“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, ESV
There are many promises from the Word of God that I hold dear to my heart, and one such promise is Philippians 4:6-7. It provides instructions, of a sort, on how to let go of anxiety and receive the peace of the Lord.
The scripture tells us that we should take everything — no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to us — to the Lord in prayer “with thanksgiving”. Sometimes we may be so focused on sharing our needs that we forget the giving thanks part of the equation.
Even when our situation may seem completely terrible, be sure to give thanks to the Lord. Blessings come in many different forms. Some are quite obvious and others we may have to look a little harder for. We can give thanks for waking up this morning, for sleep during the night, for sunlight to brighten the day, for rain to water the plants, for gas in our vehicle, for enough money for bills, for the promise of a future with no pain or sorrow…
Most of all, we should always give thanks for the gift of Jesus Christ and His redemption. When we bring our needs and burdens to the Lord with thanksgiving in our hearts, He promises to give us His peace. This is not a worldly peace that comes and goes depending on our situation and emotional stability, but a peace that is beyond any earthly comprehension.
Peace in the midst of trials and storms. Peace when everything around us tells us we should be frazzled or depressed or fearful or worried. Peace that comes from knowing, no matter what, the Lord is ultimately in control.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25, ESV
Giving our burdens over to our Lord Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of rest is not always easy to put into practice. Perhaps you are experiencing a continual challenge or ongoing situation, and you may find the emotions, fears or worries associated with it coming back even after you thought you let go of it.
Letting go of our burdens and everything connected with them is often not a one time action. We may have to do it repeatedly. It might be something that we do every day during our private time in commune with the Lord.
Even when we think we have cast something over to the Lord, we may have the tendency to “reel it back” onto ourselves. It is easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking, and negativity begets more negativity. If we are worried about something, the more we dwell on all of the possible negative outcomes, the more we feed that worry and it grows.
There is great wisdom in these words from Proverbs 12:25. Spending time with the Lord, relieving your burdens and worries, is the crucial first step in accepting the peace and rest He offers. However, there is another step: do not focus the negative. Instead, focus on “good words”, positive thoughts, or as the old saying goes, count your blessings. After unloading your cares to Him in prayer, remind yourself the uplifting and encouraging promises in His Word.
We all could use more words of encouragement. Challenge yourself today to share something uplifting and positive when you feel tempted to say something negative.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, ESV
We all could use more encouragement. As we go through life, sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Other times we have to face the natural yet perhaps unpleasant consequences of our actions and choices.
When the challenges of life are threatening to overwhelm you, do not struggle on alone. Turn to the Lord Christ Jesus for comfort and guidance. He is a loving and caring Friend who wants you to share the burdens of your heart with Him in prayer.
No matter what you are going through or how you got there, the Lord cares deeply about you. He offers you rest and peace even in the face of adversity and trials.
All He asks in return is that you let Him in to your heart so He can heal you. Depending on your wounds, it may take time to fully heal and, depending on your situation and struggles, you may stumble some along the way but never give up on trusting the Lord.
Friend, embrace the rest He has promised to give, for He loves you dearly.
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