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 minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
In Philippians 4, Paul was exhorting his friends and fellow servants of the Lord with a few different commands regarding their attitude toward men:
- Agree with each other and do not argue (vs. 2)
- Rejoice in the Lord (vs. 4)
- Be gentle and let it be known to all (vs. 5)
- Do not be anxious (vs. 6)
- Pray about everything with thanksgiving (vs. 6)
- Think about things that are pleasing to God (vs. 8)
- Practice what you have learned (vs. 9)
And by doing these things and living this way, God’s peace would be with them (vs. 7 & 9).
Let’s focus in on Paul’s exhortation in vs. 6-7, “do not be anxious.”
Well, it’s impossible never to be anxious, right? We all get anxious and worried from time to time. But here, Paul doesn’t just leave them with this command. He offers a solution. He says “but.” Whenever the “but” word is shown in Scripture, we know there is going to be a contrasting statement or a solution to the problem. So, he says do not be anxious, but (or instead) PRAY! When you are anxious, go to God in prayer, and let your requests be made to him. And (or, then) his peace that is beyond our understanding will come upon us. Hear this, even though we cannot comprehend this peace, we can still experience it!
Simply put, peace comes to us when we pray to God. And it’s not just a quick and temporary peace, but a peace that will guide our lives! It’s called “the peace of God” because we can always have God’s peace whether or not we are at peace with the people around us.
It’s no coincidence that a few verses later (vs. 11-12), Paul writes, “I have learned the secret of being content.” I’m not 100% certain, but I wonder if the secret he refers to is giving his worries to God in prayer. Maybe Paul has learned how to be content because he has disciplined himself in prayer… Prayerfully depending on God in all situations… Prayerfully releasing his worries and concerns to God. Then (and only then), he is able to be content and “do all things through Christ who gives him strength” (vs. 13).