I’d like to start by wishing all the mothers, everywhere around the world today, a very Happy Mother’s Day. I pray that you’ve been blessed and loved on by your families.
I want to share this week a scripture that I’ve been meditating on in the last couple of days. Philippians 4 verse 6; it’s the scripture that says “Do not be anxious for anything”.
I find this is a very interesting scripture. I find that it’s interesting that it doesn’t say something more along the lines of “and God will help us with our anxiety” or “God will lift anxiety from your spirit”. It actually instructs us to not be anxious; “Do not be anxious”.
I don’t know whether you had this experience when you were a child – or maybe you’ve said this to your own children – but perhaps you were feeling upset about something or you were in a bad mood and your parents might have said to you “Get happy”.
It’s a lot easier said than done. When you’re not feeling happy to suddenly switch and be happy feels impossible. I think this scripture seems to me to be a lot like that. It says “do not be anxious”. Well how do you not be anxious when you’re feeling anxious? when you’ve got that sense of anxiety and dread in your spirit.
And the scripture is seemingly so unhelpful – it simply says “do not be anxious”. So I want to have a look at that today. How do we not be anxious when our heart and our mind is filled with anxiety?
Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re anxious about. Sometimes we just have that sense of dread. You might wake up in the morning with that awful feeling of dread and anxiety; and that sense of “what’s going to happen today”. And it’s a terrible thing to live with and I know that many people do. Many people live with that constant feeling of anxiety gnawing away at the inside of them.
Anxiety can be a result of things that we’re worried or fearful about. It can be a spiritual thing. There’s no doubt about it that we live in a spiritual world and there can be spiritual forces at work against us – the Bible tells us – to try and destroy our soul. Sometimes we need to pray about that.
And sometimes anxiety can simply become a habit for our mind. We might have been through such a difficult time; a very stressful or traumatic time that our mind automatically is on high alert – it’s on the lookout “do I need to be anxious about this? Do I need to worry about that?” And you just have that constant feeling in your stomach and it’s a terrible thing to have to live with.
I’d like to share something with you today that will hopefully help you because you know we can train our minds to not go to fear and anxiety and to allow the peace of God to come in and to stay in.
So I want to look at Philippians 4 verse 6 a little bit more today. I love what the Bible commentator MacLaren says. He says, “The heart is never empty”.
And that is so true. Our heart and our mind will always be filled with something. And for many people it is filled with anxiety. It’s filled with fear and it’s filled with a sense of dread about the future.
So we need to find out how we can get that fear and anxiety out and fill our hearts and our minds with something else so completely that there’s no room for the fear and the anxiety to live inside us.
So I want to read what MacLaren says about this scripture. It’s a little bit long but stay with me because it’s really worthwhile hearing what he says and it’s also in Old English so I’ll take it slowly to try and make it easier to understand.
The scripture says – Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious for anything but by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God”
MacLaren starts by talking about the word prayer – “by prayer”. He says:
“By prayer that does not mean, as a superficial experience of religions supposes it to mean, actual petition that follows. For a great many of us, the only notion that we have of prayer is asking God to give us something we want. But there is a far higher region of communion than that in which the soul seeks and finds, and sits and gazes, where there is no spoken petition for anything affecting the outward life. There may be the prayer of contemplation, the prayer of silent submission in which the will bows itself before God. The prayer of quiet trust in which we do not so much seek as to cleave, the prayer of still fruition. These, in Paul’s conception of the true order, precede supplication. And if we have such union with God, by realising His presence, by trusting Him and submission to Him then we have the victory over our anxieties”
This is the incredible, wonderful answer to the problem of our heart and our mind being filled with anxiety. We need to release it and let it go in the stillness, in the quietness, in the silence of contemplating God in His presence.
When we do that we find that all anxiety leaves and God replaces it with Himself and with His peace. And when our hearts are filled with His peace there is no room for anxiety.
I have found this to be so true in my life. I have found that by coming to God in meditation every day, anxiety leaves. I let it all go – it’s like it drains out of my soul as I sit in quiet contemplation in His presence.
And in floods His peace filling my soul with that. And then as I go about my day I stay in that place. When fear tries to rise in my spirit; when anxiety tries to get its claws back on my soul – and you can feel it – you know that sense of dread starting to rise. And your mind starting to go into that panic feeling of “oh what do I need to worry about, what’s happening”, I take a breath and I say “you know what, it will work out, it will all be good” because there’s a scripture that promises “all things work together for good”.
So if we get into that place of peace every morning with God, we let our anxiety go, we let our heart and our mind be filled with His peace and then we stay in that place all day. And every time anxiety or fear tries to get a hold of your spirit, you take a breath and you say “it will be ok, it will be ok”. And do you know I have found that every single time – it always is.
So I’m praying for you today. I know what a terrible thing it is to live with anxiety in your soul. And it’s not meant to be that way. God will help you. The scripture tells us “do not be anxious”. All we need to do is completely fill our heart with Him; be completely focussed on Him.
You may need to stop during your day if you feel that sense of panic rising and you’re starting to breathe fast and you’re starting to feel anxious, just stop, be still, take a moment, put your focus back on God and remind yourself “God is with me, God is for me. It’s going to be OK”.
And you re-train your mind to constantly go back to God and not to fear and anxiety.
I really pray that helps you this week. I’m praying for you as always. God bless, looking forward to seeing you again next week.