Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, NLT
But how, Paul? How does this work in real life? How do I stop worrying and start thanking God when my circumstances are not peaceful? Give us some steps to walk this out, please. Let’s pretend the Apostle Paul says, “I’m glad you asked.”
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (v8)
The battlefield is truly in our minds, and the battle fought there is won or lost by our thoughts.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul strongly suggests that we must take our thoughts captive to live worry-free. So fixing our thoughts is the key.
I wish my thoughts were so obedient. My thoughts are kinda like my hair. I fix it every day, but it doesn’t remain fixed. A big wind can blow it near slap off my head. Even when the wind is calm, I still gotta fix the stuff every morning. It is a daily practice.
Paul gives us a few steps that will help us walk on the calm-er path:
- Pray about everything. Everything means everything — all.
- Thank God for all He is doing in your life
- Fix our thoughts. This word is an action word. We choose to — meditate, deliberate on, consider, take into account — truth, honor, right not wrong, clean, modest, sacred, excellence, things worthy of our praise.
On the authority of Scripture, I will add that memorizing Bible verses that target our current battle are essential. Scriptures that focus on our current battle are like a good firm-hold hairspray. They help us stay firmly planted when the wind is blowing. How about these (including Philippians 4:6-7 above):
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you. All whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Isaiah 26:3, NLT
Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7, NLT
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3, NLT
What results from taking our thoughts captive and commanding them to do something different? We receive God’s peace. A peace that guards our hearts and minds against unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. A peace so deep and wide we can never fully understand how it’s happening while living in the middle of craziness.
The battlefield of our mind is fertile ground, but the battle fought there can be won. Less anxiety and more tranquility are possible when we practice fixing our thoughts on things worthy of praise.