Worn-Out Knees - Living A Peaceful Life

Dave Jones March 15, 2008 Philippians 4:6-9

Introduction

Tom Landry, the first coach of the Dallas Cowboys said:

“Most of the athletes who fail to become winners are those athletes whose fears and anxieties prevent them from reaching their potential.  I overcame my fears and my anxieties by a commitment to something far greater than winning a football game.  I overcame them by my commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Howard E Ferguson, The Edge (Cleveland: Getting the Edge Co., 1983), 4:9

Is Tom Landry right?  Does a commitment to Christ help overcome fear and anxiety?  I think so.  Think back to last week’s lesson, when we live a life yielded to Him, there is less to fear and be anxious about.    Let’s look at what god’s Word has to say about being anxious…

Read Philippians 4:6-9

6Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

  1. The Problem: Worry

INPUT: What are some things that cause us to worry?

           
       
     

Too much debt, retirement, bills

Pain, How serious? – Is it cancer?

Don’t have any real friends

Children making wrong choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Money

Health

Friends

Family

I cannot verify David Jeremiah’s research numbers on worry, but I still think it is worth mentioning. 

  • 40% never happen
  • 30% are beyond our control
  • 12 % deal with health concerns when the person is fine

That leaves 8% that actually have a foundation in reality. 
92% of what we worry about has no basis in reality and never happen.

Has this been your experience?

If worry is the problem then, what is the answer?  Let’s look at the second half of verse  6…

  1. The Prescription: Prayer

Notice the contrast Paul gives us. Don’t worry about anything.  Pray for everything.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Why then is sometimes so hard to get to this point?  Of not being anxious for anything and praying for everything.  Let’s look at the verse more closely.  At the words used by Paul.

  1. Prayer

Prayer is the most general word used to describe reverent words addressed to God.  It speaks to the frame of mind of the one praying – coming to God with reverence and respect.

Here we are reminded of the need for reverence.

  1. Supplication

This word means to “humbly entreat”; “to ask humbly and earnestly” 

The picture is one of a servant going to the master with a request.  Going to someone who has everything we need, but without an automatic expectation of fulfilling our request.

We must not only go with reverence, but humility. 

  1. Thanksgiving

Notice the word “with.”  It should be highlighted or circled in your Bible.  We are to go WITH thanksgiving.  Think with me for a moment, why is this important?  Especially in the context of being anxious? 

INPUT: How does an attitude of gratitude help as we go to the Lord in prayer?

  • It puts our problems in the right perspective
  • We tend to forget blessed we really are
  • It reminds us of what Christ has done for us
  • It is hard to keep worrying when we are focused on being thankful

David Jeremiah says it this way; “The worst thing that could happen to a Christian in this life is that we could die a go to heaven and be with Jesus.  In light of that staggering truth, what worry is there that deserves the investment of our mental and emotional energy?  What God has already provided for us is far beyond anything that might befall us in this life.”

Many times we are fearful or get anxious because we are not thankful.  We should be working every day to cultivate thankfulness.  That way when we are tempted to worry, we can quickly turn it around.

  1. Requests

I think it is important to note the progression, the sequence of the words.  Prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and then requests.  We need to make sure we are in the proper mindset before making our requests. 

I think it is also important to note that our requests need to be specific  Just as we need to thank Him specifically.  It’s not that God can’t answer a non specific prayer.  We need to be specific not for His benefit, but for ours. Being specific shows our reverence and respect for God.  It shows that we are not just asking Him to “Fit it.”  We are asking Him to help us.  We are willing to be part of that solution, to put some work in.

OK.  We have the problem and the prescription.  Now let’s look at the program…

  1. The Program: Right Thinking and Right Action

Right praying leads to right thinking.  Right thinking leads to right action.  What should we be thinking?  Verse 8 gives us the answer.  And it is not just thinking about these things, it is meditating upon them.  Meaning we need to carefully ponder, consider, and give proper weight and value to these things.

  1. To Avoid Anxiety, We Must Think Proper Thoughts

I like John MacArthur’s commentary on these points.

  1. Whatever things are true

What is true is found in God (2 Tim. 2:25), in Christ (Eph. 4:20, 21), in the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), and in God’s Word (John 17:17).

  1. Whatever things are noble

The Greek term means “worthy of respect.” Believers are to meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, i.e., the sacred as opposed to the profane.

  1. Whatever things are just

This refers to what is right. The believer is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness

  1. Whatever things are pure

That which is morally clean and undefiled.
 

Whatever things are lovely

The Greek term means “pleasing” or “amiable.” By implication, believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious.

  1. Whatever things are of good report

That which is highly regarded or thought well of. It refers to what is generally considered reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.

It is impossible to live a peaceful life if we are filling our minds with lies, base thoughts, unrighteousness, ugliness, impurity, gossip, and speculation.  Without even trying, our minds can become filled with these kinds of thoughts.

This is why it is important to be filling our minds with the right kind of thoughts.

The best way to do this is to memorize and meditate on scripture.

I hate, or maybe I don’t, to keep reminding you of the challenge at the beginning of the year to read through the Bible this year.  Can I ask, “How are you doing?” 

I cannot stress enough the importance of having scripture to call upon when you are in the midst of a trial.

  • Example of Grandmother dying this week and relying on scripture to comfort me and others.  And then given the opportunity to speak for the family at the funeral.
  • To Avoid Anxiety, We Must Do Proper Things

As stated earlier, right thinking then leads to right action.  Paul is urging the Philippian believers to put into practice not only the things they have learned, but also the things they have seen him do as well.

Let’s put a little of this into practice right now.  Look at the list of worries we created earlier.  I would like to take one or two of these and then look at what an example of right thinking would be and then what right action should follow that thinking.  (Teachers you can do this as a class or you can use this as a time to break into teams.  I would take something from the list created by your class and then build out the other items)

Worry

Thinking

Action

 

   

Paul state the benefits that we can achieve as a result of godly praying, thinking, and living.

  1. The Promise: Peace
  1. God’s Protection

In verse 7 it states that God’s peace “…will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  The image here is one of an army encamped around your heart, guarding whatever comes in.

  1. God’s Presence

Verse 9 says “… the peace of God will be with you.”  When you pray, think and behave in a godly fashion, God’s presence will be with you.  We all have seen folks who go through a difficult trial without fear or anxiety.  Why?  Because they know the God of peace and are able to rely on Him in the midst of the trial. 

Key point:  God is no more present at one time than He is at another.  But our realization of and dependence on His presence changes.  Psalm 119:71 says “It was good for me to be afflicted that I might learn your statutes.”  We are drawn closer to Him during a trial.

  1. God’s Peace

Besides the protection and presence of God’s peace, there is the peace of God itself.  It “surpasses all understanding.”  It is impossible to explain.  There are times that we respond to situations without “losing it” that can only be explained by the peace of God.  It can only be explained by our leaning on Him, trusting in Him to get us through.  That gives us peace.  He is in control.  We recognize and give up trying to control it ourselves.

Dave Jones

Dave works for human resources at Purdue University.  Dave and his wife, Becky, joined Faith in 1986.  He co-teaches the Ambassadors ABF as well as several FCI classes.