Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Peace vs. Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything (there's no exception)! Prayer with thanksgiving is the cure for anxiety. We should thank God for what He has already done before we make any new requests. We are to lay all our burdens, fears, worries, desires, concerns down at His feet and not pick them back up. What a privilege it is for us to be able to talk with God our Father about anything anytime anywhere and seek His help, wisdom, and guidance. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3) When we pray and praise God, we set/"stay" our mind on God, resulting in peace. "Pray for wisdom to deal with whatever is worrying you. Pray that God will act to change the circumstances according to His will. He doesn't always do what we want Him to--but He knows what's best for us, and He can be trusted." (Billy Graham) God's answers are always wiser than our prayers. "Casting all your care (anxiety) upon Him--because He cares for you!" (1 Peter 5:7) God loves and cares for us His children; He knows and meets our needs. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) One common problem is: most anxiety stems, not from what we need, but from what we want. Therefore, want less. Be thankful and be content. If God is enough for us, then we'll always have enough, because we'll always have God. Another problem is: we usually worry that things won't turn out the way we hope for or expect. But if we truly desire God's will and God's ways, instead of ours, we would willingly leave all matters in God's hand, let go, and just wait to see how God will work things out.

God's peace is different from the world's peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) This inner peace is the tranquility of soul that only God can give. 
Peace is a soul at rest in God's loving, capable hand. It's not found in positive thinking or in absence of conflict or troubles. It comes from knowing that our God is in control and putting our trust in Him completely. It's calmness in our heart in the midst of chaos! Yesterday, we learned from Philippians 4:1-5 that joy and gentleness are two distinct marks of Christ's followers. Today's verses show that peace is another distinct mark of Christians (peace is also another fruit of the Spirit). Anxiety accomplishes nothing. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. It's understandable that unbelievers are anxious because they live without God and without hope. But God's children have no reasons to ever be anxious. "If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" (M.E.Howard) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

God's peace surpasses all our understanding and circumstances. It's unexplainable and unfathomable. The presence of Christ, the Prince of Peace, makes all the difference in the world. He is our Peace (Yahweh Shalom)! He gives us an inner tranquility which enables us to say, "It is well with my soul" no matter what happens to us. 

"Guard"--protect from harm, not letting anything penetrate, watch over, shield, defend. "Paul's choice of a military term implies that the mind is a battle zone and needs to be 'protected by a military guard.' Since the purpose of such a guard in a wartime situation is either to prevent a hostile invasion or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from escaping. The peace of God operates in the same way: to protect the mind from external corrupting influences and to keep the mind focused on God's truth." (from my NKJV Study Bible's commentary) "Memorizing the Bible is most important. 'Thinking God's thoughts' will take the place of worried, anxious concerns." (Billy Graham) God's Word encourages our heart and reminds us to walk by faith (not by sight) and to trust in God's wisdom wholeheartedly. God's Word renews our mind and adjusts our perspectives...helps us embrace God's eternal perspectives. When I fix my thoughts on the power of God, the promises of God, & the purposes of God and give thanks continually for His presence, provision, & protection, His peace guards my heart and mind. I pray. I trust. I rest.

To sum up this passage: Want God's peace? Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Whenever we face trials, obstacles, worries, or difficulties, we should pray and ask God what lessons we are to learn from them and ask Him to help us grow stronger, wiser, and more Christlike through them.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for always listening to my prayers and caring about every detail of my life! Please help me trust You totally and have a grateful & content heart. Please help me to live one day at a time, resting in Your love, promises, and provision. Please take all my worries, fears, and doubts away and fill my heart & mind with Your peace, instead. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


"
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27)
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength." (Corrie ten Boom)
"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due." (Unknown)

"Is not God wise enough to manage the complications of our lives--and to bring order and beauty out of them? Has He not skill enough? Is He not our Father? And will He not always do the very best and wisest thing for us? Should we not trust Him--and cease to be anxious about anything that we have committed to Him? Is not anxiety, doubt? And is not doubt, sin? We are simply to commit our way to the Lord, trust Him, and be at peace." (J.R. Miller)

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