Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)
6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Americans are more stressed than ever. A 2017 American Psychological Association “Stress in America Survey” showed that those polled were more stressed about the country’s future than at any time in the survey’s 10-year history. We are stressed about more than our country’s future. We worry about our families, jobs, and retirement. Others worry if their car will start in the morning or if they will have enough money to pay for their medications. Stress is deadly. As of June 2018, suicide rates in the US are up 30 percent since 1999. Stress is a silent killer that leads to heart attacks, stroke, and other serious health problems.
The Bible tells us over and over not to worry about tomorrow, food, or even what clothes to wear. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus exhorts us not to worry because God knows what we need and there is no value to worry. It won’t add a single hour to our life. In fact, it will likely reduce hours from our lives!
Chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is another great reminder to not worry. In fact, it provides the solution to worry – peace. Imagine the joy if we were not “anxious about anything.” Paul is suggesting in verse 6 to take each worry captive and turn it into a prayer with thanksgiving for what we currently have and a petition for what we think we need. Verse 7 is our reward for obedience to verse 6. The peace of God, which human words cannot even begin to describe, will be ours and it will guard our hearts and minds because we are in Christ Jesus. If we are in Christ, then worry cannot be in us. Verse 8 is telling us the importance of our thoughts which is reinforced in 2 Cor. 10:5. We should feed our minds with thoughts that are true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. This is health food for our brain. In verse 9 Paul is telling us that the “God of peace” can be with us. Obedience to the Word will lead to God’s peace. This means obedience to Holy Scripture and God. It is nice to know Holy Scripture, but the key is to obey it and live it.
Prayer: Dear God, We are stressed out, but we take comfort knowing that when we are weak, we are strong if we abide in you. Help us to not be anxious but to find joy in all situations. We thank you for the blessing of presenting our requests to you with thanksgiving. Dear God help us find the peace that transcends all understanding and keep our hearts and our minds focused on you and your righteousness. Amen.
Todd Shupe is a native of Carrollton, IL, a small rural town in west central Illinois. He earned his BS and MS in Wood Science from the University of Illinois and a PhD in Wood Science from Louisiana State University. He has a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is a Green Associate in LEED. He worked as a Professor and ISO 17025 Lab Director for 20 years and now works as a wood science consultant at www.drtoddshupe.com to continue to help companies bring new building products and wood preservatives to market, conduct in house training, improve product quality and production, and serve as an expert witness. Todd is currently in training to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, fishing, and writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com and todd-shupe.com.