisdom and His ability to handle the matter. It draws us closer to Him.
Once we have done this, we are ready for the next step.
IV. Rest (v.7)
A. 'and the peace of God..."
Remember David's meditation? "He leads us beside the still waters, He makes us to lie down (Rest) in green pastures." David said even when we are walking through the shadows of death! A calmness will come over us that is beyond circumstantial reason. The Scripture says 'Rest in the Lord."
B. "which surpasses understanding"
Some one said that the main message of the Bible is "I am God and you are not." 'trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean (trust) in your own understanding." His ways are beyond, bigger than, wiser than ours. He is incompressible. He has revealed a lot about Himself to us but Paul say we still look through a dark or dim glass. When we are with Him we will know even as we are known.
Again, we will experience a calmness that simply has nothing to do with our circumstances.
C. "will guard your hearts and minds"
I love this phrase. It means to garrison about. He will have his troops encamp around us. Around our hearts (feelings) and minds (thought processes). If you were being robbed, wouldn't you feel better when the police arrived? Well He is saying the Cavalry is here. You will be calm. You will rest in Him. He says I promise it.