Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything Philippians 4:4-6a
Paul makes two outrageous statements. He tells the Philippians to rejoice always and not to worry. This type of advice seems like it would come from someone totally out of touch with the circumstances in first-century Philippi. The people who followed Jesus in Philippi were facing some serious issues. They were flirting with poverty. They weren’t getting along. The culture didn’t accept them. Paul just doesn’t seem to get it.
But, Paul knows about pressure. He writes while in the midst of a four-year imprisonment, chained to a Roman guard and anticipating a trial at any time. Paul is experiencing real pressure. What he recommends in the face of it is joy.
Paul’s letter shows us three heart decisions to help us find joy even in a difficult season. These heart decisions are a foundation that can push out anxiety and replace it with joy. We should find joy when we 1) focus on God’s goodness, 2) ask God for help and 3) renew our mind.
Some of us need to be reminded of these things this week. We might find ourselves taking a right onto a street called “could be bad news”, another right “onto worst case scenario will probably happen”, and then turn down the cul-de-sac called “anxiety.” When this happens—and it will happen if not this week then another—we need to stop and whisper to ourselves, “I don’t live there anymore”.
We can reroute the channels of the heart by obsessing over the goodness of God. By inviting God into the mix through prayer and narrowing down the influences that shape our brain, we remind ourselves “I don’t live there anymore.”
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
As you welcome God into your week, consider where you experience anxiety in your life. Maybe you worry about the safety of your children, whether you will have enough for retirement or that you won’t be accepted. Write the area or fear down on page 46 of your Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure journal. Ask God to help you push out the anxiety with joy as you work on these three heart decisions throughout this week.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.