Dr. Walter Cavert reported a survey on worry that indicated that only 8 percent of the things people worry about were legitimate matters of concern. The other 92 % were either imaginary, never happened, or involved matters over which the people had no control. If worry is your problem, Paul gives us a three-fold remedy if you are plagued with worry:
1. Pray instead of worry
2. Feed the mind properly
3. Practice Biblical principles
1. Pray instead of worry (Philippians 4:6-7)
Paul simply instructs us to stop worrying about the problems of life and start praying about them. Practically, you can fulfill this verse by making a Worry List and write down the problems you are worrying about. Then take your pen and mark through the word Worry and write above it Prayer. I challenge you right now to convert your Worry List into a Prayer List.
Worry is not the same as concern. We should be concerned for others as Paul described Timothy in Philippians 2:19-20. Paul said concern for others should characterize the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:25: “the members should have the same care or concern one for another.” Worry is selfish which hinders us from ministering to others.
Worry in self-concern. This is what Paul is condemning. This is what Jesus forbad in Matthew 6:25-33. Stop worrying about your life, what you eat, what you wear. But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” Worry is selfish which hinders us from laboring for the kingdom of God.
You might say, “Well I just a worry wart. My mother or my day was a worry wart.” Does that give us the right to disobey God’s Word? What if your mother or day had been an alcoholic?
2. Feed the Mind Properly (Philippians 4:8)
The average American is bombarded everyday with at least 1500 advertisements from all to the media outlets: internet, TV, newspapers, magazines, and billboards. Each advertisement is an attempt to control our thinking. If they can control our thinking, they can control our actions and ultimately our pocketbooks.
MacDonalds has convinced millions of 3 and 4 year olds it is more fun to eat a Happy Meal than a Kid’s Meal at Burger King. MacDonalds beats Burger King four to one. Four kids persuade parents to pull in MacDonalds and purchase a Happy Meal and drive past Burger King.
Not only has the media succeeded in controlling our minds about their products but also about morality and religion. Homosexuality is no longer sodomy but an acceptable alternative lifestyle. As a result the younger generation has a totally different view of homosexuality. Perhaps our legalistic churches who have ridiculed them as “qreers” from the pulpits have also aided and abetted the secular media.
For example, you can view the YouTube of pastor Charles L. Worley of Provdence Road Baptist Church who preached for the concentration of homosexuals behind electric fences and the ultimate death of “queers and homosexual.” It is no surprise our young people are turned off by churches. God hates the sin of homosexuality but His Son died for them just as He died for every sinner. Why not corral all adulterers, drunkards, or theives behind electric fences and not just homosexuals?
A much more Biblical approach on YouTube is Matt Chandler’s message, “Jesus wants the rose.”
A. Paul tells us What to think about: “Think on these things.”
Someone called this list “The briefest biography of Christ.” Paul fires off a quick catalogue of worthy objects. The Word of God is the best source of what to think about. Paul’s list of what could be a list of Christ’s attributes is similar to David’s description of the Word in Psalm 19:7-9. Look up these two references and see the similarities between the attributes in Paul’s list and David’s list. In computer science the principle is GIGO or “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” A computer processes the information it is given. The expression “Garbage in, garbage out” became famous when used by the defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran in the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Cochram argued that the mountain of blood evidence was tainted by sloppy technicians and racist police and therefore the evidence was contaminated.
Same is true with human computers or our minds. Paul’s next point tells us how to not feed our minds garbage.
B. Paul tells us How to think: “Think”
A. T. Robertson says, “think” means to put your mind on these things just mentioned. It is not the mere flash of thought like the flitting of a sparrow, but the deliberate and prolonged contemplation as if one is weighting a mathematical problem.
The word “think” is one of Paul’s favorite words to teach the doctrine of imputation. God has imputed or put on our record in heaven the righteousness of Christ. He has not put on our record in Heaven our sins according to Romans 4:3 and 4:8. The application of this in Philippians is to think on the blessings of God and not our sins. Think on the successes God has given you and not your failures. Paul practices this in 3:13-14. Our sins have been forgiven and forgotten by God and so why we should dwell on them and think about them and be defeated by them?
The writer of Proverbs knew the value of proper thinking when he wrote 23:7: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.”
3. Practice Biblical Principles (Philippians 4:9)
Thoughts lead to actions. Alexander MaClaren phrased this truth uniquely, “Just as the thunder follows on the swift passage of the lightning, so my acts are neither more or less than the reverberation and after the clap of my thoughts.”
Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People gave this quote: Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.
A. Practice according to instruction “the things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard.”
Again, it comes back to Biblical thinking preceding proper actions. The Philippians had heard Paul preach. Now if they receive and learn from that preaching and teaching they can act right. In Romans 10:17, Paul taught how to overcome worry, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
B. Practice according to example “and seen in me, do.” Get the right people in your inner circle. Because our closest friends feed our minds with either positives or negatives.
Conclusion: If we practice these three remedies, the result will be, “the God of peace shall be with you.” Even if you are in the storm of your life, the God of peace is with you. Isaiah promised, “You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you” (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus promised, “If you know these things happy are you” (John 13:17).
Someone described many Christians who struggle with worry acting and looking like the duck who appears to be sitting quietly and calmly on a placid lake, but underneath he is paddling like crazy. Looks are deceiving. How are you on the inside? If you are struggling on the inside seriously apply these three great remedies to your life.