Philippians 4:4-9 and Psalms 37:8
Steve’s next message on anxiety today, titled “Anything and Everything,” came from verses 4-9 chapter 4. He opened with a note that Paul’s directive to rejoice in the Lord always doesn’t make much sense to someone facing bankruptcy, stage 4 cancer or some other serious illness. It takes the world’s way of thinking and turns it upside down, just like it didn’t make any sense for Jesus to wash people’s feet.
To smile when you’re on the verge of tears at all time doesn’t make sense, either. But Steve pointed out the phrase in verse 5 that follows the command to rejoice, “the Lord is at hand,” means that Jesus is coming back. He pointed to Hebrews 10:24-25, which tells us to continue assembling together because the day of the Lord is at hand. “The anchor of the New Testament is the Lord is at hand,” he said. “It means you believe in Christ and He died for you. That you believe the Lord rescued you from the mouth of the lion. If you believe that, He is calling you to think this way.”
Indeed, this is a basic prescription for avoiding anxiety. How do we deal when we face bills we can’t pay? Everything comes down to a matter of prayer, Steve said. We have to set our mind on Scripture instead of showing up for church once in a while and never knowing what the Bible says. If we believe that everything works for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28), then our anxiety will dry up.
“This lets me know Christianity is not a ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ religion,” Steve said. “The Lord is with me. I don’t have to know what He will do. I just know He will. . . God is glorified when His children praise Him in the midst of hardship. Look at verse 7: ‘The peace of God . . . will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ I love that phrase. The peace of God doesn’t make sense. The joy of God in the midst of trials doesn’t make sense.”
When we are trusting God like Abraham did, and have no idea where we’re going or what’s going on, we can have joy in following His commands. Whatever God calls you to do, just do it and quit trying to figure it out ahead of time, Steve said. Just trust Him, knowing that His peace will guard your heart and mind. The way we can get there is by stomping on anxiety and taking everything to pray. That means praying throughout the day; we don’t have to devote 20 minutes to prayer to make it count.
Steve recalled having a situation at work this past week that filled him with anxiety. He took the matter to prayer and thanked God, realizing the verses from Philippians 4 applied to his situation. And, none of his fears came to pass.
A note of praise: at the end of today’s service, Sophie, Addy, Brady and Hannah were all baptized. Although Hannah had been previously at the age of 7, she said she understood it better at 13 and wanted to go through the ceremony again.