Summary: There are three powerful truths in today’s key text that will protect your relationship with Jesus Christ and enable you to express a life of thankfulness to God regardless of the circumstance.
Turn your Bibles to Philippians 4:6-7
Title: Thankful in Tough Times
Theme: Guarding Your Heart in This Life
Series: Full Measure of Thanksgiving
Listen as I read Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Pray!
Introduction: This passage of Scripture was written while the Apostle Paul was in prison and gives us truths to protecting our spiritual hearts in this life. (The Ryrie Study Bible; Matthew Henry Commentary; The Expositors Bible Commentary) The people to whom the Holy Spirit led Paul to write were faced with worrisome things. (Daily Study Bible Series) The fact is just being a human being, vulnerable to all chances and the changes of this mortal life is itself a worrying thing. The Early Church, just like us had normal worries over human situations. Being Christians did not protect them nor will it protect us from giving in to the temptation of taking one’s life into his own hands.
There is a magazine, “The Smithsonian Institute,” saying that “we are in the golden age of anxiety.” Pastor Rick Warren came across a study done by Dr. Walter Calvert, giving us the results of the sin of worry. He writes:
“Forty percent of what you worry about will not happen. Thirty percent of your worries concern the past. Twelve percent of your worries are health issues. Ten percent of your worries are insignificant and petty issues with only eight percent of your worries having actual legitimate concerns.”
Those are interesting statistics, however, you and I know that there are real stress issues that do not need to be proven by a study. The death of a spouse or a loved one, the effects of divorce, our nation’s financial instability, our war on terror and especially the eternal condition of souls who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.
Proposition: I would propose to you there are three powerful truths in today’s key text that will protect your relationship with Jesus Christ and enable you to express a life of thankfulness to God regardless of the circumstance.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what are the truths found in Philippians 4:6-7, truths the Holy Spirit revealed so powerfully to the Apostle Paul in prison? Just how can we apply them to our everyday life?
Transitional Sentence: The first step to guarding your heart and mind in this sin cursed world is, do not worry or be anxious about anything. Worry is a constant attack from the devil to distract us and keep us from enjoying God’s best. Paul addressed the sin of worry and so did Jesus. He taught, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? …But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
The Apostle Paul and Jesus are on the same page and both of them are not giving a pep talk, but a charge not to worry! (The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible) The reason for this charge to all Christians is because worrying expels trust in God (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) and implies to those looking on that the Lord is not present. The Biblical goal set before every child of God is to present the truth, “God is our refuge and strength and ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
With this truth set before us, we must seriously consider, “What is worry?” “Worry” or “anxious” (merimnao) means not to be troubled in thought and heart so as to cripple you. (The Complete Word Study Commentary; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek, New Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages) The application is to be pulled in different directions. Our hopes and dreams pull one way, but fear takes us another direction, thus preventing or crippling us from enjoying all that God has for us. The Old English root word from which we get our word “worry” means to “strangle.” You and I have fallen into this type of worry, thus we find ourselves not thinking clearly, no longer being productive, and looking for other avenues through which to work. Hours are wasted daily because of this sin and vision is not prayed through to completion. (The Bible Exposition Commentary)