“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
It’s hard sometimes. To not be anxious. To not be worried or stressed about events in life. General pressures, work situations, mistakes, unexpected occurrences, can all have us anxious. And who hasn’t felt anxious? Who hasn’t been worried, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy, perturbed, disquieted, troubled, agitated, tense, stressed, overwrought…. over something in life?
But here is Paul, telling us not to be anxious ever! He doesn’t ignore the fact that we may have cause to be worried. Instead he offers us a solution, by taking the situation to God, we can trade our anxiety for His peace. Our worry for His rest. God’s peace means tranquillity, calm, freedom from internal strife. You’re still in the storm but God’s peace prevails in your heart and mind. In essence, we can pray and not worry as we give our concerns to the Lord.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.’ (1 Peter 5:7)
Sacrifice. Praise. Two words that seem mutually exclusive. Two words that don’t belong together. Praise is like the woohoo of your day, an overflow of happy. It’s exuberant, joyful. Sacrifice – well that is something that comes at a cost. It’s pain, grief, hurt. Surely sacrifice and praise don’t belong together? Yet we find in Hebrews just that. Praise and Sacrifice interwoven together
“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (Hebews 13:15)
The sacrifice of praise says that even during the difficult times I will choose to believe in the goodness of God. It says that during the hard seasons I will still exalt His name. As we turn our despair, our pain into praise of the One who sacrificed it all for us it becomes the most beautiful sacrifice.
Our praise is to be continual. It means our praise is a lifestyle that exists regardless of our feelings or our circumstances or how our day is shaping out. Our praise becomes a powerful declaration of magnifying God over our lives. It is not about being thankful for all things, but in all things being able to be thankful. It means that our praise of God is not shaken by our circumstances.
There are two keys to sustaining this level of praise. “For here we do not have a permanent city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” It is keep the perspective of Heaven while on earth. The second is that we are able to do this through Jesus.
“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:28-29)