PAUL’S ANSWER: Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-8
The circumstances in which Paul found himself at this time were disturbing. He was not in a prison cell, but he was under house arrest, which probably entailed being chained between two soldiers. He had lost his freedom to preach about Jesus Christ. Outside, in the streets of Rome, false teachers were discrediting his character and the message he preached. Naturally speaking, we might be justified in reaching the conclusion that he had every right to be extremely ANXIOUS!
So often we are guilty of allowing adverse circumstances to drive us away from God, rather than allowing them to bring us nearer to Him. However, nothing could be further from the truth as far as Paul was concerned. This letter to the Christians at Philippi, pulsates with positivity and joy. Indeed, he gave to them, and us, God’s antidotes for anxiety:
- MAKE OUR REQUESTS KNOWN TO HIM: we have a part to play if we are going to be able to cope with our anxieties
- by prayer – the general word for worship and adoration – we must be anxious about nothing and pray about everything!
- by supplication – the term used for ‘specific needs – all we have to do is to translate our anxieties into specific needs and leave them with Him!
- with thanksgiving – anxiety and thankfulness do not go together – we cannot make our requests to God with a grudge in our heart against Him, as if He is against us!
- THE OUTCOME WILL BE THAT THE PEACE OF GOD WILL KEEP (GARRISON) OUR HEARTS AND MINDS – the peace of God will keep the anxieties out of the places where they are found, i.e., our hearts and minds.
The hymn writer, Joseph Scriven, expresses it well:
‘O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.’