4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:4-9, NASB)

This is, without question, one of my favorite passages of scripture in the entire Bible. I don’t make that statement lightly. My vocation as a minister and my love for the Word calls for me to spend substantial time studying scripture and the Bible is a powerhouse knowledge. So, when I say that Philippians 4:4-9 is one of my most favorite passages, it is saying a lot. Every scripture is of immense relevance to the believer, but based on each person’s background and personal experiences, certain scriptures will have more impact than others. My life has centered me in a place in which I have a yearning for a peace that is unshakable and this passage speaks to my innermost yearning.

What I would like to focus on predominately is verses 6 and 7. We are told not to be anxious for nothing; other translations rendered it “Don’t worry about anything”. This is not a suggestion, this is a command. This is something that is required of the believer. Why are we commanded not to be anxious about anything? The simple answer here is that anxiety is the result of a failure in the area of faith. Anxiety is an illness that kills, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically. Faith is the predominate requisite in living the Christian lifestyle. Anxiety and faith cannot co-exist.

I know that many of you are saying that it is much easier said than done. Trust me; I know how hard it is not to acknowledge the grim circumstances that lie before us at times. There are times when the implacable forces that move against us are so tumultuous that we become overwhelmed by them. This feeling of being overwhelmed by the moment is what opens the door to anxiety. The key is not to ignore the circumstance; it is in understanding that your circumstances are not the determining factor of your life’s destiny; God is. God has already written your life’s story in which you have obtained the victory. This is where faith comes in. Faith enables us to look beyond the moment and see the outcome even though the outcome has not yet physically manifested itself.

This is what is great about God, he does not simply provide a demand; he supplies the means and the knowledge to execute the command. Right after telling us to never be anxious Paul immediately follows with the formula for carrying out the command.

“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (verse 6b)

Paul says “in everything” (leaving no room for exceptions) by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, your problem is not your problem it belongs to God. We are to submit our concerns to God and allow Him to work them out to our benefit. This calls for trust. Paul tells us that when we are able to have a heart of thanksgiving that is centered in a life of prayer, there will be a peace that comes over us that is beyond our limited perspicacity. This peace bends all rationale and defies all reason. This peace acknowledges the circumstances, but thrives despite them. Paul reveals that it is this peace that will guard our hearts and minds (the essence of our soul) in Christ Jesus.

It is easy in the English translation to lose the word “guard” in the mix of all the information surrounding it. It seems almost inconsequential in the weight of the entire verse; however, when you examine the passage carefully, “guard’ is the responsive action word in the passage. When we take the appropriate action (thankfully pray) God’s peace responds with its own action equal to the faith revealed in our action. So then the word translated “guard” has great significance in this passage because it is God’s response to our faith in a matter of need. Let’s take a look at this verb more carefully.

The Greek word that is translated “guard” is;

φρουρέω

phroureō

froo-reh’-o

From a compound of G4253 and G3708; to be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in, protect: – keep (with a garrison). Compare G5083.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries  G5432

Phroureo  is a compound of  G4253 “pro” a primary preposition; “fore”, i.e. “front of”, “prior” (figuratively superior) “to” in compounds it retains the same meaning  and G3708 “horao”; properly to stare at, i.e. (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally); by extension to attend to; by Hebrew influence, to experience; in the passive, to appear; to be a watcher in advance, i.e. to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at the gate); figuratively, to hem in and protect; to garrison; (Phil. 4:7; Gal.. 3:23; 1 Pet. 1:5) (This is a military term in the Greek)

 

So then, you can see that this word “guard” is quite essential in this passage. It is the guarding of the heart and mind that guarantees the perpetuation of this peace. Allow me to elucidate; when you pray and trust God for what you pray for, God’s peace enters in and stands guard against the very things that come in and attempt to rob you of your peace and sanity. Paul’s use of this military term points to the fact that the mind is a battlefield and must be guarded and protected from invasion.

There are 10 things I would like to bring into focus here.

  1. Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Christ.
  2. Renounce all worry and by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving submit your request unto God. (v. 6; Jas. 4:7)
  3. Carry the right thoughts (v. 8; 2 Tim. 2:15-17)
  4. Keep your mind fixed on God (Isa. 26:3)
  5. Use the weapons of warfare that are available to you as a Christian warrior. (2 Cor. 10-3-6)
  6. Put on the whole armor of God. (Eph. 6:10-18)
  7. Have faith in God. (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mk. 11:22-24)
  8. Live and walk in the spirit. (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13)
  9. Do not cast away you confidence. (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-13, 35-39)
  10. Cast all care upon God. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Paul continues by pointing to the fact that the centrality of focus here is the mind.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4;8-9 NIV)

Paul provides 6 things to center our minds on in order to maintain this transcendent peace:

  1. True things – all that is in harmony with eternal truth in creation and revelation. (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).
  2. Honest things – all that is decent, honorable, and Christian. Greek “semnos”.
  3. Just things – all that is in harmony with justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:24-31; 8:4; 2 Pet. 1:4-10)
  4. Pure things – all that is chaste and holy for body and soul. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:16-17;)
  5. Lovely things – all that is pleasing and tends to bless others. (1 Cor. 13:4-8; Gal. 5:22-23)
  6. Things of good report – all that is in harmony with the best public good; virtuous and praiseworthy. (Rom. 13:1-10;2 Pet. 1:4-10)

So, we are told not to allow anxiety and worry to rule our lives and then given a specific formula that will allow and empower us to carry out this command. I encourage you to offer up your concerns to God. Peter tells us that we should cast our cares upon Him because he cares for us. When we cast our care upon Him in faith His peace consumes and stands guard over us so that the thoughts that produce anxiety are repelled.

Whatever you are facing right now put it in God’s hands. Let God do what only He can do in your situation. He is offering you peace in the midst of the storm. Notice I said peace in the midst of the storm, not circumvention of the storm. Your blessing and break through is wrought out in the storm. Your promotion and elevation process is carried out in the storm. Your deepest and most powerful connection to God is experienced in the storm. Notice in the story in which the disciples woke Jesus because of the storm; the moment when Jesus spoke to the winds and the waves and said “peace be still”; that Jesus was at peace during the storm, in fact, He was asleep. Jesus arose and rebuked the storm and then he rebuked the disciples:

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,“Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples,“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mk.4:39-40)

Why did he rebuke them? He rebuked them because their faith should have produced a transcendent peace; not in the absence of the storm, but despite of it. Don’t look to circumvent life’s trials, instead learn to thrive in the midst of them. Trials and tribulations provide the greatest canvas for God to paint His masterpieces of power and promotion in the life of the believer.

 

May you be bless,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

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