Introduction to Better: You know the saying- “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you’ve been getting” We know this is true and yet we still fall into the same routines. Routines of being overworked, insecure, foolish, and worried. But what if there were a better way. What if we could align our lives to some ancient insight about how to live and grow? In this series we are going to examine common traps that we all fall in and then we dive into how the Scriptures addresses these real concerns with answers.
Worry is widespread.
It can make other things worse.
Many feel alone.
When talking about anxiety we realize this is a complicated subject. So, please know that we are not suggesting that we simply pray the grey away. The Bible’s guidance seems to lead us to seek help when its available to us.
- Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
- Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a community falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
- Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
- Proverbs 19:20-21 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
I want to give you an additional tool in your toolbox to deal with worry/anxiety.
Introduction to The Letter of Philippians
- Philippi was the first church Paul planted in Eastern Europe
- Heavy Greek influence, also retired military leaders
- The church faced persecution
1. Let’s consider Paul’s circumstances before we consider his advice – Phillipians 1:12-14
The set back is a set up for the down and out to get back up.
Paul’s Approach While Facing Suffering/Limitations:
I can still serve God.
God can still use me.
2. Paul challenges the suffering church to commit to specific acts – Phillipians 4:4-6
- Rejoice in the Lord (joy that is actively expressed) – Psalm 84
- Let your gentleness be evident (being equitable, fair, mild, gentle)
- Your bad circumstances do not give you divine permission to treat others any way
- F.L.I.P. (Find Life In Prayer)
Worry Vs. Prayer
Worry focuses on my abilities
Prayer focuses on God’s character
Worry turns my attention to what is unknown and uncertain
Prayer turns my attention to the assurance of God’s nearness
Worry invades my body with stress
Prayer calms my body with reassurance
Worry gives an opening for the enemy to advance
Prayer ushers me into the safety of the King
So, tell me again, why are you worrying?
3. Here are the results from these actions – Phillipians 4:7
- When we are obedient and prayerful, we can then experience peace.
- This peace is wonderful to experience but not easy to explain.
- This peace guards our internal world. (our thought life that ultimately guides our decision making)
Get out your F.L.I.P. (Find Life In Prayer) Card.
- Write down your worry.
- Rewrite you worry in terms of a conversation with God.
Keep your F.L.I.P. Card with you this week.
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Rusty points out that worry is a constant state of mind for many people. It can make our feel hopeless, alone and alienated from those who care about us. How do you currently deal with worry?
- Anxiety is a complicated subject. Pastor Rusty acknowledged it’s not typically something you “pray away.” The Bible contains many passages which teach us it’s appropriate to get help from others as we confront our challenges. Can you think of a time or times in your past when others helped you work through worries you didn’t know how to handle on your own?
- We discover the background of the book in Philippians 1:12-14. It reveals how Paul wrote this inspirational letter while under house arrest. Despite that he was able to say “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) How was it possible for the great apostle to be so upbeat while he was in prison?
- Paul wrote “let your gentleness be evident to all.” (Philippians 4:5) How is it possible for us to be gentle with others when we are overwhelmed by life’s challenges and worries?
- Pastor Rusty makes the point that all of us will expend energy on bad stuff that happens to us. The real question is whether we take our frustrations out on those around us, or we take our concerns to God. Do you generally take your worries to God in prayer, or are you more prone to take your frustrations out on others?
- After encouraging believers to take our concerns to God in prayer, Paul reminds everyone that God’s peace is available to us, a peace which transcends all understanding. Peace amid our stress is anything but automatic. How can what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7 change our perspective during challenging times?
TALK IT OUT:
- Get a F.L.I.P.(Find Life In Prayer) Card and on that card make a list of the things which you most often worry about.
- Reflect for the next five minutes on how focusing on God and the hope we have in Him can help us overcome our worries.
- Rewrite your worry in terms of a conversation with God.
- Now voice that conversation as a prayer, in which you turn your worries and concerns over to the God who is big enough to handle all the situations that are too big for you.
- Keep your F.L.I.P.Card with you this week as a reminder to turn those worries over to Godeach day.