butterfly wings butterfly wings

(based on ideas from Be Joyful, by Warren W. Wiersbe)

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. I rejoice in the Lord greatly. My Joy, my Crown. Rejoice in the Lord. Complete my Joy. I rejoice. Yes, and I say Rejoice." Do you recognize these words from Philippians?

Paul is so full of Joy. Joy and rejoicing are mentioned 14 times in this little letter that takes up only 5 pages in my Bible. Listen to what he tells the Philippians, beginning in verse 4 of Chapter 4. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say Rejoice." He goes on to say, "Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in ev-" Wait. What was that Paul said?? "Have no anxiety about anything"?

How could Paul say that? Well, obviously, Paul must have lived in a much simpler time...

He obviously never had to set up at night with a sick child.
Or waited up too late for an overdue child to come home.
Or have his job threatened by forces totally out of his control.
Or wonder if the magic had gone out of his marriage.
Or he must have been one of those antisocial kind of people who didn't care at all what other people thought of him.
Or had adult acne.
Or ... ; the list could be endless if we all took the time to fill in some common worries.
We won't even mention weight problems or money.

Yet, Paul tells us to Rejoice and have no anxiety about anything. I'm using the words anxiety and worry as synonyms.

Actually, if anyone did have a reason to worry, it was Paul. He was in PRISON. Not even for the first time. This once proud Jew now had a criminal record. Not only that, but these young churches that Paul had started were threatened by division. Divisions that could mean countless more lost souls. Even this congregation in Philippi that was Paul's "Joy and Crown" was threatened by problems. The potential for worry was great. Yet Paul seems to have anxiety conquered.

OK, Paul, you've told us to Rejoice and you've told us to Rejoice. But how can we rejoice when we're bogged down with worries???

Let's stop a minute and talk about what worry will do for you. Worry can be the cause of ulcers, headaches, neck aches, backaches, some forms of arthritis, even tooth decay! Worry can affect our thinking, digestion and coordination. Have you ever tried to play a piano or sew a dress or even cook when your mind is preoccupied by some worry? Dr. Montague, author of Nervous Stomach Troubles says, "You don't get ulcers from what you eat. You get ulcers from what is eating you."

Spiritually, worry is Wrong Thinking of the Mind and Wrong Feeling of the Heart. The heart and the mind are the two areas that create worry. It's wrong thinking and wrong feeling about circumstances, people and things... the things we've been studying about in Phillipians that can rob us of our Joy.

Let's talk about what worry won't do for you

    Worry never climbed a hill.
    Worry never paid a bill.
    Worry never dried a tear.
    Worry never calmed a fear.
    Worry never darned a heel.
    Worry never cooked a meal.
    Worry never led a horse to water.
    Worry never done a thing you'd think it oughta.
We can deduce from that that worry is not beneficial and in fact can be harmful. It can actually poison our body. So, do you want to know what the antidote for worry is? Or maybe you've never experienced this human thing called worry, and you are worried about catching it. In that case, I'll tell you the preventive medicine for worry. Here it is - The Secure Mind! We've studied the Single Mind, the Submissive Mind, and the Spiritual Mind. Philippians chapter 4 tells us about the Joy of the Secure Mind. With the Secure Mind, the PEACE of God GUARDS us (verse 7) and the God of PEACE GUIDES us (verse 9).

How do we get this peace of mind and conquer worry? Don't worry about that because Paul tells us 3 things to do to conquer worry so we can start Rejoicing.

  1. RIGHT PRAYING (verse 6). Right praying should include ADORATION, SUPPLICATION, and APPRECIATION.

    1. If we have the SINGLE mind of Chapter 1, then we can give ADORATION. Can a double-minded person praise God? Not very well.

    2. If we have the SUBMISSIVE mind of Chapter 2, then we can come before God with SUPPLICATION. Would a proud person ask God for something? No.

    3. If we have the SPIRITUAL mind of Chapter 3, we can tell and show God our APPRECIATION. A worldly person wouldn't remember that God had given them anything to appreciate. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 must be in practice to enjoy the SECURE mind of Chapter 4.

    The result of prayer will be the PEACE OF GOD that guards the heart from wrong FEELING and the mind from wrong THINKING. This doesn't mean the absence of trials on the outside, but a quiet confidence within - in spite of circumstances, people or things.

    Go back and read the story of Daniel in Daniel chapter 6 and see how prayer helped him to have such a Secure mind that he could have a peaceful night in a den of lions while the king had a fitful night in the "safe" palace. So, first for a Secure mind we must have right praying.

  2. Verse 8 tells us we must have RIGHT THINKING. We can't see, weigh, or measure thoughts, yet they are very real and very powerful. II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) says to "bring every THOUGHT into captivity to the obedience of Christ." What should we think about? Paul spells it out for us...

    1. He says think about "Whatever is TRUE." A study shows only 8% of things people worry about ever really happen. That means 92% is either imaginary, never happens, or is so out of our control we are wasting our time worrying about it. You know, it is the devil who tries to control our mind through lies.

      Notice Paul doesn't tell us to think about what might, possibly, could happen. We tend to create a lot of our worries right here, don't we, with our imagination.

    2. Paul tells us to think on whatever is HONEST and JUST. Christians should not be thinking of things that are not respectable or honorable. We can't always avoid these displeasing things, but we don't have to focus our minds on them.

    3. Then Paul tells us to think about whatever is PURE, LOVELY and of GOOD REPORT. As in Paul's time, from the beginning till now, people have been tempted in sexual, base thoughts--impurity. In other words, their minds are in the gutter. But believers must major on the high and noble thoughts. Right thinking is the result of DAILY MEDITATION on the Word of God.

  3. The last condition Paul tells us we must meet for a Secure mind is RIGHT LIVING in verse 9. Outward action and inward attitude cannot be separated. Sin results in UNREST; Purity results in PEACE. Isaiah 32:17 says "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and peace." Right living is necessary for experiencing the PEACE of GOD. When we disobey, we lose that peace.

I love Philippians 4. It has to be my favorite chapter in all the Bible. It is so upbeat and positive. Paul is rejoicing all over the place. Even when Paul addresses a problem in verses 2 and 3 between two ladies, Euodia and Syntyche, he does it so lovingly. Don't you wish everyone would learn to correct our mistakes this lovingly? Paul "entreats" these ladies to agree in the Lord and he asks the church to help them. I suspect these women were missing out on right prayer, right thinking and/or right living. They were robbing themselves of a Secure mind. And they weren't ready to Rejoice.

Philippians 4 is often called the PEACE chapter. James 4 is called the WAR chapter. If you look in James 4 you'll see the contrast. He explains the causes of war are: 1) Wrong PRAYING (verse 3), 2)Wrong THINKING (verse 8), and 3) Wrong LIVING (verse 7). That's not too surprising is it? If right praying, right thinking and right living are going to bring about peace and security of mind, then it's not surprising that the opposite would bring about war and unrest and fightings among us.

In conclusion - Right praying, right thinking, and right living are the conditions we need for having the Secure mind and victory over worry. Then finally, we can Rejoice. I see no middle ground. Either we give our heart and mind to God and practice right praying, thinking and living or we yield to the flesh and find ourselves torn apart by worry and robbed of our Joy.

Read Matthew 6:24-34 about trust and anxiety. It tells us God knows we need food, drink and clothing, but we don't have to worry about that. In verse 33 Jesus tells us to "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be taken care of." Matthew 14:27 says "Peace I leave with you. MY peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives do I give. Let not your heart be troubled..." Isaiah 41:10 says "fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God..."

This week when you find yourself worrying or even tempted to worry, ask yourself if you are following Paul's "perscription" for a worry free life. That perscription is ... Right Praying, Right Thinking, and Right Living. Next week in class you might want to discuss whether or not this perscription worked for you.

With the Peace of God to guard us and the God of Peace to guide us...Why WORRY?

Let's REJOICE! And again I say REJOICE!!!

Link to Philippians 4:1-9 (Spring 1996)

Jeannie Cole

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, Spring 1988

next lecture (Philippians 4:10-23)
previous lecture (Hebrews 5)

butterfly wings butterfly wings
Jeannie Cole

 Link to Jeannie's other Ladies' Bible Class lectures

 Link to Jeannie Cole Home Page

West-Ark Church of Christ