Tuesday, July 30
Today's reading: Philippians 4:4-9
Being a follower of Christ and one of God's children gives us a constant reason to be joyful. It took me quite a while to fully grasp the importance of Paul's instruction to "rejoice in the Lord always" (vs. 4), but as I write to you today, I must tell you that choosing to approach each day with a joyful mindset and attitude has been life-changing for me. Let me explain.
Philippians 4:4-9 is a passage I have been well acquainted with since my late twenties. That's when I began struggling with feelings of anxiousness, which quickly progressed to regular, almost daily lost battles with full-blown anxiety and panic attacks. I was miserable. At this point in my life, though I was a believer, I was not an engaged Christ follower. Taking in God's Word, attending church and being around other believers weren't priorities at all. My focus was simply me.
When anxiety struck (as it always did), I would reach out to my parents and my sister, who would often refer me to Philippians 4 and encourage me to turn to God and offer up my anxious thoughts and fears up to Him. While I'd like to tell you that hanging up the phone to then read this passage and pray brought about an immediate end to my anxiety, I can't. You see, my lifestyle didn't include God much because I had chosen to push Him aside to pursue more of me. Talking candidly with God and spending time with Him in His Word seemed awkward. But I chose to press on and do it, and this choice, paired with action, began shifting my focus back to God and restoring my relationship with Him, which did bring with it a lessening of some of my anxiousness.
As I write today, many years later, I have a much better understanding of this passage. But more importantly, I'm now at a place spiritually where what Paul prescribes in verse 6 is a daily practice for me: "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." This established routine gives me God's strength, which in turn helps me address anxious thoughts and feelings when they start pressing in on me (and yes, they still do).
Based on his writings in Philippians 4, Paul evidently experienced worrisome thoughts and feelings of anxiousness too. I am grateful for his reminder and instruction to us to choose to "rejoice in the Lord" and be in constant communication with God so that "the peace of Godů will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus" (vs. 7).
Is talking with God and spending time in His Word a habit for you? Why is this important? What are some examples of how you have benefitted from choosing to approach each day with a joyful, Christ-focused mindset? Tami
Powered by 4 is all about engaging God's Word and living it out--in community. So if it's encouragement you want or motivation you need, join the discussion on the P4 Blog--a place to weigh in on the daily scripture as well as share thoughts & questions.