Let God Guard You Against Fear
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Living in a rough part of my city has been stressful at times for my wife and me. One night at 1 a.m., my wife sat up in bed and said to me, “Someone’s in our house.” As I heard the noises coming from the living room, I got up, grabbed a golf club, and as I was slowly creeping toward the room I got robbed.
Not of my physical safety. Not of my possessions. But of my peace.
Now no one was in our house that night yet I could not seem to shake that feeling of danger for weeks.
This fear was a thief. And only God’s peace was able to guard me from it later on.
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 ESV).
There are three key words in verse 6 in which Paul tells us to make known our requests to God instead of being anxious. They are prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
PHILIPPIANS 4:6,7 (ESV)
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus
Prayer here is the general term that encompasses all types of prayer to God. And then Paul gets more specific. Supplication.
When we’re anxious/fearful, we feel imprisoned by our thoughts, so Paul is exhorting us to not keep that within ourselves, but to release it in supplication. Release it in earnestly begging for your Father to act on your behalf.
And then Paul surprisingly goes even deeper and nuances our prayer and supplication: “with thanksgiving.”
Now maybe some of you are wondering, why did Paul put that there? How does desperation and weakness go along “with thanksgiving”? In moments of fear and anxiety, doesn’t that seem to go against the fiber of our being? Three reasons.
coming to God is where true freedom and rest is found.
First, I think Paul is instructing us to make “supplication with thanksgiving” because of who God is. God’s identity and our identity in Him is the most secure thing in the universe.
The second reason he is instructing us to make “supplication with thanksgiving” is because of what God has done for us and is doing for us. A thankfulness for past and current blessings and grace points us to future grace.
The third reason he is instructing us to make “supplication with thanksgiving” is because of the promises that God has given to us as His children. Clinging to the promises in His Word directs our hearts to truth.
However, somehow in the midst of fear/anxiety, this can feel like another burden or weighty yoke. We can think, “Oh great, I have to do this duty too.” But coming to God is where true freedom and rest is found.
Jesus lovingly beckons us, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29 New King James Version).
This is how we let our requests be made known to God in verse 6. We come to Him in prayer and it is personal.
And what happens when we come to God with our requests? Paul says that God’s peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Children tend to ask their parents to hold their hand when they are scared because they trust that their parents will help protect them against their fears. And as we grow older, we naturally lose that child-like dependency and take on our fears ourselves.
But our heavenly Father, in essence, is saying to you today, “Call on Me, my child. Ask me to hold your hand, and I’ll be with you no matter what happens.”