Living Words: Philippians 4:6–7

Living Words: Philippians 4:6–7

Don?t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God?s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

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Living Words takes a closer look at verses in the Bible, and how we can apply them.

This verse is special not only because of what it reveals about God, but also for how it empowers us in difficult times. We are told that speaking with God, telling Him what we need and praising Him for what He?s done, will allow us to experience a peace that goes beyond our own understanding, outside of what we can even imagine.

When we face hardship, this is a verse we can look to. When life overwhelms, this verse reminds us to turn to God, ask Him to help us, and think about the positives. The last of those may seem like an odd thing to do in times of trouble. Praising God in times of calamity isn?t our reflexive response.

I don?t believe that Paul, the author here, tells us here to think about the positives because then our situation won?t seem that bad, or because it will take our minds off of the trouble, or anything like that. I think it?s more likely that it helps us to view things in a different light and begin to plot a way forward. What can we do to bring good into a negative situation? In a time of scarcity or lacking, what do we have to build with?

While this verse can bring comfort out of context, it can be understood more completely as part of the larger chapter. Paul goes on:

His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me ? everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Paul reiterates that we should focus on the good, focus on building towards what is right. Even when our hearts are in the right place, it?s all too easy to begin with the negative. Paul says here to flip that on its head, to fix our thoughts on what is lovely, pure, and admirable, and to put those things into practice. Won?t that, in turn, crowd out and eliminate what ails us? By doing this, we add light to the darkness and we show ourselves and others the best way forward.

He then writes of how God has shown him how to live when times are great, and when they?re not. Whether he has a full stomach or is starving, when he has plenty or little. It?s worth reading the whole chapter. This ties in well with the idea that God provides us with a peace that goes beyond what we?re able to understand. After all, shouldn?t we feel more anxious when we?re feeling insecure? When we?re not healthy, or we?re experiencing financial hardship, or having problems with our relationships?

Human wisdom would tell us that we should be worried in those situations. But God tells us to spend time in prayer, to think of what we have, and to take action from a higher, enlightened perspective. By taking time to think things through and pray, we receive a calming guidance about where we are and what to do next. This allows us to center ourselves and face our troubles with confidence ? a confidence that we ourselves may not even comprehend. This removes the power that the world claims to hold over us and gives that power to its rightful owner, The Lord above.

Don?t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God?s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

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