As Seen On Sunday: Be Anxious For Nothing
I’ve recently started a new job and nerves have been kicking my butt. Not worry, but the anxiety that sits deep within the stomach and is not linked to thoughts. If I wasn't starting a new job, I wouldn’t even have known why I had it. So what do people typically do in comparable situations? “God help!” And thats what I did. I asked God to help me do this. I started reading The One Year Bible that I have and pleading with God while I laid in bed trying to ignore my tense stomach.
I soon found that I had a song put on my heart for days. I sang “Holy and Anointed One” over and over and over. I even hummed it. One time I literally sat in my bathroom with a heater on while I sang it over and over again.
Initially, I thought that this meant that I should talk about Jesus. My jumping off point was the song itself and I soon found that it was going to be harder than I thought. These were all things that are attributes of “God,” which isn’t surprising since Jesus IS God, but I was looking for something more “Jesusy.” like literally a verse about the name of Jesus being sweet. The best out of the song is God’s word being a light to our path. STILL NOT “JESUSY” ENOUGH! I don't know how many different passages I almost used and how many more that I considered, but nothing seemed like it was what I was supposed to speak on today. I never did find the Jesusy thing that I thought I was looking for. Eventually, I stumbled upon some verses that I was familiar with. I never imagined that I would end up using a collection of cliche Bible verses but the message is definitely for myself and I believe for others as well here at empty church.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
I see 3 popular verses in this passage. The first was made into a song, the second is not being anxious about anything which people say all the time, and the third is something I personal pray for and for others. What I found so interesting is that these verses are in direct succession. The only one that isn’t overly quoted is being known for being reasonable or gentile and who wants to do that?
So how do they fit?
Well, lets look at how the verses stack. The key words from each verse are Rejoice, reasonable/gentleness, anti-anxiety, prayer, peace.
We start out with an exhortation to rejoice. This is not a reminder to say thanks to God for His #blessings, but to rejoice in all circumstances. I see this life of joy being connected to being reasonable and gentile that is lived out in front of everyone. We go from rejoicing which may or may not be seen by others to something specific that people should see about us. It is how we interact with people. We should not react irrationally to people and we should react gently. (now I can think of situations where this is kind of broken like when people think we are acting irrationally because we have the joy of the Lord or when a situation calls for a stern response.)
Then we come to a special transition. “The Lord is near” the ESV attaches it to verse 6 with a semi-colon while other translations often leave it as a standalone sentence. For this reason I see is at connecting to what has just been said as well as what is to come next. We are to be known for our reasonableness because the Lord is at hand.
The Lord is at hand so do not be anxious about anything. I personally believe that rejoicing and gentleness both help come against worry, but Jesus coming back soon or even the fact that Jesus’s Spirit is aiding us is encouraging. What do we have to fear when our Lord is helping us and will return soon?
Here we are 2000 years later, there aren't as many Christian movements pushing for the imminent return of Christ anymore. This concept is present in theology but no one really pays attention to it. The holiness movement at the start was always talking about the any second return of Jesus, but we just don't hear about it as much anymore, even though Jesus is coming back.
But we aren't just left with “think nice thoughts about Jesus coming back and you will feel better.”
We are to talk to God about what is going on. We should be venting to God. Telling him what is going on. Not holding in the things that cause us to worry. The Spirit Filled Life Bible says that, “Supplication is more than petitioning, but suggests an intensity of earnestness in extended prayer-not to gain merit by many words, but to full transfer the burden of one’s soul into God’s Hands” . Even when we are talking to God and requesting it is important to approach the throne room of God with Thanksgiving. Whats that mean? We just remember to be thankful to God for everything. If we are not genuinely thankful than nothing will change.
In light of everything we have just said,
7 “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” - AMPC
The Classic Amplified does not leave much left for me to say. But I see verse 7 being a culmination of everything we have talked about. It all leads to peace within Christ.
Before someone accuses me of not having a main point, I believe that I have said all this in an effort to encourage myself and others to continue to rely on God. When we trust and rely on God peace is a byproduct and relationship is the main focus. We start out looking at joy and end in peace and I see the two so intertwined that we wouldn't have them separate. They are both things that are not dependent on our circumstances but things that we receive from God.
I invite us today to keep our eyes on Jesus as we rejoice and seek Him through Prayer. I read the Bible, sang that song, and tried to talk to Him so that I could cast my cares on Him. God wants that intimate relationship with us but many of us choose to neglect it.
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.
 Hayford, Jack W. et al., editors. Spirit Filled Life Bible: New King James Version: A Personal Study Bible Unveiling All God's Fullness in All God's Word. Nashville, T. Nelson, 1991.