Lent Devotional in Philippians
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
I was wondering the other day why I again became anxious over a silly issue in my home. The scriptures tell us not to be anxious for anything and yet I was anxious over a little thing! Can you relate?
Day by day we are given challenges in which we are called to utterly trust in the sovereign King and judge of the universe who has created all things, sustains all things and yet allows hardship and difficulty to enter our paths.
Isn’t God for us and isn’t He greater in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)?
Then why do we get anxious if we know that God is in sovereign control of all things? The answer is in Philippians 4:6-7:
"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"
What is usually the last thing we do when we start to feel anxious? How often do we try to resolve challenges with our own rational thinking even though God has told us to pray and keep on praying? The opposite of anxiety is peace and here in these two verses, we see that prayer is the ultimate weapon against anxiety of all types. First, we have to distinguish between peace with God and the peace of God. Peace with God takes place when someone repents and turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus for salvation. This initial decision gives a person a new status with God. But the peace of God is different in the sense that it can come and go. The former is experienced in a moment of time while the latter happens based upon our attitude and choices in moments of anxiety. The former changes one forever (peace with God) while the latter (peace of God) fluctuates over time.
I think the type of prayer that the Apostle Paul is speaking of here is intercessory prayer, praying for God to intercede in an overwhelming event. It’s usually not a one and done prayer, it's repetitive, and yet it's profitable.
It produces peace; not so much the absence of pressure that most people crave, but the reminder that God is with us, in and through whatever the overwhelming circumstance is. The greatest blessing we can have in any time of adversity is the presence of God to bring us to God’s desired destiny.
Our new life in Christ gives us opportunity after opportunity to trust God and trust His plan knowing that He is working all things together for good and wants us to experience His presence not only in the good times of meditation and worship but also in the trials and tribulations of our daily life.
We have been privileged to reflect the glory of God and fight against anxiety through prayer and supplication. Today instead of asking God to keep you from hardship, remind yourself God is with you in the good, the bad and the hard times and works everything for our spiritual good.
Gracious Heavenly Father, help us to always remember that anxiety is focused on self; whilst prayer is focused on You, Your goodness and power. There is nothing that is too little or too big to spread before You. We are thankful that we are not to look to ourselves to solve our own problems and before we receive Your answer we thank You with childlike confidence that you are sufficient and gracious to help us with all our needs. Amen.
Written by Nicola Fisher, Office Manager
Nicola comes from an administrative background within recruitment and now coordinates the office and financial administration at CEM. She currently lives in East London.
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