Philippians | Day Nine
By: Taylor Flatt
Read Philippians 4:1-7.
What are believers commanded to do always?
What are believers commanded not to do?
Paul is making a really important connection for us all in this passage. He tells us to rejoice always and then quickly tells us not be anxious. Paul knows being anxious is the quickest way to lose your joy. When we allow anxiety to live in our hearts there isn’t much room for anything else, especially joy!
You might already know this, but anxiety is at an all-time high right now in our world, particularly for teenagers. Many of you probably know someone who struggles with anxiety or depression. Chances are some of you struggle with it too! The good news is this: you aren’t alone. But the bad news is this: it’s keeping you from truly living.
Anxiety is a terrible companion that grips your heart and tells you that your best days are behind you; it echoes nothing good is certain. But hear me say this sisters, the worst thing that you can do is keep your anxiety or depression a secret.
Anxiety thrives in the darkness and in the unspoken, but anxiety withers up and dies in the light of community and truth.
Paul gives us a secret to fighting anxiety in this passage and I’ve learned to cling to it tightly in my own life. Guard your heart.
Many of you have probably heard about guarding your heart before. I always heard it when talking about relationships. And I always struggled because I didn’t quite know how to do it. But here, it is laid out so simply for us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Take a second and write that out in your own words.
What are we as believers being asked to do in this passage?
When we feel anxious we pray. As a result, God’s peace that surpasses understanding will guard our anxious hearts and minds.
I know what you’re thinking: easier said than done.
And you’re exactly right! Honestly, the hardest part of this process for myself is that I miss the peace which should guard my heart against anxiety because I am too busy trying to understand. I’m too busy trying to understand what’s happening or why it’s happening, trying to understand how to fix a situation or how to control it.
What are the reasons that you struggle with anxiety? Are they similar to mine?
The good news is that God offers us peace but it’s not always the way we want or expect. God’s peace doesn’t mean that He removes the unknown or gives us the ability to understand or control a situation. His peace goes beyond all of that. His peace surpasses all of that. Praise God.
Read Proverbs 3:5.
What’s wrong with leaning on our own understanding?
We can’t get so focused on understanding or we will miss it - we will miss his peace that guards our hearts! We have to trust God. We give our hearts to Him trusting that He knows better than we do.
Now hear me say this sister - your anxiety does not make you a bad Christian. It doesn’t make God mad at you or disappointed in you. He loves you. He loves you and He longs for you to experience His peace. And you will. Anxiety is not forever. It’s not a fruit of the spirit. It’s not from God and it will not endure. But do you know what will be forever? Joy. Living with joy. Anxiety comes and goes, but joy is forever. Joy is forever in the Kingdom of Heaven!
So ask God for His peace. Ask Him to take away your anxiety because trusting God to guard your heart, that’s truly living. Today, let’s follow the steps Paul lays out for us in this passage. Take some time to go through them slowly. Pray the way that Paul calls us to in this passage. Talk to God about the things that are making you anxious and standing in the way of His peace.
1. Pray with thanksgiving - thank God for who He is and what He’s already done
2. Let your requests be made known to God
3. Stop leaning on your own understanding. Let go. Let His peace surpass your understanding. And finally, ask Him to guard your heart and your mind with His peace. Then trust Him to do it.