“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Do not be anxious about anything
Flipping the pages of the newspapers (or the news apps), it suddenly dawned upon me that 2018 did not get off to a good start. In the month of December 2017, there were about 7 Singaporeans who perished in road accidents overseas. There were news of terrorist acts and the New Year celebrations in Sentosa saw the introduction of crash barriers. Looking at the world around us, there are a lot to be anxious about these days. I remember before our recent trip to Europe in December, we were a bit concerned about the security and weather over there.
Anxiety is defined as the distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. The thought of potential misfortune happening can sometimes paralyse us more than the actual event happening. There could be a lot of things that get us worried if we let ourselves get caught up with the “what-ifs” i.e. what if this goes wrong?
Phil 4:6-7 is the passage in the bible that we often quote to remind us that if we pray and leave our anxieties and worries to God, we can experience the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”.
I was given a book “ Anxious for nothing, finding calm in a chaotic world” written by Max Lucado, for Christmas and he summarized four admonitions from Phil 4:4-8 that can help us deal with our anxiety and experience the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”.
They are C. A. L. M.
Celebrate, Ask, Leave, Meditate
Celebrate God’s goodness.
Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” We can attain peace not because we do not have any problems but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord. (Prov 21:30)
The first thing we should do when we encounter a problem is to turn our attention away from the problem and look to God and celebrate His goodness (Psalm 121:1-2). Peter was able to walk across the stormy Sea of Galilee when he kept his gaze on Jesus but started sinking when he started to gaze at the storm (Matt 14:28-30). The very first thing we should do when we face a problem is to rejoice in the Lord. He will make us ready for the challenge.
Ask God for help. Phil 4:6 “…let your requests be made known to God”. When fears strike, we can engage in despair or prayer. When we sense anxiety welling up inside us, we should instinctively cast it in the direction of Christ (1 Pet 5:7). We should pray specifically and immediately. It is said that the path to peace is paved with prayer. Let our anxious thoughts be replaced by prayerful thoughts. As we pray “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
Leave our concerns with God. Phil 4:7 ”And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. We need to let God take charge of our anxieties and our lives and leave Him to do what is best for us. “…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” (2 Tim 1:12, NLT). While waiting for the Lord to work on our problems, we should drive out anxious thoughts with grateful ones. Just like Paul in Phil 4:11-13, let us focus on what we have and less on what we do not have so that we can strive for Christ-based contentment.
Meditate on good things. Phi 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. We cannot control our circumstances but we can control what we think of them. The thoughts that we have determines the outcome of our battle with anxiety (Prov 4:23). Sometimes the problem that we have is not the problem in itself, but the way we think about it. We should saturate our hearts with the goodness of God by setting our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col 3:2)
By meditating on God’s word and clinging onto His promises, let’s strive for a season where we can worry less and trust Him more.
By Tay Yong Thai, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 13&14 January 2018)