One of the greatest difficulties in my life would be the battle of anxiety. Whether something simple or complex, my mind can wheel round and round, on any given thought, like a playground merry go round. I have recited the Scripture in Phillipians 4:6 many times in hopes of finding relief and for a while it works, but inevitably, I find myself right back to the same worries.
About a month ago, though, I was reading through chapter 4 of Phillipians, and had a moment with God. How could it be that I had read this passage of Scripture for the umpteenth time and never noticed this? It makes so much sense now. But before we go any further, please read Phillipians 4:4-9.
For the sake of fulfilling the whole purpose of this DO- votion blog, I would like you to take a moment, grab a piece of paper and from this passage, write out each "action" truth - those being the things you are suppose to do according to this Scripture. Below each action truth, write out the result. Group things together like you see them and how you feel they speak to you. I will share my list with you below.
1. Action Truth: Always rejoice in the Lord and let my gentleness be evident to everyone.
Result: The Lord will be near
2. Action Truth: Do not be anxious about anything but pray with thanksgiving to God.
Result: The peace of God will guard my heart and my mind in Christ.
3. Action Truth: Think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellant, or praiseworthy.
Result: The God of peace will be with me.
So many parts of this passage could be studied in the deepest of detail. But for this do-votion, I want to share with you what I believe God showed me to help with my anxiety. In a nutshell - I needed to turn my thoughts around.
Here is what I learned. Our anxious thoughts weigh us down. Turn to Proverb 12:25 and write this Scripture out on your paper. Now write the word "weigh" down and next to it put this definition, taken from the original language - "to fall prostrate." Our anxious thoughts can, for lack of a better illustration, flatten us. I have had days when the worries and anxieties of my life want to keep me in bed. Have you ever been there? We need to recognize that we have an enemy who knows this game and we must keep him losing and us winning. Here is the weapon.
Look back at verse 8. Paul says to these Phillipian believers, "finally brothers, do this." What he is saying to them is that, you must turn your thoughts around and think on something other than those things which worry you. Not just think on anything different than your worries but think on these specific things. I like to call them the "whatever" list. Here is what I felt impacted me so much. Once we pray and petition God with anything that is causing us anxiety, we must train ourselves to replace thinking about things that cause us anxiety, with thinking on the "whatever" list. We must turn our thoughts around.
Now I want you to take a moment and, if you have one handy, grab an index card. Put a title on the top "Think on These Things." Then create your "whatever" list from verse 8. Tuck this in your Bible, or stick it to your bulletin board - just keep it handy. The next time you are weighed down with anxiety, present the problem to the Lord, thank Him for hearing you, and turn your thoughts around. Don't allow the enemy to play mind games with you. The Lord is near. He heard your prayer. Now, fill your mind with "whatever."