The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7
We are quick to take precautions against the cold weather as the summer months end and the fall season begins. As temperatures plummet and breezes begin to blow, we pull out the accessories necessary to achieve and maintain the warmth we crave. We would not knowingly go out into the cold unprepared, so we guard ourselves with hats, gloves, and scarves.
In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul gave them instructions on how to guard their hearts and minds from things such as bitterness, envy, and self-pity. In fact, he mentioned three ways they could protect themselves from those very things. These three levels of protection are like hats, gloves, and scarves for our hearts and minds.
First, Paul said not to be anxious about anything. If you’re anything like me and your default mode is often to worry, it’s hard to imagine not worrying about anything. That diagnosis, that financial need, that painful family situation, that troubling news headline — all of these fall under the category of “anything.” None of it warrants our worry. For me, this often means that I will verbally remind myself, “I don’t have to worry about that.”
Second, Paul said to pray about everything. The best way to stop a bad habit is to replace it with a better habit. So instead of worrying and being anxious, Paul said that our go-to response should be prayer. Our instinctive urge to panic should serve as a reminder to pray. When we stop to pray, we are shifting the weight of that burden off our shoulders and trusting God to handle the situation as He sees fit.
Finally, all our prayers should be filled with thanksgiving. It’s impossible to be bitter, envious, or discontent when we begin counting the many blessings our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us. Gratitude-filled prayers result in a peace that only God can give. Prayers to God result in the peace of God. That peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, bringing us more warmth than the best-made fall clothing accessories.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions for the Fall by Stacy Edwards, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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I don’t know about you but I am ready for fall! Just as much as I want to wear my new boots, I want to clothe myself in worry-less prayer and thanksgiving! What are you grateful for today? Come share with us on our blog! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full