What makes you anxious? Have you considered giving your worries to God in prayer with thanksgiving?
Those were questions Pastor Troy Murphy asked during his message on Sunday, November 17 as he concluded his sermon series on Philippians.
Here are key points from Philippians 4 and what it means to rest in Christ through life’s anxious times:
*Paul, the writer of Philippians, had every reason to be worried because of the difficult circumstances he went through, including beatings, shipwrecks, getting jailed and persecuted. He should have carried great anxiety, which makes his words in this chapter extremely powerful.
*Everyone experiences anxiety. We should not be ashamed when we feel anxiety. Paul acknowledges in Philippians 2:28 that he had anxiety, but his point in Chapter 4 was to provide some advice on how to deal with it.
*The definition of anxiety is a feeling of worry and unease about something coming up. It’s like being torn in two, in which we are serving two masters: Christ and the world.
*The opposite of anxiety is peace. When we delight in resting in Christ, our anxiety level decreases.
*Paul is speaking to fellow believers in this letter, meaning that the peace he says we can experience is applicable to Christ followers. It doesn’t mean non-believers can’t experience some form of peace, but not the kind of unexplainable peace that Christ offers. Delight in Christ can only be experienced through knowing Christ.
*When we fully surrender to Christ, only then is there a shift in our hearts and the Holy Spirit begins to transform us. It changes the way we think and view life. We can’t reduce our anxiety by following a formula. That comes from the Holy Spirit working in a person's life. A heart that is transformed can’t help but rejoice.
*Philippians 4:6 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Paul is calling us to talk to the Father in the midst of worry or anxiousness and do it with a grateful heart.
*God’s peace doesn’t come from psychology or a how-to list. It only comes from the Father himself. Worry is unnatural for the believer; worship is the natural response. Go to the Father in every situation. It’s taking yourself off the throne and putting God on it.
*Worry is allowing a concern to control you. Francis Chan said worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough. 1 Peter 5.6-7 says: "Cast all your anxiety on him."
*We tend to lose a sense of who is in charge when we worry. In the story of Mary and Martha in Matthew 6, Martha worried about many things, but Jesus told her that Mary was doing the right thing by sitting at the feet of Jesus.
*In Matthew 6 Jesus instructed his followers not to worry, because worry adds nothing to your life — it is wasted energy. We worry when we focus on the wrong things. Your eyes are taking in a worldly perspective when they should be focused on God.
*In order to worry less, change your mindset and turn your eyes on Jesus and what he said to do.
*Resting in Christ comes through a practice of thinking, praying and trusting. Focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4: 8).