As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we are looking at Philippians 4:6-7. In this passage Paul shows us how to handle our worries and anxiety.
Do not have anxiety over one single thing. Contrariwise in every circumstance you find yourself in by worshipful prayer and petitions with grateful language let the things you ask for be made known to God. And the way God will set all things at one within you (which is superior to every human thought) will protect your feelings and perception/disposition by the instrumentality of Jesus the Messiah.
(My personal translation)
Do not have anxiety
Paul reiterates in this passage what is taught repeatedly in the Word of God and, most notably, taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Christians are commanded to live lives free from worry and anxiety. Paul actually commands us to not worry over one single thing. In our world today this seems impossible. We have a myriad of things every day that we feel like we MUST worry about. It almost seems irresponsible to not worry about them! However, God commands us to not worry of have anxiety about anything in life.
Instead of worrying we are commanded to pray. We are to focus our worship on the Lord in prayer and lay these concerns on Him. We are to make specific requests for everything that comes up in our daily lives. God wants us to cast our care on Him because He cares for us.
Express your gratitude to God
Paul inserts here a phrase that we often neglect in our daily lives. We are to pray with grateful language. In other words, every request, every prayer, every word is supposed to be presented from a heart overflowing with gratitude. Instead of seeing the thing we lack we are to express gratitude for the things God has already given. Instead of seeing the trials we must face we are to express gratitude for the trials He has brought us through. Our entire demeanor must be one of gratitude.
The word Paul uses for peace literally means to make one within us. In other words every emotion and thought disappears into one unified feeling of peace. This is what happens when we are grateful. Thanksgiving cures anxiety and gives us peace. This peace is superior to any other human idea for overcoming anxiety or fixing our problems. It surpasses the collective intellect of all human wisdom. This peace protects us from our feelings and our perception. It literally changes our feelings and disposition.
How? The instrument that God uses to give us this peace is Jesus. Jesus has died and risen again so that we might experience this peace. When we choose to focus on Him with hearts overflowing with gratitude, He is the One Who guards us with His peace.
Are you praying with gratitude?
What has God done in your life that you need to be thankful for?