"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
How To Be Free From Anxiety (Ph 4:6-7)
1. If anyone had good reason to be anxious, it could have been the
a. His beloved friends at Philippi were disagreeing with one another
- Ph 4:1-3
b. There were preachers in Rome who were filled with envy and strife,
and out to "get" Paul - Ph 1:15
c. To top it off, Paul himself was under house arrest, awaiting trial
and his possible execution!
-- Yet we have seen that throughout this epistle the keynote repeated
again and again is "rejoice!"
2. Evidently Paul had found the secret of overcoming anxiety, and
fortunately for us, he shares that secret in Ph 4:6-7
[We shall examine what that secret is, but first, let's take a closer
look at "anxiety" itself...]
I. UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF ANXIETY
A. DEFINING THE WORD...
1. The word "anxious" (careful, KJV) is from "merimnao"
2. As defined by THAYER...
a. It means "to be pulled in different directions"
b. For example, our hopes pull us in one direction; our fears
pull us in the opposite direction
c. Thus, to be anxious is to be "pulled apart"!
3. The word "worry" (a synonym for anxiety) in its English origins
presents a different, yet enlightening picture
a. It comes from a word meaning "to strangle"
b. If you have ever really worried, you know how it does indeed
strangle a person!
1) In fact, worry (or anxiety) has definite physical side
effects: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, even back pains
2) Worry affects our thinking, our digestion, and even our
B. ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON ANXIETY...
1. From a spiritual perspective, anxiety is:
a. Wrong THINKING and wrong FEELING about circumstances, people
b. The greatest thief of joy
2. It is not enough for us to tell ourselves, "Quit being anxious",
in an effort to stop the thief from stealing our joy
a. Anxiety is "an inside job"
b. It takes more than good intentions to get the victory over
[The "antidote" to anxiety is revealed by Paul in our text, which we
will now look at closely...]
II. WINNING THE VICTORY OVER ANXIETY
A. THE "ANTIDOTE" IS THE RIGHT KIND OF "PRAYING"!
1. In which we pray about "everything"!
a. Like the hymn, Paul counsels us to "take everything to God
b. To put it another way, "Don't worry about ANYTHING, but pray
about EVERYTHING!" is Paul's admonition
c. We are prone to pray about the "big things", and forget to
pray about the "little things"
1) But "little things" left unattended grow up to become "big
2) Therefore, God would have us talk to Him about
2. In which we pray by "prayer and supplication"
a. "Prayer" is the general word for making requests known to God
1) It carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship
2) Whenever we find ourselves filled with anxiety, our first
action ought be to spend time alone with God in prayerful
adoration and worship
3) Adoration for God helps us to remember the greatness and
majesty of God
a) We must remember that He is big enough to solve
problems we cannot
b) Too often, we rush into His presence and hastily tell
Him our needs
c) But freedom from anxiety comes when we spend more time
on Who He is, rather than on what our problems are!
4) Having spent time in prayerful adoration, we are now ready
to move on...
b. "Supplication" is where we begin making our requests known to
1) It involves an earnest sharing of our problems and needs
2) Freedom from anxiety does not come from half-hearted,
a) While we know that we are not heard for our "much
speaking" - Mt 6:7-8
b) Still we should realize that our Father wants us to be
earnest and persistent in our asking - Mt 7:7-11
3) An example of this sort of praying is found in He 5:7
a) Jesus offered up "prayers and supplications"
b) He did so, "with vehement cries and tears", suggesting
true earnestness in making His requests
3. In which we pray "with thanksgiving"
a. This implies "appreciation" on our part
1) Certainly the Father delights in hearing His children say
2) Yet so many people are like the nine lepers healed by
Jesus - cf. Lk 17:11-19
3) Are we eager to ask, but slow to appreciate?
b. Note that this "thanksgiving" is to be offered at the same
time we make our requests!
1) Doing this serves to remind us of all the other things God
has done and is doing for us
2) Which in turn helps to keep our problems in perspective
B. SUCH "PRAYING" WILL RESULT IN A FORTRESS GUARDING OUR MINDS AND
1. God may not always remove the problems that were the initial
cause of our anxiety, but He promises a "peace which surpasses
2. It is a peace that the world cannot provide, but He can! - cf.
Jn 14:27; Jn 16:33
3. It is a peace that "guards" (to guard, garrison like a fortress)
our "hearts" and "minds"
a) Guarding the HEART (which is susceptible to wrong feeling)
b) Guarding the MIND (which is susceptible to wrong thinking)
4. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it
a) A quiet confidence within
b) Regardless of circumstances, people, or things that would
otherwise steal our joy!
1. This wonderful peace, this freedom from anxiety, is the result of
letting our requests be known to God through the right kind of
a. Praying about everything
b. Praying with prayer and supplication
c. Praying with thanksgiving
2. But note well, all this is possible THROUGH Christ Jesus (Ph 4:7)!
a. He is the source of every spiritual blessing from God, including
the peace that surpasses understanding - cf. Ep 1:3
b. And we must be IN Christ if we desire this peace of which Paul
writes in our text
3. Do you desire the "peace of God"?
a. Then you must be IN Christ (to see how one gets INTO Christ,
consider Ga 3:26-27)
b. And then you must commune with God frequently in the kind of
praying taught by Paul
Are you in Christ? Do you commune with God as you should? If we can
assist you in either way...
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