The Antidote for Anxiety (Phillippians 4:6-7) (Part 1)

1.0 The Background

Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians while he was a Prisoner of Rome, under house arrest. He was chained between the Romans Guards 24 hours a day for 2 years. The Romans Guards worked on an 8 hours’ shift. Furthermore, Paul faced the possible death sentence. Also, the care of the Churches in Asia Minor was also upon his heart. Furthermore, there was also dispute in the Philippians Church between Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). This dispute was bringing division into the Church. Paul has to face division among the Believers at Rome (Philippians 1:14-17). If anybody has an excuse for anxiety (worry), it was Paul. He has a good excuse to be anxious (worry) – but he did not! Instead, he took time in Philippians 4:6-7 to explain to us the secret of overcoming anxiety (worry)

1.1 The Text

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

1.2 Statement

Some people are more prone to anxiety (worry) than others, in the same way that some are more susceptible to colds. Anxiety (worry) vary in intensity and complexity; some are trivial, and others are what Sherlock Homes called “a three-pipe problem,” that is, practically insurmountable. Some people make anxiety (worry) pays and others pay dearly for their anxiety (worry). Problems give rise to anxiety (worry). Anxiety (worry) must be dealt with, not with the person’s own ingenuity, but with God’s.

Philippians 4:6 introduces the antidote for anxiety (worry) of what is promised in Philippians 4:7, that is, unless anxiety (worry) is dealt with according to God’s Word, there is no hope of receiving “the Peace of God.”

1.3 What is Anxiety (Worry)?

Anxiety (worry) is “not the forethought which enables a person to guard against coming troubles, but the useless and painful care which merely brings the sorrow of tomorrow to spoil the pleasures of today” (Beet, p.113).

  1. The Greek word translated anxious (worry) in Philippians 4:6 means “to be pulled in different directions;” that is, a person’s hope pulls him in one direction; the person’s fear pulls him in the opposite direction; and he is pulled apart
  2. English – The Old English root from which we get the word “anxious” (worry) means “to strangle.” The person who is anxious (worries) feels “the strangulation,” that result in “headaches, neck pains, ulcers, even back pains.”
  3. Biblical – From the biblical perspective, anxiety (worry) is (a) “Wrong Thinking”Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV) “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”
    • The word “heart” (soul – Heb: “nephesh”) means “conscious and sub-conscious mind” – subconscious (85% to 90% of mind) – begins with “a thought, then action, then habit is formed, resulting in the development of his character and reaping his destiny.”
    • A single “thought,” if left unchecked will develop into “a Stronghold” (2Corinthians 10:4).

      (b) Wrong Feeling (the heart) about circumstances, people, and things.  If “wrong thinking” and “wrong feeling” is not managed, it results in strong-hold!”  – 2Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV) “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down of strongholds. Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, brining every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

1.4 Medical Evidence

Anxiety (worry) affects our thinking, our digestion, and even our coordination and is now recognised by doctors as a disease (“dis-ease”):

  1. Dr. James W. Barton said, “It is known that about one half of the patients consulting a doctor have no organic disease. In about one-fourth of the cases, the cause of the symptoms is tenseness or worry, strain, and fatigue….prolonged shock or fear (which is worry) can affect the workings of all organs of the body.”
  2. Dr. Alverez (formerly of Mayo Clinic) said, “Worry is the cause of most stomach troubles.”
  3. Dr. Han Selye, writing about the stress theory of disease, said, “Stress is the trigger which causes disease.”
  4. Dr. Emerson, an outstanding Christian Psychologist, stated there are five underlying causes (not all) of mental illness and frustration (often caused by anxiety {worry}, and often the cause of physical illness): “Fear, hate, guilt, inferiority, and insecurity.” These may be analysed as follows:
    • A super sensitivity to criticism.
    • An excessive awareness of his weaknesses.
    • An abnormal pride of his achievements.
    • An unobtainable ambition beyond his ability.
    • An absorbing jealousy over the success of others.
    • A sinful covetousness of things beyond his reach (or financial means).
  5. Psychologists warned that a healthy person may be transformed into an invalid in a few months by anxiety (worry). Clinical case histories in the offices of doctors and institutions all over the world bear ample proof of this.
    • Doctor cannot cure the “disease of anxiety (worry).” He can give tranquilizers to keep the person from “exploding” but when the effect of the medicine wears off the tensions remained, the basic cause remains. The doctor can give the person sleeping pills and help him to forget for a few hours, but when he awakes, the problem is still there.
    • Psychiatrist cannot cure anxiety (worry). He can probe into the person’s subconscious mind to discover the reason, but when he finds it, he is able to treat the symptoms but not the underlying cause. 
    • Counsellor telling the person “Not to be anxious (worry)” is not going to work. The person who is anxious (worries) is the person who is most anxious not to be anxious (worry) and is the most hurt by it and unhappy about it. Anxiety (worrying) is an “internal problem,” and it takes more than good intention to obtain the victory.

To be continued….. Stay tuned…..

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