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"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Big Buts of the Bible #9

This is the second part in a series considering the ten biggest 'buts' in the New Testament. See Big Buts #10 which was posted 9/8.

Philippians 4:6
"Do not be anxious about anything, BUT in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

This is one verse we would all do well to memorize. The Apostle Paul includes this amongst a series of exhortations to believers in Philippi. To be a human being means that you are subject to all the chances and changes of life. Those believers Paul wrote to in the first century church had the added dangers of being associated with Christ in an environment very unfriendly to their faith.

The big 'but' in the middle of this verse stands not so strongly to condemn anxious feelings, but rather to prescribe the sure remedy available to believers. Paul was encouraging believers to adopt a more positive perspective on their situations, that of knowing God is in control.

Note especially that word 'everything'. I am conscious of how often we mistakenly use broadly inclusive language. For instance, consider how often a waitress might ask "How is everything?" Have you ever given a waitress as broad an answer? "Well, I have a really bad case of athlete's foot right now, I've been a little constipated and..." But, when Paul says 'everything' here, he means just that! As Peter reminds us "Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). All your cares. Nothing is too big or too small.

And this big but comes with a sweet promise found in verse 7 (I won't include the text here so as to encourage us all to go look it up). This promise, and really the overall section of exhortations here in Phil. 4:4-9, makes this passage worthy of my suggesting it is the 9th biggest 'but' in the New Testament.

1 Comments:

  • Amen! thanks for sharing Pastor Darin. its funny how God works, but this verse has been haunting me the past couple of weeks, and out of all the "big buts" of the bible its kinda scary that you chose this one at this particular time. since i've been at school i've been seeing myself in a new light and I have recognized that there are some things in my heart that need changing. since i found this verse about two weeks ago I have been coming face to face with some idols i have put up in my life that i didnt even know i had. After discovering this I have been using Paul's "remedy" asking God constantly to change my heart and mind to be more like Him. Even at times when I didn't really want to I would pray, and Paul was not lying in verse seven. These past few weeks I have felt very lonely, homesick, and hurt, BUT through God's amazing grace he has given me peace that truly does transcend all understanding and he is keeping me accountable in guarding my heart with everything I struggle with. I know i'm still going to face days where I feel lonely, but I am now seeking after Christ who is the ONLY one able to fill anything and everything that I am feeling, and His peace is such a precious gift.

    By amanda, at 9/14/2005 3:49 PM  

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