For the last few weeks I have been doing some elementary lessons (easy to understand, not necessarily easy to do) on The Tongue. Yesterday I was doing a page out of a book for a discussion I will be having with Linda and possibly Patti on Saturday morning and I had a small epiphany. For me the epiphany was small BUT the implications for myself and others are huge. Here goes.....
There are three things going on in these two short verses. In the first phrase, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation," There is a "do not" and a "but." Do not be anxious, but instead do the following. We may say, "But it is human to worry." Of course it is. Thankfully we are not at the mercy of our human-ness. How do I know that? Because of what the rest of the phrase says. We are not to be anxious about anything but instead if we do get anxious we are to do the something that will follow, and we are to do it in every situation. (You know how when you are aguing with someone you are not supposed to say "you always" "you never?" Those words are like the words "anything" and "every" here, only now is the perfect time to use them because the writer is about to give the reader a remedy that works every time.
This leads me to the second idea. Every time we feel anxious about anything, we are to bring the situation to God. With thanksgiving in our hearts, we are to pour out our requests to Him.
What is a command without a promise? Here is the third point. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." One version I read said "thoughts" instead of "mind." I like that even more.
Bottom line. When we have what feels like an impossible, thought consuming situation, we need to tell God about it and He will give us His peace by guarding our hearts and thoughts from the anxiety.
I thought long and hard about this yesterday and came to the conclusion that this is indeed a great exchange. My worry for God's peace. I thought about the only other time I've heard a term like "great exchange" in the Bible and it always had to do with Jesus dying in our place and giving us eternal life. We deserve death and Jesus took that penalty for us and not only that, He gives us eternal life. That truly is the biggest Biblical exchange with consequences for this life and the next - hard to wrap our brains around even with faith!
But what about this exchange in Philippians chapter four? What if we never had to worry more than a few seconds about anything for the rest of our lives? I believe that is how we can live if we trust and obey God according to this passage.
Could this be the second greatest exchange in the Bible? I challenge us to put God to the test as we trust and obey Him.