“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”―Philippians 4:6-7
If anyone had an excuse for anxiety, it was the Apostle Paul. There was disagreement in the church at Philippi that was bringing division within the body and potential division among the believers at Rome (1:14-17). Added to these burdens, he faced the possibility of his own death. Did Paul have an excuse to worry? Yes! But he chose not to. Instead, he takes the time to explain to us the secret of victory over it.
The antidote for worry is the peace of God guarding your mind like a soldier (v.7). If we are to know this peace of God, then we must meet three conditions that God has laid down.
CONDITION #1: RIGHT PRAYING
The word “prayer” is the general word for making requests known to the Lord. It carries with it that idea of adoration, devotion, and worship of the Lord. Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and to worship Him.
The second step is “supplication.” Supplication is the earnest sharing of our needs and problems. It is not a half-hearted request. It is a plea, a cry! It is what characterized our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Heb.5:7)
After adoration (prayer) and supplication comes appreciation or “thanksgiving.” (Cf. Eph.5:20; Col.3:15-17)
The result of right praying is the peace of God. This does not mean the absence of strife or trouble, but it does mean the addition of protection and power to face the trouble!
CONDITION #2: RIGHT THINKING
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”―Philippians 4:8
The short answer of interpreting this verse is that the way to be uplifted is to dwell on uplifting things.
We all know there is real truth to this. Thoughts are real and powerful. And although they cannot be seen, weighed, or measured, they do have a great impact on how we feel and what we do. (Cf. Is.26:3; 2 Cor.10:3-5)
Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God. (Ps.119:165)
CONDITION #3: RIGHT LIVING
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ―Philippians 4:9
When Paul says that right living is a condition for peace, he is saying that is it impossible to separate outward actions and inward attitudes. (Cf. Is.32:17; James 3:17)
This is how we learn to live right: we learn the Word, we receive it, we hear it, and we practice it over and over and over again.
The PROMISE―When we meet the conditions of right praying, right thinking, and right living, then the promise is…”the God of peace will be with you.”