Choosing to See
Finding Peace in an Anxious World
"Be anxious for nothing . . . " (Philippians 4:6)
This statement from Philippians 4 comes from the guy in a Roman prison cell surrounded by suffering and death (i.e. human torches of martyred Christians and the sound of lions in the Colosseum of Rome making sport of Christians thrown to them).
And yet, the Apostle Paul finds a spirit of peace given him from "the peace of God" (4:7) / "the God of peace" (4:9) as he recognized that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (4:13).
And in this spirit of peace, the anxiety of suffering and death have no place in Paul's mind, but are instead replaced by a BIG confidence in a BIG God as he writes "The LORD is at hand" (4:5).
But today, anxieties and worries and fear are crippling those outside the church as well as those inside. The anxieties, which are real and often debilitating, rob the followers of Christ of the JOY which is meant to accompany them as children of the King.
The statistics that document this anxiety are concerning. Consider:
- 80 million people are taking some type of psychiatric prescription drug
- 622,723 of those people are 5 years old or younger
- 32 million are on anti-anxiety medications
- The largest percentage of those on anti-anxiety or anti-depressant meds are women ages 45-64
- The fastest-growing group using anti-anxiety/anti-depressant meds are children ages 10-19
"Houston, we have a problem . . . "
This Sunday, September 16, at both our 9:30 and 11am services, we will be looking at Philippians chapter 4 to see how Paul dealt so effectively with potentially anxious or depressing conditions.
We will see that Paul chose to both see God (v.5-9) and to see Good (v.10-18). By having a "secure mind" that rested in the confidence that "the Lord is at hand", Paul was able to rest securely in God's arms of protection, knowing that whatever happens, God is in control. The Apostle Paul rested securely in the thought that "God's got this . . . "
The Apostle Paul is not the only example in Scripture that teaches us that a "secure mind" that trusts in God's sovereign plan is a mind that says "NO" to anxiety, worry, and fear. Take some time to consider the words of the Psalmist who used a trusting, secure mind to fight off anxieties:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in HIs tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. (Psalm 27:1-6)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:10-11)
In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me. (Psalm 120:1)
I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)
Friends, we live in challenging times. Anxious times that can put us in a dark place away from the joy of the Lord. Come out Sunday and let's look together into God's word and see how Paul had victory over anxiety and chose joy.
See you Sunday,