How Can I Overcome the Fear of Circumstances? – Philippians 4:6-9

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Someone said there are 365 verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear. Lloyd Ogilvie, in Facing the Future Without Fear, said there are 366 “Fear nots” in the Bible; there’s one for every day of the year, including leap year! Technically, no version of the Bible has 365 “Fear nots,” but fear is mentioned 501 times in the KJV and 457 in the NKJV. The subject of fear and worry are mentioned more than 365 times in Scripture. God has you covered, so in an age of anxiety, you can say goodbye to fear 365 days a year! When it comes to fear of circumstances, Paul gives us three practical ways we can overcome. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Panic Over Nothing
The first thing we read is that we are to panic over nothing. “Be anxious for nothing….” The Greek word used for anxious is merimnao, which is used throughout the Bible. It’s used in Matthew 6 when Jesus tells the disciples not to worry. It’s used in 1 Peter 5:7 when Peter says to cast all anxiety/worry/care on Him because He cares for us. When your life becomes His life, your problems become His problems. There is no reason to worry or fear. When Paul writes Philippians he is in prison facing death. Yet, he says to be anxious for nothing. In every situation – situations of the past, present and future, situations with your marriage, family, health, or finances– worry about nothing. Worry only brings disease and death. It only steals, kills, and destroys.

Pray About Everything
In every situation you can either worry or pray. Paul says that we should pray and make our requests known to God. Prayer is a general term for talking to God. It’s conversation. Petition or requests are more specific. Abraham, Sarah, and Hannah all prayed for a child. Jacob prayed for his children. Moses prayed for water and food. Gideon prayed for a sign. David prayed for deliverance. Hezekiah prayed for healing. There are so many more! You say, “What do I pray for?” Pray for gentleness (Phil. 4:5, Prov. 15:1). Pray for the manifest presence of God. Pray for whatever is concerning you. Prayer is God’s alternative to anxiety.

Praise in All Things
Notice that Paul says we are to do these things with thanksgiving. We should have an attitude of gratitude. We certainly do not rejoice over every circumstance, but we can rejoice in the Lord. We can praise the Lord anyway, despite what we are facing. When something good happens and when something bad happens, the Lord is still worthy of our praise. Verse 7 promises, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus.” The result is the peace of God. It is not natural but supernatural. It is not physical but spiritual. It is not external but internal.

Saying goodbye to fear will do you no good unless you put it into practice. Paul says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9). God is omnipresent. Scripturally, God is everywhere; but you and I know that there are times we sense His presence more than others. Pray for His nearness and for an increased awareness of His presence. Pray He’d help you put these things into practice. It is only “through Christ Jesus” that we can experience peace. 2020 was the year of fear. As you say goodbye to 2020, say goodbye to fear by practicing panicking over nothing, praying about everything, and praising in all things. Additionally, if you need some reminders of His presence, here are some other passages you can read: Ps. 46:1-2, Is. 43:1-2, Is. 41:10, Ps. 34:18, Acts. 23:11, and 1 Tim. 4:16-17.

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