PART TWO…BUT GOD: April 26 Anxious for Nothing: TEXT Phil 4: 4-8
In Our Text the Apostle Gives Us the Solution to Overcoming Anxiety: Philippians 4:4-8
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
Phil 4:6 is written in the Present Tense…And that means that “The Presence of Anxiety is Unavoidable… But Paul Makes it Clear that The Prison of Anxiety is…Optional”
It is Not Gods Will that you lead a life of Perpetual Anxiety. Or that You face every day with Fear, Dred and Trepidation. He made you for More than a Life of Breath-stealing angst and mind-splitting worry…God has Provided Us a Road Map…Steps that We Can Take to Experience a Life of Peace, Even in the Midst of Difficult and Unexpected Circumstances.
My Favorite Hero in the Bible is Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob. The book of Genesis Chapters 37-50 Focus on Joseph, his brothers and Egypt. They also focus on an Amazing Story of TRUST. The Life of Joseph is a tremendous Model for you and Me When we are in the Midst of Trials and Adversities.
In Joseph we See that Trust and Surrender to Gods Will Allowed Him Peace in the Midst of Very Unfair Situations and Tremendous Adversity. First, Josephs jealous brothers sought to kill him, but instead sold him to a caravan, after which, he then was sold to a Potiphar, one of the Pharaoh’s officials in Egypt. I want You to Note…The Brothers Planned to KILL Him…God Had Other Plans…
So in Egypt, After doing a tremendous Job in Potiphar’s household Joseph rose to a valued position of Trust…However, Potiphar’s wife had her eye on Joseph and when he would not Sin with her…Scorned and Mad…She lied about Joseph to Potiphar her husband and had him thrown in Prison. Again, I want You to Note…that She Meant Evil to Joseph… But God Had Other Plans!
QUESTIONS: If You Were Joseph, What Would You Be Thinking by this Time? You’re A Child of God…You’re Sold into Slavery by your brothers…Then while in Slavery you continue to do what God would want you to do only to have the Masters wife tell lies against you and then be Thrown into Prison. At this Point…What Would You Be Thinking? Would You Be Saying…I Trust that God Has a Plan…And Say It’s OK God What Now? Or…Would Anxiety, Fear and Anger Control Your Thoughts and Feelings?
Finding himself now in Prison, Joseph honored God and continued to be a model prisoner, so much that the Warden Trusted him with Everything. Even when Joseph found himself in Prison…When All His Rights Were Taken Away…Joseph accepted what God was doing! We see this because of what God recorded in Genesis 39:21 we read, “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”
HERE WE HAVE A KEY TRUTH: God Honors Those Who Honor Him even when they’re in a Difficult and Unfair Situation. Joseph Honored God. Joseph surrendered his will to Gods even when it was Not Fair and Difficult…and God Honored Joseph.
So…You May Ask…If God is Totally in Charge Why was Joseph in Prison? Why does God Allow Extreme and Unfair Challenges to Come Our Way? Wouldn’t An Almighty God Prevent That from Happening?
Today I want to spend the rest of our time focusing on Genesis Chapter 50 Verse 20 Because what we read Here gives us the Key Principle to Having God’s Peace in the Midst of Every Storm…
Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to Harm Me But God Intended it for Good to Accomplish what is now being done, the Saving of Many Lives.
There are two words at the heart of this passage and these two words reveal the heart of Providential and Sovereign Hope… The two Words are…BUT GOD… “You Intended to Harm Me. BUT GOD.” You See, What was intended as Harm became Good Because, Joseph Kept God in the Middle of His Circumstance!
KEY Lesson For You and Me: Joseph Viewed the Sufferings of his Life Through the Lens of Divine Providence. BUT GOD…IS THE REAL GAME CHANGER!
I Urge You to Do the Same as Joseph…To View Your Sufferings through the Lens of Divine Providence! Because if You Don’t, Anxiety Will Stalk You Every Day of Your Life!
I see People doing things to try and Reduce Stress…Yoga, Deep Breathing exercises…etc. However, those are Only Temporary and External…They do Not Change the Real Issue. Gods Sovereignty bids us to fight the Continual Onslaught of Fret with the Sword that is Etched with His Words…BUT GOD!
Your Company may be Downsizing…BUT GOD is Still Sovereign. The Cancer is Back…BUT GOD still Occupies the Throne. You Say, I was a Jerk for the first few years of My Marriage…BUT GOD Showed Me how to Lead My Family. I was an Anxious, Troubled Soul…BUT GOD has been Giving Me Courage.
His brothers had every intention to harm Joseph…BUT GOD in His Providence, and Sovereignty used their Intended Evil for Good! Potiphar’s Wife had an Evil Plan of Revenge…But God used it for Good!
Consider…God never robbed the brothers of their free will…God never imposed His nature upon them Yet, God neither allowed their sin and their sin nature to rule the day, God remained in control at All Times!
As we seek to trust God…As we entrust each and every day to Him…He reroutes evil into good. God uses all things to accomplish His purpose. Nothing can deter God from His intended purpose which is to carry you, me and all of creation to its intended Glory.
The ultimate proof of Gods providence is the death of Christ on the Cross! No deed was more evil. No other day was so dark. But God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday!
Peter telling the Wrongdoers what they Tried to do in Acts 2: 23,24 “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. BUT GOD raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” BUT GOD…Was the game changer then and BUT GOD is still the game changer for you and me Today!
And God Will do the same for You! No matter what Satan and this world throws at You, when you put God in the Middle of any Circumstance coming to Hurt You, He Will Reverse It and You’ll Know Gods Victory!
Our Application from Josephs Life is Simply this…YOU HAVE A CHOICE! You Can Wear Your HURT…Or…You Can Wear Your HOPE! You can Outfit Yourself in your misfortune or you can Clothe Yourself in Gods Providence and Sovereignty! YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE…You can Cave into the Pandemonium of Life or You Can Lean into Gods Perfect Plan for You.
To Have Gods Peace You Have to Believe Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Whatever trial comes into your life, you need to view each one of those trials and sufferings, through the lens of God’s divine Providence. It is About Trusting God in All Things…Knowing that this or that May Happen…BUT GOD will Use it for Good! You Surrender to Gods Plan Knowing that He Loves YOU!
The Apostle Paul said the Good Life begins, not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward undesired circumstances change! The attitude God wants for us is one of Thanksgiving!
Phil 4: 6-7: says, Be anxious for nothing! But instead in everything by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace of God, which passes All understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Here we find two essential words: “With Thanksgiving”. In the midst of all our requests…Please give me…Wont you show me…are two Essential Words…THANK YOU!
Gratitude…A Thankful Heart…Leads Us Off the River Bank of “IF ONLY” and Escorts Us into the Fertile Valley of ALREADY.
The Anxious Heart says, Lord, IF ONLY I had this or that I’d be Okay…The Grateful Heart says, “OH LOOK! You’ve Already Given Me This or That…THANK YOU GOD!
The Key to a Heart of Gratitude is to Count Your Blessings! As You Count Your Blessings with Gratitude Here is What Happens. Anxiety Grabs its Bags and Slips out the Back Door…Worry Refuses to Share the Heart with Gratitude!
Phil 4: 11-13 Gives us the “SECRET” or Principle of Being Content in All Circumstances…He says, If Your Happiness depends on what you Drive, Wear or Deposit…You are in the Rat Race of Materialism.
CONTINGENT CONTENTMENT TURNS US INTO ANXIOUS-FILLED PEOPLE…NEVER CONTENT WITH JUST GOD…IT IS ALWAYS JESUS…PLUS!
The Apostle Paul in Prison, sitting in 4 walls shackled instead on the mission field. A guard instead of a wife and family…How Could He Be Content? SOLUTION…He Focused on a Different List. Paul had Eternal Life. He had the love of God. He had forgiveness of his sins. He had the surety of his salvation.
MY POINT…HE HAD CHRIST AND CHRIST WAS ENOUGH!
What Paul had in Christ was far Greater than what he did Not have in Life. It is the same for you. This Life will pass so quickly…It Is Temporal. BUT, Eternity is Forever. In the Epistle of Philippians there are 104 verses and Christ is mentioned 40 Times…Paul Gives Us the Correct View of Life in Philippians 1:21 “For to Me to Live is Christ, to Die is Gain”
For the Christian, Death, Failure, Betrayal, Sickness, Disappointment, etc. Cannot take Our Joy…Because Those Things Cannot Take Our Jesus and The Eternal Joy that We Will Experience With Him Forever!
What You Have in Christ is Greater than Anything You Do Not Have in this Life! In Christ…We have a Happiness that can Never be Taken…A Grace that Will Never Expire…And a Wisdom that Will Ever…Ever Increase! Christ is a Fountain of Living Hope, that will Never be Exhausted!
The Key to Peace and eliminating Anxiety is this…Anchor Your Heart to the Character of God. Trust that God Loves You…That He Will Do Exactly What He Promised…Gods Character Does Not Change…James tells us that Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes Down from the Father in Heaven with whom there is No Variableness…Not Even a Shadow of Change!
Moods will come and go, situations will fluctuate. Unless You Keep Your Eyes Fixed on Gods Promises, your life will be like a roller coaster. However, each day, trusting Christ, you will find contentment, and you will find peace that endures every storm of life!
Consider these Questions: When Trials Come Into Your Life…Like Mr. Spafford will you be willing to view each trials and suffering through the “Lens of God’s Divine Providence”? Will you kick Anxiety to the curb and trust God in all things? Will you commit to God that when Storms Blow Hard Against You…That You Will Be Confident that God Has It Under Control?
And when this or that unexpected thing happens will you say with affirmation…BUT GOD Will Provide!
POINT: I HAVE CHRIST AND CHRIST IS ENOUGH!