Philippians 4:4-9 is one of my favorite portions of Scripture and I often turn to it when worries try to dominate my thought life. When reading the Bible, I love to read various translations simultaneously, in order to give myself the best chance of getting the full meaning of the original script. It would be better if I could understand Hebrew or Greek, but that’s a whole other level.
Enjoy with me the various translations of Philippians 4:4-9 and let the truth sink in that in order to access the peace of God in all circumstances, there are steps to follow:
1. Always Praise God.
The power of praise is amazing. It can shift your focus right off your problems to the One who can either solve them, or give you the strength you need to walk through them. Praise God for who He is; the all-sufficient One. Thank Him for what He’s done. Remembering past interventions is a great way to build faith for the challenges ahead. Thank Him for all He’s promised, knowing that the One who has promised is faithful to fulfill His word.
2. Instead of Worrying About Anything, Pray About Everything.
I know, it’s easier said than done, but it’s true. In the darkest periods of my life I’ve found the deepest solace in just hiding myself away and speaking to God in prayer – simply, candidly, talking to Him about my feelings, hopes, fears, worries and desires and letting him replace them with His inexplicable peace. Some of us are prone to worry because we think we can control the world and its outcomes if we just work a little harder at it. We can’t control everything though, and we need to cede control to the one who can. We need to stop worrying and start praying – about everything. We need to pray in faith, because a double-minded person will receive nothing from God. If we lack faith, we can pray about that too!
3. Meditate on Positive Things.
This isn’t just a self-help mantra or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, useful as both of those can be. This is scriptural. In fact I would argue that a lot of self help and CBT principles can be gleaned directly from Scripture. Paul exhorts the Philippians to meditate on excellent and praise-worthy things – things pure, lovely and admirable. Focusing on the negatives can really pull us down, but making a decision to think on the bright side of things – to focus on the good – can give us a real boost. It’s Biblical to be a “glass half full” person!
Living in this way, we will increasingly recognise how God’s peace which we can’t explain will sink into our hearts and begin to govern our thoughts and actions.
Simple, but hard. I know. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Here are excerpts from my favorite translations of these verses:
“Do not be anxious about anything…” -v.6 (NIV)
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (v. 6-7 MSG)
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything” (v.6, CEVUS06)
“Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.” (v. 8 CEVUS06)
“Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (v6, NLT)