Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
This is a well known scripture. I am sure many of you have prayed it through, stuck it up on the fridge or encouraged little ones with it. Rightly so! It speaks straight to the heart of what many of us face, namely, anxiety.
Firstly, Paul recognises that we do feel anxious at times. Fear and doubt creep in, our thoughts of hope are stolen from us and our mind runs down a path shadowed by despair. His instruction is clear: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” If need be, do this over and over and over again. His promise is true, His peace will guard your heart and mind.
Secondly, Paul directs us to place boundaries in our thought life, a list by which our thoughts should be characterised. Maybe that means placing guards on social media, news broadcasts and controversies (1 Tim 6:4). Start your day in God’s Word, not in Facebook; play worship music at home; let prayer and thanksgiving be the last act of your day before you close your eyes. Paul puts it better, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” and, “Put it into practice.”
- Express your anxiety, share with Him how you feel.
- Rejoice and give thanks to God.
- Tell Him what you need and what your requests are .
- Ask Him for the grace to change habitual thinking and to have His Word replace negative thoughts.