Week 3 – Day 16
Do you pay attention to what you think about? Most people aren’t aware of how they spend their days inside their head. They jump from worry to worry and then try to reason their way back to peace. God simplifies the process for us in Philippians 4. The simplicity of His way usually has us scoffing at it, saying, “How can that work? That is too easy. Pray about it and let it go? Really? C’mon. Be realistic.”
Yet that is exactly what He says, let’s take a look:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].
- In the midst of every battle our concentration needs to be on the bigness of God. Then it is easy to rejoice. God is bigger than our situation! We win because Jesus paid the price for the promises of Eternal Life for us! The promises are OURS, they come to pass.
- This is a decision. When I have a bad day, it can turn around with a simple picture or text sent from my children. They bring me joy. I choose to be delighted in them when life around me isn’t bringing me joy. God is asking us to look at Him and choose to find joy in Him, especially when life surrounds us with the opposite.
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
- The choice to spend our time in our heads figuring out a problem is exactly that… a choice. God is asking you to make a different choice. Your old habit of dedicating countless hours of worry haven’t produced the result you want so far. So here is a new option:
- Give the problem to God. Giving is an action word and for some worriers we have a hard time because we are action people. If we give God our problem what are we suppose to do about it in the meantime?
- Glad you asked. Giving God a problem is more than a simple prayer and never thinking about it again. It has a few steps.
- First, pray and release it to Him.
- Check out the Bible about the problem or about the worry that is surrounding you with the problem.
- Find the verses that speak of your victory and begin to pray the solution. This is why you can be thankful when praying about your problems. When you are looking at God’s promises for victory, thankfulness will rise up on the inside of you. Your focus will change and results will happen.
- Choose to not go back and pick up the natural way of handling it after you prayed.
- Repeat as often as necessary. Soon this way will become the new habit for you, it will become second nature.
7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
- PROMISE!!! A promise from God: Do it this way and my peace, which doesn’t make sense to the outside world will literally MOUNT A GUARD over your heart and mind.
- That is the supernatural part! Have you ever seen someone going through absolute trauma and they seem to have it together in God? They have their moments, believe me, but they aren’t relying on their natural strength, which wears out. They have tapped into a supernatural realm of leaning on God.
- “Peace, which surpasses understanding” – Those around you that do not know the peace God gives will get worked up. They will try to hand you the worry again. This peace doesn’t make sense to the natural mind. Yet it is powerful and God moves best when we are at rest in Him.
- Have you ever tried to care for a child who has been hurt while they are panicking and crying? They could be bleeding, but you have to concentrate on calming them first before you can see to their wounds. Sometimes the wound isn’t that severe, but their actions are making it impossible for you to see to their hurt. That is the way we are with God at times.
- We become all worked up solving our problems mentally and moaning to heaven that God has to calm us down before He can give us the next instruction for our victory.
8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
- He is sharing with us how to keep the victory after handing it all over to Him. He wants you to check out your thought-life. What are you investing your mental energy on?
- Is it true? Does it line up with what God’s Word promises?
- The next ones; worthy of reverence, honorable, seemly, just, pure, lovely, lovable, kind, winsome and gracious can come into play when we are all worked up over dealing with people. Sometimes conflict can be a huge trigger for anxiety. So take these words and consider your thoughts, if they don’t line up it is time to change your focus. (We will talk in greater detail about this verse later.)
- Do your thoughts produce praise, virtue or excellence? If not, turn your focus back on the bigness of God on your behalf.
- Think on God’s promises! Fix your mind on them.
- Years ago we used to write the promises (scriptures) on 3×5 cards and flip through them throughout our day. Constantly putting the “good” thoughts in our head, while leaving little room for worry.
- Now we have apps that make it so much easier. Flashcard apps and alarms that can go off to remind you that God’s promises are at work in your situation.
- With all the tech tools available it would be silly not to put things in place to add to your victory. Go find some now and download them right away.
9 Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.
- Paul wasn’t bragging. He was trying to tell the Philippians that this worked!
- Paul had been an angry, power-hungry man before he met Christ. He often talks about the mind battles and how God had to work inside of him to change him completely. Learn from his victories. If it worked for him it will work for you.
- He is telling us, “This works! I did it! Do it too and the God of peace (of [untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you!” That is the good news we need in the midst of the battle.
Start becoming aware of what you are thinking on. Begin to stop yourself when you notice how much time is being consumed with worry. Do not become condemned and begin mentally chastising yourself. Treat it like you notice that you are driving the wrong direction; choose to make a U-turn and get back on track. Replace your thoughts with God’s Word on the subject and remind yourself that the God of Peace, who gives you that peace that won’t make sense to those around you, guards your heart and mind.
Freedom is yours today!!
What tools can you put in place to remind you of the Word? How can you increase your awareness of the subjects of your thought life? When are your most difficult trigger times; when you get ready, before you go back to work after a weekend, when you are tired or hungry or during your commute? Knowing your mental habits and times of stress will equip you to change for the better in Him.