Philippians 4:6, 7
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.…
The apostle forbids harassing anxiety and enjoins prayerfulness as the sure way to peace. "Be anxious for nothing." Mark -
I. THE WISE COUNSEL OF THE APOSTLE.
1. This does not mean that we are not to be anxious about duty. We ought to have a deep concern for every interest of God's kingdom. A certain measure of anxious thought is necessary to the efficient performance of every duty of life.
2. It means that we are not to be anxious about the results of our work or consequences generally.
(1) Because God holds these in his own hands;
(2) because our anxiety will not ward off the anticipated evil;
(3) because the evil may turn out for good.
3. Over-anxiety is sinful.
(1) It is the disregard of a Divine command.
(2) it distrusts God's power and wisdom;
(3) it doubts the reality of the promises
(4) it deters from duty;
(5) it spoils the temper and comfort of
II. THE REMEDY FOR OVER-ANXIETY. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
1. The range of prayer. "In everything." This counsel is often neglected, for men carry their great misfortunes or their great anxieties to God, but keep their trivial vexations to themselves. A good man has paraphrased this passage thus: "Be careful for nothing; be prayerful for everything; be thankful for anything."
2. The variety of prayer. The word "prayer" here points to the frame of mind, the word "supplication" to the actual asking of blessing, the requests point to the various parts of the supplication, while the thanksgiving marks the subjective condition of acceptance.
3. The effects of prayer.
(1) It tends to place everything in God's hand, with a feeling that he will do all things well. The burden is cast upon the Lord.
(2) It leads the praying man to look for answers to prayer in the events of Divine providence.
(3) It increases devout inquisitiveness to know the Divine will as recorded in the Word.
III. THE RESULT. "And the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This beautiful text is often the subject of independent treatment, but we have no right to separate what God has joined together; and accordingly it is only when we are careful for nothing and prayerful in everything that we may exact to enter into Divine peace.
1. The nature of the peace of God. It is deep inward repose of spiritual life, and is called "the peace of God" because he communicates and sustains it, as the result of our reconciliation with him.
(1) It springs out of our justification. (Romans 5:1.)
(2) It arises in the soul as part of our spiritual-mindedness. "For to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6)
(3) It is the abiding experience of the saints so long as they are practically consistent in their walk. "Great peace have they that love thy Law" (Psalm 119:165). "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
(4) It is almost inexplicable. "It passeth all understanding."
(a) It passeth the understanding of wicked or worldly men; for their experience lies in a very different sphere.
(b) It surpasses the understanding of godly men; for light often breaks in upon their darkness, in a way quite mysterious. Who can understand the peace of the dying? Does it not pass all understanding?
2. The effects of this peace. "It shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This does not signify that the peace shall keep possession, but rather, as the word signifies, garrison or stand sentry before the heart or mind, so as to prevent the intrusion of disturbing or disquieting thoughts. It is Christ himself who plants the garrison there.
(1) In case of intellectual doubts, the peace will either prevent their arising at all or repel them when they arise.
(2) In the case of the bitter remembrance of my past sins, this peace carries me back to the reconciliation effected by Christ on the cross.
(3) In, case of anxieties, fears, and earthly solicitudes, the peace of God carries a believer back to the point of his deliverances; and he says, "Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice."
(4) It is a strong guard against sin. The religiously peaceful are the morally strong. Duty is pleasant, obedience is sweet, because the spiritual mind is in harmony with God's mind. Sin is rejected because it threatens to undermine the peace.
3. The abiding source of this peace. "In Christ Jesus."
(1) He is our Peace. (Ephesians 2:14.) Not in the mere sense of being our Peace-maker, as if he had retired after he had made it, but he is the continuous Source of our peace.
(2) He gives peace as his legacy to the Church. (John 14:27.) He imparts that central calm that is at the heart of the endless agitations that shake our merely earthly life. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.