Have you ever had your plans suddenly change on you? Has your life ever been cruising along just fine when all of a sudden, everything is set out of course and nothing remains certain? Is there anything productive you can do (besides freak out) especially when it is out of your immediate control? How do you cope? Take a long shower, go on a walk with the dog, or go back to bed? All the above?
Heraclitus, the famous Greek philosopher said, “change is the only constant in life”. From a human viewpoint that is certainly true, we experience changes in life at a steady rate. Life can change in a heartbeat and many times spiral out of our control. Right now as the entire world is under quarantine due to recent COVID-19 virus, change is inevitable for everyone to some degree or another.
Sometimes things happen that can be quite overwhelming. It’s just too much. We’re often told “God won’t give you more than you can handle” which is supposed to cheer us up and in fact, God is known to give us more than we can handle all the time! The truth is, God never promised He wouldn’t give us more than we can handle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 does not talk about not overwhelming us with suffering but with temptation. In fact, Paul said that God had given him more than he could handle on several occasions. (2 Cor 1:8-9)
There’s hope! God’s grace is more!
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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
These two verses present a wonderful promise on behalf of God and a condition for the believer. Let me start with the promise God makes for every believer. You may be going through more than you can handle right now. Frankly, you may be overcome with discouragement but you need to know there’s hope and stability to get through anything life throws your way. God promises you something that is independent of any circumstance and always available. It is a wonderful promise that you can hang on to. Simply put, God, who is the source of true peace, offers to guard, protect or keep your heart and mind safe through the situation. This is a peace we actually experience. It is not the same peace referred to in Romans 5:1that has to do with our position in Christ and unalterable standing of being at peace with God.
Now on to the condition for the believer. We are told to walk by faith which is the same way we received Him (Col 2:6). Faith is to trust, rely upon. The phrase, be anxious for nothing is a command, the verb be is in the active voice imperative mood present tense. It goes hand in hand with let your requests be made known to God. The verb let is also a present imperative but in the passive voice.
What does this mean? We could understand the conditional part as, “don’t worry about anything, as your requests and thanks are being made known to God through your prayers, God’s peace will protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus”. When God gives us a command (Mat 6:34), He intends us to keep it. The faith part comes in because when He commands He also makes a grace provision to enable us to keep it! God always gives us the means to do what He asks us to do! If God commands us, “Don’t be anxious“, rest assured He offers the power by grace on the basis of faith.
When we try to keep God’s commands in our strength, this becomes a weight too heavy to bear. We fail. We get discouraged and frustrated. God never intended us to look to be obedient without His enabling grace. In fact, God doesn’t want us to focus on doing but on Him!
Have you been worrying and placing upon yourself the unnecessary weight of things you cannot change? Does it feel like you’ve taken on a yoke you cannot bear? When we are anxious, stressing and worrying about things, it is a clear sign to us that we are not enjoying at that present moment the virtues and blessings we have available to us in Christ. Fear not! Christ has already invited you to take His yoke upon yourself in order to experience rest for your soul.
Christ offers rest (peace, refreshing) to all who take on His yoke (which incidentally happens to be light and not like the law)…
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
For the mind set on the flesh is death [separation], but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, - Romans 8:3 [brackets mine]
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, - Galatians 5:22
Stop looking for peace in the wrong places. Peace is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.
God has been offering His peace from the beginning. It is available to those who believe and walk by faith. It is a peace that surpasses understanding.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.- Psalm 4:8
Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.- Psalm 119:165
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. - Isaiah 26:3
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.- John 14:27
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”- John 16:33
Christ has done the work to set you free from the flesh, the very source of internal anxiety.
So, remove vexation from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.- Ecclesiastes 7:10 NASB77
When the world around us is undergoing uncertain times, we have the source of eternal peace at our disposal to guard our hearts and our minds! God has already promised you and I an unending supply of peace and rest. This is only available, however, to those who approach Him on the basis of faith (in everything bringing your requests and thanksgiving to God). He promises, as a result, to source the much-needed internal peace.
Therefore, beloved, you have a choice. What will you choose in the midst of whatever uncertain circumstances life throws your way, anxiety or peace? Weariness and heaviness or to let Christ to grace you rest in your soul? May God bless!