1. If anyone had good reason to be anxious, it would have been Paul
a. His friends in Philippi were fighting – Philippians 4:1-3
b. Many preacher in Rome were out to get him – 1:15
c. Paul was under house arrest and did not know the outcome
2. But, Paul was joyous and show us how we can be also!
A. DEFINING THE WORD
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
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 coordination
B. ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON ANXIETY
1. From a spiritual perspective, anxiety is:
a) Wrong THINKING and wrong FEELING about circumstances, people and things
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 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 in prayer
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 things
(2) Therefore, God would have us talk to Him about everything
2. In which we pray by prayer and supplication
a) Prayer is the general word for making requests known to God
(2) Whenever we find ourselves filled with anxiety, our first action ought to 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 God
(1) It involves an earnest sharing of our problems and needs
(2) Freedom from anxiety does not come from half-hearted, insincere praying!
(a) While we know that we are not heard for our many words – Matthew 6:7-8
(b) Still we should realize that our Father wants us to be earnest and persistent in our asking - Matthew 7:7-11
(3) An example of this sort of praying is found in Hebrews 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) 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 HEARTS
1. God may not always remove the problems that were the initial cause of our anxiety, but He promises a peace which surpasses all understanding!
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 does mean:
a) A quiet confidence within
b) Regardless of circumstances, people, or things that would otherwise steal our joy!
c) This implies appreciation on our part
(1) Certainly the Father delights in hearing His children say Thank you!
(2) Yet so many people are like the nine lepers healed by Jesus - Luke 17:11-19
1. This wonderful peace, this freedom from anxiety, is the result of letting our requests be known to God through the right kind of praying:
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 (Philippians 4:7)!
a) He is the source of every spiritual blessing from God, including the peace that surpasses understanding - Ephesians 1:3
b) And we must be IN Christ if we desire this peace
3. Do you desire the peace of God?
a) Then you must be IN Christ - Galatians 3:26-27
b) And then you must commune with God frequently in the kind of praying taught by Paul
-- Don Treadway, February 2009 --