“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
As worshipers of Christ, what does this look like in our everyday, ordinary lives? And how does that influence those of us who lead worship? And how does our worship leading influence what this looks like each and every day in our lives as well as those we’re serving? Too often, we live with a disconnect between our worship in community and our personal lives. This is true whether we’re in leadership or not.
The Lord, your God, the one far above any other, is by your side. He is your helper. He is your strength, your refuge, your stronghold, your everything. What do you have to fear? What could possibly be that big of a deal that you would fear when you have the Creator by your side? When you’re feeling a lack of creativity, why be afraid or discouraged when you have access to the best creativity by the Holy Spirit? When you’re facing a difficult decision at work or with a loved one, why fear or be anxious when the One who gives us strength dwells in us, is by our side, is our helper? “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
So, what does it look like to not be anxious? I think we can all think of times throughout our daily lives when we present requests to God, but are we crabby and whiny or do we have a thankful heart? And in everything?! Look at these verses right before the Philippians passage I posted at the beginning: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5). The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Philippi about being Christ-like, humble, gentle, and exhorts them to rejoice and be thankful as they are in prayer about all circumstances… oh, and not worrying! Remember, the Lord is near. He is our helper. If he is by us, if he is for us, who should we fear? Who can be against us? What can man do to us?
So, again, what does this look like in your everyday life? What are some circumstances in your life right now that you need to submit to the Lord? How can you submit these things to the Lord with thanksgiving? I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the verses below and confess your worry, your fear, and experience the depth of Christ as surely he is near to you at this very moment.
Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.”
Psalm 138:1,7 “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise… Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.”
Psalm 118:6 “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…”
Isaiah 41:10,13 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you an dhelp you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand… For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”