Summary: The struggles we face as we journey with the Lord are varied and many. None are more difficult that the battles that rage within our minds. If we are to overcome, we must approach this battle from a biblical approach. (A continuation of previous study)
Preparing our Heart and Mind (Part 2)
Philippians 4: 4-9
We began to consider these powerful verses in our last study, and I hope to conclude them today. Paul was well aware of the various struggles the church faced. Society presented particular challenges and there were disagreements and struggles within the church itself. However, Paul knew one of the greatest battles any believer would face was within his or her own heart and mind. For the church to be victorious in Christ, believers need to be aware of the tactics of the enemy and prepared to face his attacks.
I am sure you will agree that many of the battles we face regarding our spiritual walk with the Lord originate in the mind. We too must prepare for the battle, guarding our heart and mind from attack. I want to resume our look at the challenges Paul offered as we consider: Preparing our Heart and Mind. Quickly, let’s review our last study. We discovered:
I. An Appeal to Rejoice (4)
A. The Admonition – This was not a mere suggestion.
B. The Expectation – Rejoice in the Lord always…and again I say, Rejoice!
II. An Appeal to Remain (5-7)
A. Resilient (5) – Remaining humble and gracious in difficulty; resilient in faith.
B. Confident (6a) – Not irresponsibly, but without anxiety and worry.
C. Dependent (6b) – but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Paul was well aware of his dependence on the Lord for every area of life, especially when facing attack from the enemy. In order to overcome, he knew he must remain in constant communication with the Lord through prayer, being totally dependent upon Him to provide strength and wisdom to overcome.
I know this seems elementary for those who have walked with the Lord for years, but it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of prayer. We are no match for the enemy within our own strength and wisdom. If we are to guard our hearts and minds, being prepared to face the attacks of the enemy, we must be committed to diligence in prayer. We must take our needs to the Lord while depending solely upon Him to provide and equip us for battle.
A hurried look at this verse would miss its great importance. Paul actually provides a detailed look at the various types of prayer we must offer unto the Lord. In fact, each of these aspects should be present each time we pray. He speaks of:
Prayer – This speaks of a special time of worship and devotion unto the Lord. We should never approach the throne of grace apart from a time of worship and devotion for the Lord, in recognition of His sovereign power and grace.
Supplication – This refers to our focus upon a special or particular need. It involves coming before the Lord and pouring our heart out before Him, declaring our need and pleading with Him to intervene on our behalf.
Thanksgiving – This is an offering of praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord for His great provision in our lives and the grace He daily bestows.
Requests – Paul urged the church to make specific requests about specific needs. He desired the church to get away from casual, generic praying, and seek the Lord to meet the specific needs they or others faced. God already knows every need we have, but He desires us to bring those needs before Him, making specific requests regarding those needs.
D. Expectant (7) – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. As we follow the guidance Paul has offered up to this point, we can live in anticipation of the Lord working on our behalf. We can fully expect the peace of God to flood our hearts and minds. I think we are all aware of the benefits of the peace of God, but this is quite significant. The benefits we can expect regarding the peace of God are actually two-fold.
Paul declared that the peace of God passes all understanding. We know that God is sovereign. We know He possesses all power and is more than able to meet our needs, and yet He often works in ways that we never expected, in ways that exceed our understanding. God likes to show Himself mighty, meeting our needs in such a way that there is no doubt He has moved and answered our prayers. He is able to work in our lives beyond what we can even ask or think. Eph.3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
The peace of God… shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. As we come before God in prayer, sharing our great need with Him, He not only meets our needs beyond what we can imagine – He also keeps our hearts and minds. This is essential in obtaining victory over the enemy as he attacks our hearts and minds. The word keep is actually a military term that has the idea of “a garrison.” As we seek God in prayer, He provides peace that fortifies our minds, building an impenetrable wall that the enemy cannot break through. If we are to win the battle for our minds, we must spend time in prayer in order to receive God’s peace that guards our minds.