Sparkling Gems from the Greek - Week of October 14
Week of October 14
Five Important Steps To Move From Fear to Faith, From Turmoil to Peace, And From Defeat to Victory!
I vividly remember a time in my life when I was very concerned about something that was about to occur. Although the challenge before me really wasn't so life-shattering, at the moment it seemed huge and mountainous. Therefore, I was extremely concerned.
I'm sure you know what it's like when worry tries to flood your mind. It has a way of magnifying issues to the point of being ridiculous, but when you're in the midst of the situation, it seems so real. Only after the event is passed do you realize how silly it was to be so worried about something that was so non-eventful.
But at the time I'm telling you about right now, I was consumed with worry. I paced back and forth, fretting, thinking, and pondering, making myself even more nervous by my anxious behavior. I was nothing but a bag of nerves. Realizing how deeply I was sinking into worry, I reached for my Bible to try to find peace for my troubled soul. I opened it to Philippians 4:6, which says, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
I tried to push everything else out of my mind so I could concentrate on God's words in this verse. Through Philippians 4:6, I could see that God was calling out to me and urging me to lay down my worries and come boldly before Him to make my requests known. As I focused on this verse, I suddenly saw something I had never seen before. I realized that this verse showed me step by step how to lay down my worries and boldly make my requests known to God. If I followed the steps laid out in this verse exactly as I understood them, I would be set free of worry and fear! I promptly followed these steps, and in a matter of minutes my worry was replaced with a thankful, praising, and peaceful heart!
As the years have passed, I have had many occasions when worry and fear have tried to plague my mind. It would be impossible to exaggerate the challenges I and my wife have faced as we've fulfilled our apostolic ministry overseas. On occasions, these challenges have simply been enormous.
This is the reason I so entirely identify with the apostle Paul as he describes the difficulties he encountered in his ministry. Just as Satan regularly tried to disrupt Paul's ministry, the enemy has also attempted on many occasions to hinder our work and thwart the advancement of the Gospel. However, none of his attacks have ever succeeded, and the Gospel has gone forth in mighty power!
In moments when worry or fear is trying to wrap its life-draining tentacles around me, I rush back to the truths found in Philippians 4:6. Just as I followed the steps found in this verse so many years ago, I still carefully follow them whenever I start getting anxious. Every time I do, these steps lead me from worry and fear to a thankful, praising, and peaceful heart. In fact, I have learned that if I faithfully follow these steps, fear will always be eradicated and replaced with the wonderful, dominating peace of God (see January 1).
So don't let worry wrap its tentacles around you. Instead, listen to Paul's advice about how to deal with the problems and concerns that try to assail your mind. Let's look once again at what he says in Philippians 4:6: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
In this verse, Paul lays out five very important steps to move from fear to faith, from turmoil to peace, and from defeat to victory. We'll look at five key words that tell us exactly what we must do when worry and concerns are trying to assail our minds: 1) prayer; 2) supplication; 3) thanksgiving; 4) requests; and 5) known.
When Paul uses the word "prayer" in this verse, it is the Greek word proseuche, which is the most commonly used word for prayer in the New Testament. This particular word and its various forms is used approximately 127 times in the New Testament. It is a compound of the words pros and euche. The word pros is a preposition that means toward, which can denote a sense of closeness. Nearly everywhere it is used in the New Testament, the word pros carries the meaning of close, up-front, intimate contact with someone else.
One scholar has noted that the word pros is used to portray the intimate relationship that exists between the members of the Godhead. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.…" The word "with" is taken from the word pros. By using this word to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is telling us that theirs is an intimate relationship. One expositor has translated the verse, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was face-to-face with God.…"
The second part of the world proseuche is taken from the word euche. The word euche is an old Greek word that describes a wish, desire, prayer, or vow. It was originally used to depict a person who made some kind of vow to God because of a need or desire in his or her life. This individual would vow to give something of great value to God in exchange for a favorable answer to prayer. Thus, inherent in this word is the idea of an exchange - giving something to God in exchange for something wanted or desired.
So instead of carrying your worries and burdens, you are to take the first step Paul gives you in moving from a place of turmoil to peace: Come close to the Lord in prayer. Once you are in that intimate, face-to-face place with God, take that opportunity to give Him your worries, fears, and concerns. Then ask the Lord to give you something back in exchange for the worries you have given Him - ask Him for peace! You see, this is a part of the great exchange found in the Greek word proseuche. When you give God your problems, in return He gives you His peace.
Perhaps you've experienced this great exchange at some previous moment in your life. Can you think of a time when your mind was hassled with fears? Once you truly committed your problem to the Lord, did a supernatural peace flood your soul and relieve you from your anxieties? This is the first step that Paul urges you to take when worry, fear, and concerns are trying to take over your mind or emotions.
The second step Paul tells us to take is found in the word "supplication." The word "supplication" in Greek is the word deisis, which depicts a person who has some type of lack in his life and therefore pleads strongly for his lack to be met. The word deisis is translated several ways in the King James Version, including to beseech, to beg, or to earnestly appeal. This word pictures a person in such great need that he feels compelled to push his pride out of the way so he can boldly, earnestly, strongly, and passionately cry out for someone to help or assist him.
One of the most powerful examples of the word deisis is found in James 5:16 In this famous verse of Scripture, the Bible says, "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Here the word deisis is translated as "fervent prayer." You see, deisis is a passionate, earnest, heartfelt, sincere prayer. It comes to God on the most serious terms, strongly beseeching Him to move and to meet a specific need that the person praying is facing in his life.
So when you are facing a problem that deeply concerns you, don't be afraid to go to the Lord and earnestly beseech Him to meet your need. Paul's use of this word means you can get very bold when you ask God to move on your behalf. There is no reason for you to be timid or mealy-mouthed when you pray. You can tell God exactly what you feel, what you're facing, and what you want Him to do for you. This is what "supplication" is all about!
After mentioning "supplication," Paul then gives us the third important step to take when giving our worries and concerns to the Lord. Paul tells us to make our requests known to God "…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.…"
God not only expects you to be bold; He also expects you to thank Him for being good to you! It simply isn't right to ask boldly without expressing thanksgiving. If you've ever generously given to someone who never took the time to thank you for the sacrifice you made for him or her, you know how shocking ingratitude can be. In a similar way, you must be careful to thank God for being so good to you!
The word "thanksgiving" that Paul uses in this verse is the Greek word eucharistos, which is a compound of the words eu and charis. The word eu means good or swell. It always denotes a general good disposition or good feeling about something. The word charis is the Greek word for grace. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the word eucharistos. This compound word describes an outpouring of grace and of wonderful feelings that freely flow from the heart in response to someone or something.
By using this word, Paul teaches us that when we earnestly ask God to do something special for us, we must match it with an earnest outpouring of thanks. Although the request has only just been made and the manifestation isn't evident yet, it is appropriate to thank God for doing what we have requested. Thanking Him in advance demonstrates faith.
So always make sure to follow up your earnest asking with earnest thanksgiving ! Make it a goal to be just as passionate in your thanksgiving as you were when you made your request.
Paul then gives you the fourth step out of worry and anxiety when he tells you, "...Let your requests be made known unto God." The word "requests" is the Greek word aitima, from the word aiteo. The Greek word "ask" destroys any religious suggestion that you are a lowly worm who has no right to come into the Presence of God. You see, the Greek word aiteo means to be adamant in requesting and demanding assistance to meet tangible needs, such as food, shelter, money, and so forth.
In fact, in the New Testament, the word aiteo is used to portray a person who insists or demands that a specific need be met after approaching and speaking to his superior with respect and honor. Additionally, it expresses the idea that one possesses a full expectation to receive what was firmly requested.
There is no doubt that this word describes someone who prays authoritatively, in a sense demanding something from God. This person knows what he needs and is so filled with faith that he isn't afraid to boldly come into God's Presence to ask and expect to receive what he has requested. (See March 23 for a fuller study of the Greek word aiteo.)
This means when you pray about a need that concerns you, it is right for you to pray authoritatively. As long as your prayer is based on the Word of God, you can have the assurance of God's promise regarding the issue you are most concerned about. Furthermore, when you pray, it is spiritually appropriate for you to fully expect God to honor His Word and do what you have requested.
As a final, fifth point, Paul says "...let your requests be made known unto God." The word "known" comes from the word gnoridzo, and it means to make a thing known; to declare something; to broadcast something; or to make something very evident. This plainly means that your asking can be extremely bold! Declare to God what you need; broadcast it so loudly that all of Heaven hears you when you pray. You can be exceptionally bold when you come before Jesus to make your requests known!
An expanded, interpretive translation of Philippians 4:6 could be rendered:
"Don't be worry about anything - and that means nothing at all! Instead, come before God and give Him the things that concern you so He can in exchange give you what you need or desire. Be bold to strongly, passionately, and fervently make your request known to God, making certain that an equal measure of thanksgiving goes along with your strong asking. You have every right to ask boldly, so go ahead and insist that God meet your need. When you pray, be so bold that there is no doubt your prayer wasn't heard. Broadcast it! Declare it! Pray boldly until you have the assurance that God has heard your request!"
So in moments when worry or fear is trying to wrap its life-draining tentacles around you, rush to the truths found in Philippians 4:6. You don't have to live subject to worry, concerns, and fears the rest of your life. If you follow these steps, worry and fear will always be replaced with a peaceful and praising heart!
Why don't you take the time today to enter God's Presence and walk through these five important steps? It's time to move from fear to faith, from turmoil to peace, and from defeat to victory!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I thank You for allowing me to come boldly before You in prayer. I know that You love me and want to richly meet the needs I am facing in my life today. My temptation is to worry and fear, but I know that if I will trust You, everything I am concerned about will turn out all right. Right now I reject the temptation to worry, and I choose to come before You to boldly make my requests known. By faith I thank You in advance for acting to answer my requests!
I pray this in Jesus' name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am not ruled by worry, fear, or concerns. I go to God with those things that are on my heart, and I clearly articulate what I feel, what I need, and what I expect Heaven to do on my behalf. Because of the promises in God's Word, I know exactly how to boldly make my requests. I always match my requests with thanksgiving, letting God know how grateful I am for everything He does in my life. Heaven is on my side; therefore, I know I will survive and victoriously overcome each and every attack that ever tries to come against my family, my relationships, my business, my finances, and my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- When worry, fears, and concerns try to overwhelm you, what do you do in response? Do you give in and allow worry and fretfulness to fill your mind, or do you run to the Lord and commit your problems to Him?
- Can you recall times in your life when you gave an all-consuming worry to the Lord? In return, did He fill you with supernatural peace, enabling you to overcome the worries that were trying to devour you?
- What new truth did you learn from today's Sparkling Gem? If these truths were helpful to you, can you think of someone else you know who needs this same encouragement? If so, why don't you contact that friend today to encourage him or her from the Word of God?
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