Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7
Perhaps one of the most common methods professing Christians use to determine God’s will in their lives is whether or not we are given peace. It may be that you are considering a new job, or a new house, whether or not you should pursue marriage, or maybe you’re struggling with going to visit your in-laws. But as you evaluate the right path you take, you begin to feel restless–conflicted in your heart and mind. At the end of the day you decide that since you never had peace about moving forward, that must be God’s final answer. And you close the door.
Now I do believe that God can and does move upon our wills to direct our steps. I believe that if we are walking by the Spirit, we will learn from Him and be able to hear His voice saying, “this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
But how do we seek His will? What is the right perspective to have during those difficult and troublesome moments? What would God have us do in times of uncertainty?
Is it right to assume God’s answer for us, simply and always because we don’t feel peaceful in our own hearts?
I was recently memorizing Philippians 4:4-8 and verse 7 impressed something different on my mind.
In verse four, we’re commanded to rejoice in the Lord. A few sentences later, Paul exhorts us: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…”
Under no circumstances should we be anxious, if we are truly trusting God. We all have questions about life; we wonder what we ought to do. James has endless bills to pay and doesn’t know how he’ll pay them. Marie cares deeply for Josh, but doesn’t know if he’s “the one.” Amy is trying to decide which college to go to for her nursing degree. Fear and anxiety often play a significant role in our worries. But when this happens, we need to take everything to God by prayer and supplication (a humble petition or earnest request).
We know that God is all-knowing; He already knows what you will ask him before you do, so why make your requests known to Him? Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. It is when we look to Him in humble trust and dependance that He pours out His grace and blessings upon us. He calls us to wait on Him, to commit our ways to Him, to trust in Him–and He will act. (Psalm 37:5)
Here is the promise: when we make known our requests to God through prayer and supplication with a thankful heart, His response to us is not necessarily an outright answer for the decision we are facing, or trial we are going through, but rather–His peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds.
God will answer us, in His place and in His time. But while we are waiting for His direction, practically speaking, He wants us to wait and abide and rest in His peace–His peace that comforts us and gives rest to our souls even though we don’t understand our situation and circumstances. What that means is that if we are trusting God during our trials, we will have joy and peace because our worry, fear and anxiety have been replaced with confidence and assurance in our very capable, loving and willing Savior’s hands.
Seek the peace that comes from God today by casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)