Tag: Phillipians

The Antidote for Anxiety (Phillippians 4:6-7) (Part 2)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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).

1.7 Summary

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.

1.8 Application

(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).

1.9 Historical

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.”

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…..

Christ and Me

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Christianity, in its right context, is not a religion but a relationship with our God; too many Christians have an “intellectual religion” that satisfies the mind but never changes the life. They can discuss the Bible and even argue about it; but when it comes to living it, most people take it for granted. Other Christians have an “emotional religion” that is made up of changing feelings; unless they are on an emotional high, they feel God has forsaken them.

God wants “the whole of the inner-man” to be devoted to Him; an intelligent mind governed by God’s Word outworked by His Spirit, a fervent heart, and an obedient will. Our obedience ought to be intelligent (may not be rational or logical), is based on God’s Word quickened by His Spirit; and it ought to be motivated from a warm and loving heart.

The Christian life involves a great deal of “our-will” in submission to the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word – we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart (the emotions) and our mind (the intellect) and our strength (the will) (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30).

The Holy Spirit wants to instruct our spirit and mind through God’s Word, inspire the heart with true experiences, and then strengthen our will to do His (God’s) will – Philippians 2:12b-13 (NKJV) “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

A born-again Christian, walking with God, prays whether he feels like it or not; he obeys God’s Word regardless of how he feels; but the Christian who lives on his emotions is likely to have repeated ups-and-downs; he lives on a religious roller coaster.

But the born-again-Christian who lives on “Spirit (walk, led & live – {Gal.5:16, 18, 25}) & God’s Word {Psalm 119:105, etc},” his life is not disturbed by changing circumstances or feelings – will grow into the Image of Christ, for he is “changed (transformed) from glory to glory into the likeness of Christ by the Spirit of God” (2Corinthians 3:18, paraphrased).

The original sin of Lucifer (“Satan”) is a sin of the will (the “5 I wills” of Isaiah 14:12-14); thus, bringing our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God is important in our walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; because our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God helps to build our character (“Image-of-Christ”); it is our will under the Spirit of God and the Word of God that directs our life.

We come into the Saving Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ under the Convicting Power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8) and an act of our will – “I will!” And we grow and serve God by acknowledging and acting on “Thy (God’s) will!” Many Christians have the idea that Christian love is a feeling; it is not; it is “a willing” because we have been commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ “to love one another” (John 15:12) whether we like it or not, God does not command our feelings but our will!