Phil 4:4-7 (NKJV): 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
We do have the ability to think a thought but not get anxious about it. He told us we have that. We just are not USING that ability. We have the ability to be anxious about NOTHING AT ALL. Plus anxiety has far reaching effects as we will see soon.
Why? WHY would the Lord give us such a HARD task? Why would He expect us to actually OBEY something that is so TOTALLY contrary to our natures?
Why Peace is Important
Because our life is not about us! It is about winning others to the Lord through showing the grace He has given us. However, we can only show that *IF* we are obedient and refuse all anxious thoughts.
Our life is about showing others how mighty the Lord is. He can even give our hearts and minds peace when things seem REALLY bad. The other people will see that we are at peace and want that too. They will want the Lord because we are at peace. They will want the Lord because of our peace and obedience! We are a walking testimony IF we obey. PLUS WE are blessed in our obedience. It is one of the few commandments that have instant gratification!
Let me ask, what are the traits that you CRAVE that you see in a godly man or woman? Mostly peace! Because ALL humans have the sin of anxiety, and therefore can ALL identify with stress and the awful toll it takes on a person. We all know what it means to feel anger, stress, anxiety, disappointment. There is no human who does not know those feelings intimately.
BUT if we do NOT stress, if we are peaceful, then others will see our peace in situations that they know would cause torment in themselves. No one wants to be tormented—people want to be happy! So seeing our peaceful trust in the Lord will give them the opportunity to think "WOW. I would be a WRECK if I was her, I know what it feels like to have a sick child! But she is so calm! She says God gives her peace and I WANT to be peaceful like that!". So they too look toward the Lord. You see, anxiety is NOT a private sin and peace shines to others like the sun shines in the sky. People cannot miss it.
So when it is difficult not to stress, instead of trying to overcome the anxiety because it is "good for you", overcome it because it is a command, because you HAVE the ability AND because it will lead others to the Lord. Surely leading others to the Lord, to eternal salvation, is more important than any stress we have here!
2 Cor 5 (NAS) 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
How Do We Still Our Minds?
2 Cor 5: 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We are ambassadors of Christ. We have been given privileges and bounties and blessings from Him. Our lives are to be lived as ambassadors, drawing other people to His Kingdom by showing the love, forgiveness, blessing, joy, and peace that He offers.
HOW do we do this? By obeying Phil 4:4--"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Paul is saying "No, really I mean it REJOICE. Not just sometimes, not just when you feel good, not just when things go right but ALLLLLLLLLL the time. Right now. Two seconds from now. When your kid throws up in the car. When your spouse hurt syour feelings. When you feel ugly. When your boss promotes someone else over you, and then expects you to train that person. When you are reviled or adored. When everything IS going your way. Rejoice ALWAYS.".
What does rejoicing always do? It let's our "gentleness be evident to ALL". How and why? Because "the Lord is near" and people can see that. They can see that because you are not acting in human nature, that nature that they already know and have. You are acting contrary to human nature. You are acting in love and grace and peace, which is what most people on earth do not have!
Know Your Enemy
Let’s go one step farther. If we know that God is the author of everything good, then who is the author of everything evil?
Well, who is the one who wants to see us succeed? God! Therefore, who is the one who wants to see us in pain? You guessed it. The devil wants us in torment. The devil wants us to doubt because then we are ineffective. You cannot be all that God wants you to be if you don’t trust Him. You cannot lead people to the Lord if you are too afraid to leave your house! How can you show hospitality to those who need it if you are too afraid to have people over? How can you show people peace and joy when you look ridiculous by constantly touching light poles? How can you serve others when other people have to make allowances for your “issues”? You can’t and the devil knows it. And he has found that you are weak in your mind and emotions and therefore he concentrates his attacks there to keep you in bondage and so others cannot be led out of bondage by you. Paul said in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”.
Then in 6:16 Paul says to “take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”. Well, where do you think those arrows are pointed?! Everywhere, but if you have anxiety disorders, then a great many of those arrows are pointed into your mind! So what do we do? We take up the shield of faith. Let’s face it, we who have fear that haunts us like we do are pretty short on faith. You cannot have doubt and faith at the same time—they are polar opposites. So if we doubt, we aren’t having faith and if we have faith, we will not doubt. It does not matter what your doubt or fear is. It does not matter if you are afraid of death, contamination, losing something, hurting someone, anything. Fear is fear and you have to stop it. And you can! WITH the power of God.
Shield of Faith
So, how do we take up this shield of faith? Well, first you start with what you are putting faith in. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders have a list of “protections” and superstitions to try to keep “bad things” from happening. Right now you might have your own little “treasures” or behaviors that “protect” you. You might have to count, you might have to check, you might have to wash. I have already mentioned some of mine: hand washing (with Lysol, bleach, and scalding water), picking over food, glasses, utensils carefully, avoiding places that I felt were unsafe.
I also had silver bullets “just in case” something happened. At first, I had faith in these and BRIEFLY they made my symptoms manageable because having those eased my anxiety. I had peppermints, then antacids, then phenergan.
But then they also stopped working. Why? Why did these behaviors and talismans that worked so well for a while, all of a sudden just stop being effective in easing my fear? Because I had faith in things of this earth, not in God.
God is faithful, God is active, protecting and loving. He cherishes you and loves you and wants to see you succeed. He wants you to have life and have it to the full. Let’s check the verse a minute…
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (nkjv cw)
We can see from what the Lord says in James that the Lord will give wisdom LIBERALLY and to ALL, and without checking to see if you deserve it. This is the first verse that started me on my road to healing. I remember the day very clearly. I had been praying for years for healing, though unfruitfully. I read this passage in the Bible and thought “I have nothing to lose, I know God is not a liar, so I am going to trust this verse.”. I prayed to God “God, You put this verse in here, and I KNOW You do not lie. I ask for wisdom.”.
GOD DOES NOT LIE. PERIOD.
Now, let me pause a moment to say something VERY important: you will never go wrong believing the truth of the Word. The Lord DOES NOT LIE. He does not tease, He does not exaggerate. He is utterly truthful and utterly infallible and utterly faithful. If He promises, then you can be CERTAIN that you will get what He promises. If in doubt, err on the side of the Lord, not on the side of your own understanding.
Speaking of doubt, how does one with the “doubting disease” manage NOT to doubt the Lord’s promise? The verse says that if you do doubt then you will NOT get the promise because you are unstable. But what if you are praying for the very stability that you need? The answer is actually pretty simple: understand that this is the Lord. He promised and does not lie. If you doubt Him, then you are calling Him a liar. It is THAT simple.
So if doubts even try to sneak in, be stern with yourself and say “I am NOT going to call God a liar. Period.”. The devil WILL try to make you doubt, because this verse is powerful in your healing. This verse IS your healing. The Lord will give you wisdom to identify the weeds in your thinking, the errors of your ways. He will give you the wisdom to understand your behavior and to articulate the root of the problem. He will give you the ability to use every tool that He has for you to get rid of these disorders in the faith in this promise.
For me, the first test of my faith in this verse came almost immediately, even as I stood up from praying. I did not FEEL any wiser. Let me tell you that you will not feel any wiser at all! Why? Because this prayer is not for human wisdom—you will not automatically know everything from quantum theory to if the refrigerator light stays on when the door shuts. No, this is the wisdom of the Lord. It is HIS wisdom, which will flow to you freely, but you do not become God. Much like the water coming out of the tap, it is there when you need it, and waiting when you do not.
You will see, slowly, as you do not doubt in this verse, that things start changing. You will not be instantly cured of these disorders, but you will know how to use the tools that you are given. You might notice that you have a ready word for someone who needs it. You might notice that you have discernment. You might notice that the Bible becomes easier to understand. Like the slow light of dawn, you will notice a gradual brightening in your life.
Remember, however, that this is available if you do not doubt. Do not call the Lord a liar. Do not allow the enemy to accuse you into doubting. As I said before, one area that you might be attacked is not feeling any wiser. Another is the “I don’t deserve it” attack. You are right, you do not. None of us do. We are all weak, sinful, and filthy. However, understand that the Lord was clear in His Word: He gives to EVERYONE LIBERALLY and WITHOUT REPROACH.
Yes, You Don’t Deserve It, Neither Do I. But Jesus Does
Remember that the Lord sees you through the blood of Christ. You are not worthy in yourself, but you are worthy BECAUSE OF JESUS. The Lord sees His children through the sacrifice of Jesus. That is enough for you. You do not need more. You cannot earn your salvation or your blessings. Jesus earned them for you. Therefore you have every right to claim this blessing for yourself AND the Lord WANTS you to. He wants you to say “Me! I want it! I claim this promise!”. Why? Well remember, that the Lord is glorified when you are well and at peace and in joy and living for Him. As it is, you cannot glorify the Lord if you are afraid that the lights are not turned off. You cannot have joy if you are too terrified to step out of your house. He is not being praised if your thoughts are full of scary, evil things. His work is not being done if you are only working to keep anxiety at bay. You cannot show His love and mercy to others if you are fretful and frightened. Ask yourself this: if you were not saved, and if what you saw of a Christian was a weak, frightened, irrational, joyless, anxiety-ridden person, would YOU choose to come to the Lord? The witness that we show is all people have if they do not have the Lord. They do not know Him, but they DO know YOU.
So the Lord wants you healed. He wants you to praise Him, to draw on His strength. He is a good and loving Father who wants to see you well. He is the almighty God who has spiritual work for you to do. He is not at all glorified by the false modesty of “the Lord can’t/won’t heal me”. That is not modesty or humility, that is the work of the devil. Refuse it and accept the promises that He has provided. Come boldly before the throne BECAUSE you know that it is the Lord Jesus’ righteousness that enables you to approach, not your own.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (nkjv cw)
Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (nkjv cw)
2Cor 3:4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,