Be Careful for Nothing
Be Careful for Nothing
William Stout / General
Stress; Anxiety; Praise; Thankfulness / Philippians 4:6–7
Philippians 4:6–7 KJV 1900
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
- Written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome (Acts 28)
- Written to the Church at Philippi
- Philippi was a city in Greece near Macedonia
- The Church at Philippi was founded by Paul when he and Silas traveled there in Acts 16
- This is the place where Paul and Silas were imprisoned and beaten
- Where they sang songs of praise at midnight and were freed by God
- Where Paul was willing to stay in order to reach the one jailer
- Where that Jailer and all his family were saved and baptized
- So, they had some history
- Only 4 short chapters packed full of power for Christian living
- Now, he cannot travel there in person, so he writes them from prison
- and to them, in this setting, he writes these things:
Be Care-ful for Nothing
- Not that people should be careless, but rather, at the time of translation, the word could be understood to mean full of cares – worried
- Many translations use the word “anxious”
- This may not convey as accurate a meaning since sometimes when we think of “anxious”, we think of fretting or panic,
- Whereas to simply be Care-ful – full of cares, or worried, might seem like a very reasonable and prudent state of mind depending on one’s circumstances and responsibilities
- Again, he is not suggesting that we should be careless, or slack in fulfilling our purpose and duties,
- But, there is a state of mind and spirit from which we can go about facing this world’s woes
- And Paul gives the folks here in Philippi some practical instruction on how to accomplish this
By Prayer and Supplication
- The first step to living a life without worry, fretting, and undue stress, is Prayer – Make requests!
- Through Prayer, we can, as Peter suggests, cast all our care on Him
- IF we have real and genuine concerns, problems that we would become anxious over, we should make “supplication” to the Lord
- By Faith – which is synonymous with Trust, I can release these cares to Him – to He that is Able
- So Paul is not suggesting that we cast off worry by simply saying Que Sera Sera (whatever will be will be), and ignoring our problems
- Instead, he is suggesting that through genuine, heartfelt, and faithful prayer, we are relieved of the need to worry
1 John 5:14–15 NKJV
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
- It is not possible to emphasize too much the need to be thankful!
- God is not pleased with thanklessness
- Romans 1 lists being unthankful as one of the failures of mankind resulting in separation from God, and the bringing of wrath
- If you are not Thankful for what you have already been given, why should you be given more?
- Yet, there is something in our nature that always screams MORE!
- When rather we should constantly be in remembrance that there are many who have it worse (light affliction)
- If you are able to hear this message then you have something to be Thankful for!
- Being Thankful brings God’s peace – this peace that keeps our hearts and minds
- try being thankful for yourself – as a daily exercise.
Psalm 107:1 NKJV
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
- This is a them that can be found throughout the bible and history of the church
- When Paul wrote these things he was not writing as one from an ivory tower
- Before we lay out our excuses for why this advice doe does not apply to use, we should consider the context of Paul’s letter
- First, he was writing to the Church that he had founded, while himself was in prison
- His imprisonment at the time was also very serious, as his fate was not yet certain
Philippians 1:22–24 NKJV
But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
- Paul also had set this example for them himself when he first met them (acts 16)
- When he had been imprisoned in Philippi, he and Silas displayed thanksgiving and praise
- Although he understood that we live in a world filled with troubles, and troublesome people, he gave us the script for victory
Philippians 2:15 KJV 1900
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
- If we can “be blameless and harmless” – we can live for God even if nobody else does
- He didn’t deny that there were crooked and perverse people,
- But You can shine as lights “among” them
- “without rebuke” – we don’t have to act like the world does – even if they do
- He understood and acknowledged that there were deceitful people, even false preachers
- But he also said that the things that happened to him would work out for the furtherance of the gospel
Philippians 1:12–13 NKJV
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,
so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;
- When people see your faith under pressure, it glorifies God
- This sets the stage for your miracle and their salvation
- Although Paul understood the negative condition of the World, he instructed us to adopt the positive condition of Christianity:
Philippians 4:4–5 KJV 1900
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
- So, before telling us not to worry, he tells us that we should be “rejoicing”
- Do you have anything to rejoice about?
- The question isn’t do you have anything to be sad about, who could argue that Paul didn’t
- But while that is true, what can you rejoice over
- Paul said he was thankful upon every remembrance of them (more on that later)
- What are you “remembering”.
- Are you Counting your blessings or counting your losses?
- Rejoice in The Lord – Be Anxious for nothing – How?
- He goes on to give a little more – Practical advice on that
Philippians 4:8–9 KJV 1900
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
- “Think” on these things
- It matters how you think. Yes, even if you don’t say it or do it, it matters how you think
- Negative thinking will only multiply your pain, your weakness, your failure
- It would be hard to “rejoice in the Lord” while meditating on the things that make me sad
- Of course, God knows that we have problems
- Of course, there are times when we need to acknowledge the issues at hand – avoid extremism
- Even in this letter, Paul pointed out some of the negative facts:
- that we are in a crooked and perverse world
- that there are some who preach Christ for the wrong reasons
- that He himself had suffered loss
- Of course, we may need to acknowledge some concerns that we face-
- But are we rehearsing them over and over, or is there a purpose in bringing them up?
- Paul had a purpose – leading back to Christ
- Yes, he recalled that there were some people preaching for envy and gain, but only for the purpose of reminding us that either way, Christ is preached, and he would rejoice!
- In fact, consider this passage from his opening salutation
Philippians 1:3–6 KJV 1900
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
- Paul said “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”
- What must those memories have been like?
- He said “from the first day until now”
- Does anyone remember what that “first day” was like for Paul?
- Luke recounts it in the book of Acts chapter 16
- There was a slave girl who was possessed by a demon, which Paul cast out
- For that good deed, he and Silas were arrested and dragged into court
- they were beaten severely, having many stripes (wounds) laid on them
- They were taken into the inner prison where they were chained up and left in darkness
- “I Thank my GOD upon “every” remembrance of you!
- Yes, You Can! Yes, You Can!
- How could Paul say something like this?
- I think it was because that every time Paul remembered that time, he thought about the joy of Christ saving those people and setting them free, not the pain of the stripes and the cold of the prison
- He had a choice as to where he focused his thoughts, even when thinking about perilous events
- In every trial, he could recount the pain of the trial or the joy of the triumph
- What about you?
- When you look back on the things that you have suffered, do you see God’s hand or only your sorrow?
- Does your mind go to “what things are lovely” or “what things were painful”?
- Paul could have looked back on that story and said, I remember the day you all got saved, and oh how terribly treated I was. I still cry when I think about those horrible wounds and the terror of the threat of death – but you won’t read that here.
- Do you remember the pain or the praise of your journey?
- I can give you some examples:
- We have been through some trials here
- there were a few times when the natural evidence didn’t look like we could survive –
- it was in those time that people we counted on left us, some people I thought were friends even turned out to be enemies
- But what miracles the Lord did in preserving us through them! What wondrous testimonies we have
- I can honestly tell you that when I think back on those things, my mind settles on how great the Lord is, not how bad the times were. Great is the Lord!
- When I tell the stories, I only recount the negative parts to bring us to the part that is of a good report, the victory
- I can tell you that we are still facing some trials, as I am sure most of you are. And I don’t know yet how it is all going to work out
- But I trust that it will be for the furtherance of the gospel, that God will be glorified
- Isn’t that what matters?
- This is a key to Victorious, Joyful, Peaceful Christian Living
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.