“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.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Since I’m the type of personality that tends towards anxiety and worry, I’ve printed out scriptures regarding this and taped them into my journal.  This particular verse stood out to me today.  Right after I read this verse, I sent a text to my daughter about making her requests known to God and He would watch over her heart and mind.  She sent me a text saying she had to stay home with her 18-month-old daughter today from work because she was running a fever.

Oh great! Anxious thoughts start to kick in:  “she’s losing money today that she needs as a single mom. She needs someone she can call when this happens so she’s not missing work.  Why all these fevers all of a sudden?”

Immediately, I had to speak this verse out loud again and break it all apart to get the understanding I needed today, to lessen my anxious thoughts and to grab God’s peace. 

These are the phrases/words that stood out to me today I want to share with you:

Do Not Be Anxious
This sounds like a pretty hard command doesn’t it? It’s written by Paul who, at the time, was imprisoned in Rome.  You could say, he knew exactly what he was talking about regarding anxiety.  What are we not to be anxious about?  Anything and Everything. We are not to be anxious about all that exists in a situation or circumstance. Look at the verse previous, though (vs 5), that says “the Lord is at hand.”  This will help us to know that the Lord is near, even in our anxious state.  He is never a passive bystander.

What are you facing today that you’re anxious about?  My anxiety is mostly directed towards my girls.  I need to let it go.  Put your name in the first part of that verse: “do not be anxious ________ (your name) about all that exists in this situation, in this circumstance.”

Prayer, Supplication, Thanksgiving
These words are the “how to” script to move us towards not being anxious. When my daughter sent the text to me, my imagination began to take over; anxious thoughts swirled into my mind.  How sad that this was my first response, my default way of thinking.  I had just read and spoken out the Philippians verse. I thought, “come on Sharon, you need to apply this not just now, but get it inside of you for every day.”

What can I do when these anxious thoughts swirl around mixed with worry and fear? Paul gives us the ingredients: pray, ask earnestly and then mix in thanksgiving.  We are to vocalize our requests, make them known to God.  Yes, He does know them already, but He wants us to ask.  Get that request out there in the atmosphere.  God will grab hold of it and do something about it. 

Ask earnestly
Ask with a purposeful and sincere intent
Ask passionately

Let thanksgiving accompany your praying and asking.  It says “with thanksgiving”.  This preposition means “in the company of, accompanying, next to, alongside of”.  Just be full of thanks that God has heard and will answer.

Peace Of God
There are two types of peace mentioned in the Bible: peace with God and the peace of God.  Because of our faith in Christ, we now have peace with God. At one time, we were enemies of God, but through salvation we now have peace with God.

The verse we are looking at says and the peace of God…..

God is peace, and so He extends this peace to us.  He gives us His peace in the midst of our not-so-peaceful state. What a reassurance that I’m not in this alone.  God will hand me His peace, which is a part of who He is.  Because of my relationship with Him, I have all the resources of Heaven extended to me:  peace is one of them.

It Surpasses My Understanding
Just wrap your mind around that phrase.  I won’t be able to even comprehend the peace He will give.  His peace will surpass anything I could imagine.  It will surpass my human understanding because it is God-powered and Spirit-connected.

Surpass – “to become better, greater or stronger; go beyond; transcend the reach, capacity or power.”

Will Guard My Heart and My Mind
His peace will be like a garrison around my heart and my mind. This is how I visualize this phrase:  

If you lived back in the days of frontier towns, being harassed by raiding parties or enemies, a military troop would be dispatched to live beside your town.  They would be “garrisoned” to your town. Their presence would provide protection during an attack and hopefully dissuade any enemy from launching anymore attacks against your town.

For us, the peace of God is garrisoned to our hearts and minds.  It provides an ever present protection from within.  It mingles and indwells our heart and mind, so that these anxious thoughts cannot invade us permanently and settle in to make themselves at home. 

In Christ Jesus
There is no other way for this peace to guard us but by being enclosed, surrounded and tucked away in Christ Jesus.

Your Turn
Is fear and anxiety your default?  Meditate on this verse today. Allow yourself the privilege of being enclosed, surrounded and tucked away in the peace of Christ Jesus.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” – Psalm 94:19

By Sharon Lobbs Garner

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