In Philippians 4:6-8: Paul writes: “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Tex’s version of this passage goes like this: “Don’t worry about anything, but thanking God for what you have, pray and ask for what you need; and the peace of God, that passes all understanding, will protect your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is anything virtuous, if there is anything worthy of praise, meditate on these things.”
This morning I had a flash of light about this very passage. This is the ‘good-bye portion’ of Paul’s letter to the Saints at Philippi. This is what I’d call his ‘closing instructions’.
He says, “Don’t worry, be happy, be thankful, when you need something, ask for it. Turn all your troubles over to God. When you do this, the peace of God, peace that passes understanding, will keep your hearts and minds from fear, and worry, and depression.” So my flash of light was this. “What happens when you do what this passage says, and you’re still afraid, still worried, still depressed?”
Then you do what the very next verse says, “Quit thinking about that stupid stuff you’re worried about. (God is taking care of it. He can and will take care of it a lot better than you or I can anyway.) What’s more, as an act of your will, you just need to focus your mind and your heart on something good. Find something good to think about. Like sunshine; or rain on your flowers and your crops; or how great it is when you kid comes up, out of the blue, and says she loves you; or about the good book you just read, or the song you heard on the radio; or how thankful you are that you made it home without running out of gas when you were almost out; or how you finally shook that bad headache you’d had for three days.” Focus on these things; fill your heart and mind with these and other good things.
My Momma used to say you just have to make up your mind to think about something good. And when the devil comes up and says “You don’t really believe that stuff, do you?”
You say, “Yep, I’m trusting God and I know He’s taking care of me, so I’ve just made up my mind to think about something good!”
So God really does provide for all of our needs by His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Even when the primary plan falls short, God has a backup plan. Between being thankful for our blessings and thinking about something good, we really can enjoy the pleasure of the Presence of God, right here, right now.