Friday, July 23, 2021

2021.07.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:6–7

Read Philippians 4:6–7

Questions from the Scripture text: For what may we be anxious (Philippians 4:6)? In how many things are we to make our requests known? By what two actions? With what attitude? With what from Himself will God respond (Philippians 4:7)? What does it surpass? What two things will it guard? Through whom? 

Believers have peace with God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7), but we often fail to rejoice in Him (cf. Philippians 4:4). The path to obeying the “always” rejoicing of verse 4 is a “never-fretting” and “always-praying” in Philippians 4:6. Thankfully, believers have the divine assurance of Philippians 1:6 and Philippians 2:13 of God’s working in us. The peace of God does not depend upon our performance of Philippians 4:6’s commands. But, the God upon Whom we depend has appointed what verse 6 commands as the means by which His peace will guard our hearts.

What are the means by which His peace takes up a fortified position around our heart and refuses to allow in anxiety so that we can always rejoice?

Prayer. Orienting oneself to God. Coming before His presence and directing our hearts and mouths toward Him. Bowing down in posture and spirit to lay our souls before Him as an act of worship. Something that sinners may only do through the blood of Christ.

Supplication. A specific part of praying that comes from personal neediness and knowing God as gloriously abundant to supply all our needs. Also called petition, this aspect of prayer is a glorifying and enjoying of God’s sufficiency, as the purpose of our neediness. It is an eager looking forward to how He will be praised in meeting those needs. His grace is sufficient for us, and in this part of prayer is our rejoicing in weakness, because His strength is made perfect in it.

Thanksgiving. Equal parts gratitude and submission, this part of submission looks backward at how perfectly God has always answered the prayers of His people generally and our own particular prayers specifically. And thanksgiving looks forward, knowing that where God’s grace has enabled us to ask well, we shall have it; but, wherever we have asked poorly or insufficiently, His mercy will give us according to His wisdom instead. How can anxiety survive, when it is being suffocated by thankfulness for what God is going to do, without even the need of knowing what that will be?

Requests. This is asking for specific action by God to intervene, perhaps for ourselves but especially on behalf of others. We tell Him exactly what it is we hope He will do. What a liberating truth! When made with the gratitude and submission of thanksgiving, we are free to offer our actual desires unto God. 

You don’t have to figure out the right thing to ask for. As His Word shapes and corrects our thoughts, our requests will be more and more in line with what we can know from His Word that He will do. But, wherever we are at in our Christian growth, we don’t have to shrink from expressing our desires to Him. He has specifically commanded us to do so!

When we consider the four words for prayer from Philippians 4:6, we see how well-suited are God’s means to God’s ends when it comes to His making His peace to guard our hearts. Wonderfully, He promises that this peace of God will far outpace the extent to which we can understand how this would work. But, we can see that these particular aspects of prayer are specially designed anxiety-killers.

And, if we find that our use of the means is lacking, we may present ourselves to Him, lifting up our insufficiency to pray well, gratefully submitting to His wisdom in His ongoing work in our lives, and asking specifically that through His granting us to grow in praying the way that is directed here, He would remove our anxiety.

What part of the praying described above seems most alien to you? Whom can you ask for help to conform your praying more to this? In what manner should you be asking for that help? Since Philippians 4:6 is a command from God, what else should you be doing besides praying?

Suggested songs: ARP55C “But as for Me, I’ll Call on God” or TPH520 “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

No comments:

Post a Comment