Are you anxious for nothing? My response is: “Not at all, I have plenty of good reasons for being anxious!” Learning to deal with our anxieties in a Biblical way has been our focus for the past few month.
I wonder, have you been able to apply some of the things you’ve learned. In Philippians 4. 4-8 we’ve found one recipe for dealing with life’s frets.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what- ever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.
As I have mentioned over the past few weeks there are a few steps we need to take to enjoy that “peace that passes understanding.” Step 1– Rejoice. (There are things happening around us to celebrate). Laughter, children playing, music, babies are being born. Step 2- Respond with gentleness. Be like Jesus. What would Jesus do, or say? Gentleness is the most Christlike way to be. When we respond with kindness, or patience instead of rage, or hostility– we become the catalyst for good, and hope, and grace in others. Step 3– pray with thanksgiving. Don’t forget to say “thank you.” We try to teach our children to be polite. Should be not be polite to our Heav- enly Father? If we’re not grateful for the ways God blesses us, what makes us think we have the right to ask for more? Yes, We need to ask! But we also need to remember what God has done, and say “Thank You, Lord!” For my health. For the way you provide for me. For the hope of everlasting life! For the people who love me, and my church. Pray with thanksgiving.
Then, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. What does God’s peace feel like? How does one describe that which “transcends our understanding?” For me sometimes I have looked back on an event that should have been stressful, and realized that I wasn’t stressed out. Sometimes I have been able to sleep, when otherwise I might have been up all night. Sometimes God’s peace, feels like release, freedom, letting go.
There is a 4th step, to peace. Learn to think on things above. We need to guard our hearts and trust our Father. There are good and positive things to set our minds on. There are things (and people) that are true, noble, right/just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. We can enjoy God’s blessings by looking for them. We can guard our hearts from fears and anxieties, by learning to see God’s bigger picture.
In Anxious For Nothing, Max Lucado uses an acrostic to help us remember some steps to peace. C-A-L-M.
C– Celebrate God’s goodness. Rejoice in the Lord. Look at what the Lord has done, and find some happiness in it. Perhaps you’re tired ofsnow, but this morning as I drove to work, the trees which were blanketed in snow were glorious.
A– Ask God for help. “Let your requests be made known to God.” We sing, “take it to the Lord, in prayer.” I’m not very good at asking for help.My pride, or my male ego gets in the way. Most of us men hate asking for directions. We often need help very badly– but asking is not something we do well either.
L– Leave your concerns with God. Too often we ask for help but keep trying to fix it ourselves. We ask, but don’t trust Him to take care of the need. I wonder, why do we ask for help, if we don’t let God help?
M– Meditate on good things. What we choose to think about mat- ters. Has God blessed you today? Have you heard laughter, or enjoyed a hug from your spouse? Have you seen a kind deed, or a noble attitude? Pay attention!
I hope your are learning to be “Anxious For Nothing, and enjoying God’s peaceinstead. Itpassesourunderstanding!
Blessings, Pastor Mark