Anxious About Nothing

12 Mar , 2020  

Fill your mind with Scriptures; your mouth with prayers, and your hands with helps for those around you in need. When you do, you crowd out the negative thoughts.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.   (Philippians 4:1-9)

Life Changes

When I was in seminary, the class that teaches how to preach was called Homiletics. The Professor gave us a Scripture, and we each had to write and deliver a 15-minute sermon. Upon completion the student sat down. The class then critiqued his writing and his delivery. Next the Professor gave his critique. For our first sermon, Dr. Cook gave us Philippians 4:6-7 as the text.

As I opened to Paul’s letter to the Philippians and read the passage, I realized Ruth and I had lived it! Just months before I entered seminary, while our family was on vacation, one evening when Ruth and I were praying, the Holy Spirit told us that we were going to be involved in a ministry together. God gave us no idea what.

The day I went back to work after vacation, the boss called me into his office, “Ted, you are at liberty to seek other employment.” Our company was closing the Seattle office, but no one in the office was to be retained. I loved that job. The rug was pulled out from under me, but much to my surprise, nothing moved.

I went right home to tell Ruth. She was in the kitchen doing the dishes. “What are you doing home?”

I was smiling when I told her I had lost my job, so she didn’t believe me at first. When I convinced her it was true, she dried her hands, we went into the living room, and knelt down to pray. We affirmed our trust in Jesus, and then laid out all our financial needs. Just as verse 6 says,

… but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And He gave us that peace. It was not an attitude that was normal.

First the shock of painful reality. Then the grief at loss. Then the frantic preparation and search for another job. Tense days and worried sleeping (sort of) nights.

No! We knew that Jesus had something for us. We had peace that surpassed human understanding. I didn’t even look for another job. I was offered the same job with another company – same pay, benefits, company car, but I couldn’t take it. I had to call him back and say that I would not take the job, because Jesus had something else for us.

On my last day of work, I went into our denominational office here in Seattle to ask after a job as a camp counselor or old folks home host couple, any kind of lay person job with the church. Our Conference Minister asked me if I would consider the ministry, going to seminary. I told him no, but he pointed out a seminary that had a ministry to men who had been in business and then decided to pursue the ministry. When he said that the average student was 30 years-old and had a wife and two children, it described me to a T. I took the information and sent for their catalog. When the catalog came it was clear that it was a liberal, unbelieving seminary. That was a downer, but God made it clear that was where we were to go!

God put it all together! That was July 31st. We obtained tenants for our home, stored furniture, packed up and left just 5 weeks later. Just after Labor Day, we were on the road east 3,500 miles to Bangor, Maine.

My sermon in that class was a testimony sermon, emphasizing our trust in God and His provision for us. When it came time for the Professor’s critique, he asked, “Mr. Bradshaw, When you finish Seminary, do you think you will still believe as you do now?”

I was a bit nonplussed at the question, but God gave me the answer, “Well Dr., Cook, if I don’t, I will be wrong!”

Jesus is Faithful

Essentially, what I am saying to you is that God’s word is true. It is something you can found your life and decisions on. You can trust Jesus to be faithful to His Word.

There is a lot more I could tell you, but now let’s dig into this scripture to see what the Holy Spirit has for us.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.   (Philippians 4:4)

“Always” is an operative word. Paul’s standard is to rejoice in good times and in bad times; in sickness and in health; when rich and when poor. Paul and Silas were in a Philippian jail, their backs bruised, torn and bleeding, feet in stocks. He and Silas had to sit up all night, because the floor was too filthy to lay back on. They spent the night singing and praising God.

Rejoicing is a stance of life. Regardless of what occurs in your life, you can rejoice. Consider this: Jesus went through agony in the preparation for crucifixion, with beating, flogging, humiliation, and then crucifixion is an excruciating way to die. Should believers rejoice in Jesus’ horrific death?

Of course!

  • We rejoice that He bore our sins.
  • We rejoice that He won our freedom from condemnation.
  • We rejoice that He paved the way for us to enter into eternal life.

Yes, it is not only appropriate to rejoice, it would be an affront to God if we were to lament.

Paul, who experienced many agonies for Jesus instructed us strongly – he repeated it “Rejoice and again I say “Rejoice!”

What agonies? It was in A.D. 53, Paul and Silas were beaten bloody and thrown into a Philippian prison and spent the night singing praises to Jesus. I suspect many of the Philippian believers, would remember that night, particularly Lydia; and the Jailor, specifically. He and his family accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior that night, because of Paul’s rejoicing in that terrible situation. In A.D. 60, Paul wrote a 2nd letter to the Corinthians citing…

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.   (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).

This letter to the Philippians was written when Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting adjudication that would most likely (and did 2 years later) result in execution.

Paul had every reason to live in regret, lament, anxiety. All that was nothing to Him. Instead he wrote and underlined, “Rejoice!”

Life for many of us is uncomfortable, to say the least. And yet, those who are triumphant over the afflictions of this life are able to rejoice in the knowledge that Christ has overcome the world and all its sufferings.

Live Without Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything” – What! Are you crazy, Paul? Life without anxiety? You’ve got to be kidding, Paul! You must be talking to the dead. They’re the only ones without anxiety. Right?

Wrong! That is absolutely the way for Christian believers to live! Without anxiety! When we live in Christ, we are confident that…

“all things work together for good to those who are called according to His (God’s) purpose.”   (Romans 8:28)

Anxiety is a sign that a person is not depending upon Jesus. Paul is calling, and I am calling for a radical surrender of your life to Jesus.

Job had that attitude,

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” (Job 13:15)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Babylon had that attitude,

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  (Daniel 3:17-18)

Jesus had that attitude,

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”  (Matthew 26:42)

When we realize that we

“… are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  (Colossians 3:3)

… then there is nothing anyone or anything can do to harm us. We belong to God and nothing can change that! No more anxiety!

Prayer and Thanksgiving

“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” – Our appeal is to God. Everything is in His hands. Actually, that is true whether we recognize it or not. God is Sovereign. He is in control. It is foolish to wrest control from Him. When, however, we surrender to that truth, and live according to His will, we will readily bring everything to Him in prayer. We will appeal to our loving Father for all our needs and let Him sort out our desires.

Then in appropriate politeness we thank him for His provision. Thanking in advance is an act of faith. We are saying to our Father that he is faithful to provide for us and we rely upon Him to do so.

“let your requests be made known to God.” – I liken this to tossing everything up to God and knowing that what is according to His plan for me, He will return. The rest I will right-off as unworthy human desires.

Receive God’s Peace

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – This is where the anxiety is eliminated. Jesus’ gift of peace is that unworldly peace that when everyone around you has logical reasons to panic, you can be a spreader of peace. Everyone who sees your equanimity, your calm, your composure, your self-control, and your poise, will be drawn into your sphere of influence and experience your God-given peace, too.

Paul adds a final touch to his teaching on rejoicing anxiety-free. He encourages us to transform our thinking from the difficulties, hardships and evils of this life, instead fill our minds with upbuilding thoughts.

Think About These Things

“Finally,” – 

  • “whatever is true,” – Truth is reality, but not all reality is visible. God is not visible, but He is true. His truths are the way to live an anxiety-free life.
  • “whatever is honorable,” – anything that honors God is worthy to fill your mind.
  • “whatever is just,” One of the characteristics of the image of God in us is our natural sense of justice. We feel satisfied when we see an injustice righted. If we concentrate on what is just in the world, instead of the injustices, we will keep a blessed frame of mind.
  • “whatever is pure,” – Uncorrupted, wholesome, holy thoughts will be healthy because God blesses that which is pure. So, concentration on pure things gives us a pattern of life that maintains God’s blessings.
  • “whatever is lovely,” – We rarely think of godly things, or even God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit as “lovely”. But Jonathan Edwards did. He was the Colonial Pastor and Theologian who was instrumental in sparking the Great Awakening, a revival that swept the Colonies in the 1740s, creating a revival and a phenomenal turning back to Jesus. He described Jesus as “lovely”; His love for us as ravishing; the pursuit of Jesus as beautiful.
  • “whatever is commendable,” – All godly acts are worthy of honor. They build up the receiver, the giver and honor Almighty God, Who prompted them.
  • “if there is any excellence,” – All those things we think, say and do that the Holy Spirit inspires are supernatural; and therefore, above the human level, i.e. excellent.
  • “if there is anything worthy of praise,” – Of course, our LORD is worthy of praise. The godly works of believers are worthy of praise, not only in the doing, but also in the conception.
  • “think about these things.” Those are things to contemplate.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So, if your mind is not busy, it will dwell on the lowest common denominator – gossip, criticism, judgmental-ism and the like. Instead contemplate:

  • The beauty of Christ,
  • The blessings of His sacrifice,
  • The times He has saved you,
  • The glorious future ahead,
  • Ways to bless others – believer and unbelievers,
  • How to tell others about Christ’s love.

Fill your mind with Scriptures; your mouth with prayers, and your hands with helps for those around you in need. When you do, you crowd out the negative thoughts.

God’s Peace

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Look to Paul for the example to follow in living for Christ:

  • “For me to live is Christ!”  (Philippians 1:21)
  • “Nevertheless, no more do I live, but Christ lives in me.”  (Galatians 2:20)
  • “We have the mind of Christ.”  (1 Corithians 2:16)
  • “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.”  (Romans 8:2)
  • “Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ,”  (Philippians 3:8)

God’s Confidence

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” – This is a bold statement.

Paul was confident in Christ. He knew Who Jesus was – Son of God, very God, Himself – Almighty! Paul believed not only in Christ, but he believed Christ! Paul believed there was a transfer of authority to all believers, when Jesus said,

“And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:”  (Matthew 28:18-19)

That giving of authority included Paul, and it included us!

God’s Supply

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – There are two points to make about this verse.

  • God is Omniscient – He knows our needs. He is generous – He will supply everything we need. All we have to do is rely upon Him and take the first step of faith.
  • It is not out of His riches. That would be depleting Christ’s riches. No, it was “according to” His riches. This means that Christ’s riches are the guaranty that we have the resources of Almighty God, our Savior to provide for our needs.

You are Precious to God

My brothers and sisters, you–each one of you–are precious in the sight of your Lord Jesus Christ.

You women are Princesses, each one of you, daughters of God Almighty the Creator of the cosmos. Do you believe that Your Father loves you? Therefore, you not only have His protection throughout life, but you have no reason to be anxious about any need in your life. So, rejoice always, and again I say rejoice!

You men are Princes of The King of Kings and the Lord of lords, the Sovereign of the universe. You have no excuse for anxiety about your future. It is secure in Christ. He knows your needs before you do. He has already made provision for you; therefore, rejoice now and for evermore, and again I say rejoice!

Now repeat with me:

I rejoice in You, my Lord Jesus. I rejoice in Your provision for me! Hallelujah!

Thank You, my Father. I rejoice that You have adopted me as Your child.


I love you My God, Holy Spirit. I rejoice that You have taught me about Jesus.


I rejoice in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.


Prayer for Peace

We are Yours, our God and King. We have given our lives to You. Now, my Lord reveal to us what peace You have for each one in the congregation. Reveal how You are taking the anxiety out of each one’s heart. Reveal the goodness that You are placing in that empty place, filling our minds with the good, the true, the beautiful, the worthy and with joy. Yes, Father give each one of us joy unspeakable and full of glory! To the honor of our Savior, Jesus. Amen

Benediction for Peace

May God

… grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:16-19)

, , ,

Comments are closed.