Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 170 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Philippians 4 today and our focus is on how How the Peace of God Guards Our Hearts and Minds and Helps us Overcome Anxiety. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Everybody knows Philippians 4 today because it has one of the most oft quoted verses in the Bible in vs. 13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Fantastic verse, wonderful truth, even if a lot of football players might take it a little out of context. It is a different verse, however, that I’ve noticed people clinging to more of ever since a little pandemic began to take hold of the world in early 2020, and that is Philippians 4:6-7
6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Some have called these verses the biblical cure for anxiety, and I can sure appreciate that, because the Word of God is indeed giving us a way to not walk in anxiety. It involves thanksgiving, prayer, intercession and boldly making known our specific requests to God. When we do this, according to the promise of this passage, we will have the peace of God – a kind of peace that is literally beyond human comprehension. Let’s read the chapter and then talk about how the peace of God can overcome anxiety.
Anxiety is not a new emotion. Even in the Old Testament days, thousands of years ago, people wrestled with anxiety I consider Psalms 13 to be something of a Psalm for the anxious:
A Psalm for the Anxious: Psalm 13
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?
3 Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
4 My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.
We learn from this beautiful and HONEST Psalm a few important truths:
- Anxiety causes AGONY. The more we store it up inside us, the more agony we have.
- David was a man after God’s own heart. God rescued him and delivered him from his enemies miraculously OVER and OVER – we read about that in 1st and 2nd Samuel. And yet, so often in his life, he is writing prayers and pleadings to God asking – WHERE ARE YOU? WHY IS IT TAKiNG SO LONG? WHY AREN’T YOU HEARING ME? SO MANY TIMES David asks this question in a Psalm!
- We can cry out “HOW LONG O Lord?!” AND “I trust you, I rejoice in your rescue, I will SING to you!” In the SAME BREATH.
Even Paul dealt with anxiety – we know this from Philippians 2: Paul: Philippians 2: 27 Indeed, Epaphroditus was so sick that he nearly died. However, God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 For this reason, I am very eager to send him so that you may rejoice again when you see him and I may be less anxious.
I want you to note here that in one breath – Philippians 2, Paul says that he is anxious and in the next breath – Philippians 4, Paul gives us the Spirit inspired cure for anxiety. This is neither contradiction nor problematic – this is the steady state of life in a fallen world. Anxiousness lays siege to our souls, so we actively wrestle against it, because we WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones was well acquainted with anxiety as both a medical doctor and a pastor, and he gives us some great wisdom here on how to walk in God’s peace and overcome anxiety:
Here in these verses Paul goes on to consider another factor that is perhaps more problematical than any of the others which tend to rob us of the joy of the Lord, and that is what we may well describe as the tyranny of circumstances, or the things that happen to us. How many they are, and how often do they come! Here the apostle deals with this question in a final manner. It is remarkable as you read through the Bible, to notice how often this particular subject is dealt with. A very good case can be made out for saying that all the New Testament epistles face this particular problem, and were designed to help the first Christians to overcome the tyranny of circumstances. They lived in a very difficult world and had to suffer and to endure a great deal; and these men called of God wrote their letters in order to show them how to overcome these things. It is the great theme of the New Testament; but you find it also in the Old Testament. Take the third and fourth Psalms, for instance. How perfectly they put it all. The great problem in life is, in a sense, how to lay oneself down to rest and to sleep. ‘I laid me down and slept,’ said the Psalmist. Anybody can lie down, but the question is can you sleep? The Psalmist describes himself surrounded by enemies and by difficulties and trials, and his mighty testimony is that in spite of that, because of his trust in the Lord, he both laid him down and slept, and he awaked safe and sound in the morning. Why? Because the Lord was with him and looking after him.
That is the theme of so much of the Bible in the Old Testament and in the New that it is obviously a subject of supreme importance.
from the standpoint of our own personal happiness and our maintenance of the joy of the Lord, and also from the standpoint of our witness and our testimony in these difficult days, it behoves us to consider very carefully what the apostle has to say in these masterly statements about the way to deal with the tyranny of circumstances and conditions.
The matter seems to divide itself up quite simply. First of all he tells us what we have to avoid. There are certain things we must avoid, says the apostle—‘Be careful for nothing’. That is a negative injunction—something to avoid. Now let us be quite clear about the term ‘careful’. ‘Be careful for nothing’, says the Authorized translation, but you will find another translation even better: ‘Be anxious for nothing’ or ‘Be anxious about nothing’. ‘Careful’ means ‘full of care’—that means anxiety harassing care, nervous solicitude, tending to brood or to ponder over things. It is the same word as our Lord used in the Sermon on the Mount—you remember that section in the sixth chapter of Matthew: ‘Take no thought . . .’ It means do not be over-anxious, do not brood and ponder, do not meditate over-much upon, do not have this nervous solicitude about the thing. That is the meaning of the term.
Great advice from Dr. Lloyd Jones – may God’s peace guard your hearts and minds!
And that, my friends is the last of 17 podcasts written, recorded and published in seventeen days. It is June 1 when I write this, and Lord willing, I look forward to recording again on June 18th upon our return to California.
Bible Memory verses for the month of June: Daniel 6:23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was brought up from the den, he was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God.
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