1.5 Robber of Joy
Anxiety (worry) is the greatest thief of joy. The theology of “joy” is found in the Book of Philippians:
- The word “joy/rejoice” is used 19 times in the Book of Philippians. The Book of Philippians is called “Book of Joy!”
- Mind is mentioned 10 times; think 5 times; remember 1 time (total = 16 times).
- The Name “Christ” is mentioned 50 times in the Book of Philippians.
1.6 The Antidote for Anxiety (Worry)
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.”
1.6.1 God Commands
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” God says: “Be not anxious about anything.” The question is “can a Christian avoids anxiety (worry) and possesses a calm and confident spirit that bears testimony to the sufficiency of God’s Grace?” God’s Word encourages the person to talk to God “about everything.” Paul does not exhort the person to pray about his anxiety (worry). He is too wise to do that; he uses three different words to describe prayer:
- Prayer – The word prayer is the general word and carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship. Whenever the person finds himself anxious (worrying), his first response ought to be alone with God and worship Him. In the adoration and worship, the person begins to see God’s Greatness and Majesty! He will begin to realise that God is bigger than his problems. Too often the person rushes into God’s Presence and hastily tells Him his needs or problems when he ought to approach Him in deep adoration and worship.
- Supplication is an earnest sharing of his needs and problems with God – talk it out with God – “Let your requests be made known unto God.” There is no place for half-hearted approach to God for help. The person must come with assurance that God hears his prayer. The Heavenly Father wants him to be earnest in his asking (Matthew 6:7-8). The small affairs of life as well as the big ones are important. Most of the time, the problem has a “small beginning” but if not properly handled, it escalates into “a big thing.” Nothing is too trivial to bring to God. Talking to God about “everything” is the first step towards victory over anxiety (worry). God exhorts us: “To cast all our care upon Him; for He careth for us” (1Peter 5:7). Psalm 55:22 (NIV) “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
- Thanksgiving – After prayer (adoration & worship), supplication (sharing one’s needs & problems with God) comes appreciation, giving thanks to God. When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one of the ten returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19) and wonder if the percentage is any higher today. Thanksgiving stimulates faith and hope for the present and the future. The person gives thanks to God for past mercies. The memory of them gives him confidence. It is easy to thank God when there is no trouble, but it is more needful when trouble comes. Cultivate the habit of remembering the everyday’s blessings and never stop to thank God for them. A person should be anxious (worry) for nothing, prayerful for everything, and thankful for anything.
1.6.2 God’s Promise
Philippians 4:7 (NKJV) “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
- The Antidote – The antidote for anxiety (worry) is “the Peace of God.” The Peace of God comes to the person who prays (adoration, worship), supplicates, and gives thanks
- Serenity – The Peace of God is that inward serenity grounded in God’s Presence, God’s Promise, and God’s Power. It ministers to the person’s mind and heart.
- Peace – Every Christian can have the Peace of God because every Christian knows how to pray, supplicates, and gives thanks.
- Confidence – This does not mean the absence of trails in the person’s life, but it is the quiet confidence in God, regardless of circumstances, people, or things.
- In Salvation, the person experiences “the Peace with God” – Romans 5:1 (KJV) “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peace with God describes the state between God and the person. Every Christian experienced “Peace with God.” But not every Christian has the “Peace of God.” Peace with God is dependent upon faith (Romans 5:1), whereas the “Peace of God” is dependent upon Prayer (adoration & worship), supplication and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Guards – The Peace of God Guards (“stands Guard” – phroureó) over two areas that create anxiety (worry) – the heart (wrong feeling) and the mind (wrong thinking). The word “Guards” is a military term meaning “to guard or garrison.”
- Guards – Peace of God stands guard as an armed sentinel and watches over the heart and mind of that person who prays (worships & adoration), supplicates, and gives thanks:
- Prevents – The Peace of God guards the person’s heart and mind from being overwhelmed by the sudden onrush of fear and anxiety.
- Stability – The Peace of God maintains the person’s mental equilibrium and gives him emotional stability.
- Secures – The Peace of God secures his mind and heart and guides him.
- God’s Peace Surpasses all power of human reason or comprehension – Philippians 4:7b “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” in the Greek, the phrase indicates a unique kind of Peace transcending every human thought. It is not, therefore, merely greater in degree than that provided by earthly consideration, but a totally different in kind. God’s Peace far surpasses all the careful planning and clever ideas as to how the person can resolve his own anxiety (worry). God’s Peace is “Perfect Peace” – “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3, KJV). The “Peace of God” is found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ – “Through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7c).
- Personal Responsibility – Colossians 3:15 (NKJV) “Let (allow) the peace of God rules in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
- Guards – God’s Sovereignty is “to Guard” the person’s mind and heart (Philippians 4:8).
- Allows – The person’s responsibility is to “let – allow” (Colossians 3:15) the Peace of God to “Rule” (“to preside;” “to umpire”). The Peace of God is the “Umpire” in the person’s heart and mind.
- Harmony – If the person has Peace of God “Ruling” (“umpiring”) in his mind and heart, he will be at peace with the others – Colossians 3:15a (NKJV) “Let (allow) the peace of God rules in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body.” The person is called to one Body of Christ and his relationship in that Body must be one of harmony and peace.
- Thankful – Continuously maintain “a spirit of thankfulness” at all times – “be thankful” (Colossians 3:15b).
Anxiety (worry), the unpredictable thing of life, handled according to Divine Principles (Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:15), becomes the means of the unexplainable Peace of God; acting as a Garrison in the person’s mind and heart, as he meets situations, people, and problems, in his daily life.
(1) Apostle Paul prayed three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed. God’s answer came back each time, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2Corinthians 12:9). The conditions have not changed, but Paul’s heart is changed and his attitude toward his affliction changed because of the reassuring Word of God. (2) Daniel gives us a good illustration of peace through prayer. When the King of Babylon announced that none of his subjects was to pray to anyone except the King, Daniel went to his room, opened the windows, and prayed as before (Daniel 6:1-10). Daniel “prayed and gave thanks before his God” (Daniel 6:10) and he made supplication (Daniel 6:11). Prayer-Supplication-Thanksgiving! And the result was perfect peace in the midst of difficulty! Daniel was able to spend the night with the lion in perfect peace, while the King in his palace could not sleep (Daniel 6:18).
The Philippians lived under an all-embracing political regime – the Imperial Roman Empire – which prided itself on having subjugated the known world so bringing to every nation the benefits of the “pax Romana,” the Roman Peace. This Roman Peace is maintained by garrisoning troops all around the Empire to put down uprisings and to quell dissent. In the final analysis Rome keeps its Peace by the crosses it erected to execute those who disturbed that, Peace. However, the Garrison God puts in the person’s heart and mind is “the Peace of God.”