By Lynn Jones
I heard about a woman who was worried about so many things that the only thing holding her together was her hair spray. Worry is a big problem in our day!
But worry is nothing new. I know that is true because the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:6-7 gave some first-century Christians, guidance about how to deal with it. This guidance is also for us.
Paul wrote, “Don’t be anxious about anything,” large or small. Paul, however, was not like a lot of people who simply say, “Don’t worry.” He gave us a positive alternative to worry. He said, “But in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” You are invited to bring all your trouble to God in prayer. If a worry is too small to be turned into a prayer, it is too small to be made into a burden.
Paul added that when you come to pray about your trouble, be sure also to offer thanksgiving. We sometimes think that everything is only gloom and doom in our lives. Not so, says Paul. Don’t fix your eyes just on your problems. Put them also on your blessings. Let thanksgiving be part of every prayer.
When we do that, Paul said that we will discover something wonderful. We will discover “the peace of God, which passes all understanding.”
A man was arrested for “disturbing the peace.” A friend said, “I was surprised that in these days he could find any peace to disturb.” One place where we should be able find peace in our day is in the hearts and minds of believers. This peace is found even in places filled with difficulties. It doesn’t seem logical that you would find peace there, but it is not the kind of peace that the world gives. It is a supernatural peace. In Paul’s words, it is “the peace of God, which passes all understanding.”
Paul added that this peace “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That is a military expression. Christ will post His peace at the doors of your heart and mind. Whenever worry and fear approach you, Christ’s peace shouts, “Halt! You cannot enter here! His peace “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Pastor Paul Powell visited a woman in his church who was dealing with an incurable illness and for whom death was not far away. They visited a while about things in general, and then Powell asked her, “How are you feeling?” She responded, “I have my aches and pain, but I am not worried or afraid. I am at peace. My friends say they don’t understand how I can feel like this. I tell them that I don’t understand it either. This must be the peace the Lord promised—’the peace of God, which passes all understanding’.”
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.