Don't Worry Be Happy
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in Philippians ch4.
PHP 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love & long for, my joy & crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! 2 I plead with Euodia & I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3 Yes, & I ask you, loyal yokefellow, n help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement & the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 9 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.
I. DON’T WORRY (Php 4:1-9): Paul had much to worry about: the church at Philippi had trouble – Euodia & Syntyche were disputing & it was causing division in the church; along with that, Paul was dealing with division in the church at Rome as well (Php 1:15-17); add to this the impending possibility of his own death & he had worries indeed! How can we have victory over worry? Greek, “anxious” (v 6) = “to be pulled in different directions” (our hopes pull us in one direction & our fears pull us in another direction until we’re pulled apart). “worry” (Old English, “to strangle”) à worry has definite consequences: headaches, neck pains, backaches, ulcers, digestive disorders, & even balance & coordination.
A. What is worry?
1. a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, or dread.
2. usually related to negative thoughts about what might happen in the future
3. worriers live in the future – spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the future & then fearing the worst
4. the NT word used for worry means “to be anxious, to be distracted, to have a divided mind”
5. We worry about threats, choices, past experiences, & future events
B. Spiritually, worry = wrong thinking (the mind) + wrong feelings (the heart) about circumstances, people & things. The only antidote to worry is a peaceful mind that only comes from God (v7 & v9). To have such a peaceful mind, we must meet the conditions God has laid down:
1. Pray (Php 4:6-7) involves three components:
(1) Prayer is making requests known to God
(2) It carries the idea of adoration, devotion & worship
(3) The first step toward conquering worry is to get alone with God & worship Him (adoration is what’s needed)
(4) See the greatness & majesty of God & realize that He’s big enough to solve our problems
b) Adjuration (Supplication)
(1) An earnest sharing of our needs & problems (not half-hearted insincere praying)
(2) We’re not heard for “much speaking” (MT6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.)
(3) We must realize that the Father wants us to be earnest in our asking (MT 7:7 "Ask & it will be given to you; seek & you will find; knock & the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; & to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!)
(4) Supplication is not a matter of carnal energy but of spiritual intensity (COL 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you & a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature & fully assured.)
c) Appreciation (Thanksgiving)
(1) Giving thanks to God (COL 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.)
(2) A sad account (LK 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria & Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, 10 men who had leprosy n met him. They stood at a distance 13 & called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet & thanked him--& he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other 9? 18 Was no one found to return & give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise & go; your faith has made you well.") à we’re eager to ask, but slow to appreciate
d) Paul encourages us to “worry about nothing”; but “pray about everything”
e) The result is the peace of God that guards your heart & mind – Daniel’s reaction to the king’s edict is a prime example (Da 6 – King Darius issued a decree that no one was to pray to any god besides him for 30 days & Daniel went home & set about praying as always)
2. Ponder (Php 4:8)
a) Peace involves the heart AND the mind (ISA 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.)
b) The way we think affects the way we feel & before long our heart & mind are pulled apart & we’re strangled by worry
c) Thoughts are real & powerful – even though they can’t be seen, weighed or measured
d) We must bring our thoughts into captivity (2CO 10:5 We demolish arguments & every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, & we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.)
e) This verse details those things we should think about as Christians:
(1) Whatever is true
(a) A recent survey reported that 8% of the things people worried about were legitimate – while 92% were either imaginary, never happened, or involved matters over which they had no control any way.
(b) Satan is a liar (Jn 8:44) & he wants to control our minds with his lies (2Co 11:3) – whenever we believe a lie, Satan takes over!
(c) The Holy Spirit controls our minds through truth (1Jn 5:6 – the Spirit testifies – the Spirit of truth)
(2) Whatever is noble (honest & just / worthy of respect & right)
(a) There are many things that aren’t respectable & Christians shouldn’t think on these things
(b) i.e., we shouldn’t focus our attention on dishonorable things & permit them to control our thoughts
(3) Whatever is pure, lovely, admirable (of good report)
(a) Moral purity
(b) Beautiful / attractive
(c) Worthy of talking about / appealing
(d) High & noble thoughts
(4) Whatever is excellent (possesses virtue) or praiseworthy
(a) If it has virtue, it will motivate us to do better
(b) If it is praiseworthy, it is worth sharing with others
(5) Compare this list to (PS 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure & altogether righteous.): How can you detect wrong thoughts? Fill your heart & mind with the Word of God (PS 119:165 Great peace have they who love your law, & nothing can make them stumble.)
3. Practice (Php 4:9)
a) You cannot separate outward action & inward attitude (“as a man thinks in his heart; so is he”)
b) Right living is a necessary condition for experiencing the peace of God
c) “learned & received” à it is one thing to learn a truth & quite another to receive it inwardly & make it a part of our inner self (1Th 2:13 – “it ‘works in’ those who believe”)
d) “heard & seen” à Paul not only taught the Word, he lived it so others could see the truth in his life
e) “the peace of God” is one test of whether we’re living in the will of God (Col 3:15): If we’re walking with the Lord, then the peace of God & the God of peace exercise influence over our hearts. If we do something wrong / out of His will, His peace is removed
There is no need to worry – besides, worry is a sin. With the peace of God to guard us & the God of peace to guide us, why worry?!
PHP 4:10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, & I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving & receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again & again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment & even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God & Father be glory for ever & ever. Amen. 21 Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22 All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. n
II. BE HAPPY (Php 4:10-23): There are three spiritual resources God has given us to give us contentment:
A. The Providence of God (Php 4:10)
1. The world is not some vast natural machine put in motion thousands of years ago which even God Himself cannot interrupt the motion of the wheels
2. The reality is Scripture teaches us that God providentially works both in nature & in the lives of His people
3. God not only sees the future, but also works in advance to arrange circumstances & situations for the fulfilling of His purposes (e.g., Joseph & his brothers à Ge 45:5, 50:20)
4. Life is not a series of accidents, but rather is a series of appointments (Ps 32:8; Jn 10:4)
5. The providence of God is a wonderful source of contentment
B. The Power of God (Php 4:11-13)
1. happiness does not depend upon circumstances or things, but something deeper than poverty or prosperity
2. Prosperity has done more damage than good in lives of many believers (Rev 3:17)
3. “learned” / “instructed” (v 12) = “initiated into the secret” – a word used by pagan religions to refer to their inner secrets.
4. Paul was initiated into the inner secret of contentment in spite of poverty or prosperity
5. It was the power of Christ within him that gave him spiritual contentment
6. As with the roots of a tree, the most important part of a Christian’s life is that part only God can see – drawing upon the deep resources of God by faith so we won’t fail against the pressures of life
7. (v 13) à the Christian has all the power within that he needs to be adequate for the demands of life – we need only release that power by faith
8. (Jn 15:1-11): His “branches” (Ezk 15)
a) Of itself, a branch is weak & useless – good for either bearing or burning, but not for building. It can’t produce its own life; but must draw life from the vine. For us, our communion with Christ through the Spirit makes it possible for us to bear fruit.
a. union & communion: An emphasis of the relationship between Christ & the believer
1. the body & its members (1Co 12) à a member cut off from the body will die
2. the bride & Bridegroom (Eph 5:25-33) à the marriage creates the union, but it takes daily love & devotion to maintain the communion
3. the sheep & Shepherd (Jn 10) à The shepherd brings sheep into the flock, but the sheep must follow the shepherd in order to have provision & protection
b. abide: to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in & through us & produce fruit.
1. the Word + confession (Jn 15:3)
2. obeying because we love Him (Jn 15:9-10)
C. The Promise of God (Php 4:14-20): Paul thanks the church at Philippi for their generous gift & compares that gift to two very familiar things:
1. An investment (vv 14-17): Paul looked upon their gift as an investment that would pay rich spiritual dividends. The church shared materially with Paul & the Lord rewarded them spiritually
2. A sacrifice (v 18): Paul also looked upon their gift as a spiritual sacrifice, laid on the altar to the glory of God
a) “spiritual sacrifices” (1Pt 2:5): We don’t bring animal sacrifices as they did in the OT; but we do have sacrifices of our own to offer Him (we offer these sacrifices through Jesus Christ, for only then are they acceptable to God à if we do any of this for our own pleasure or glory, then it won’t be accepted as a Spiritual sacrifice):
a. our bodies (Ro 12:1-2)
b. our praise (Heb 13:15)
c. our works (Heb 13:16)
d. our materials (Php 4:14-20)
e. our converts (Ro 15:16)
b) (Mal 1:6-14): We need to present the very finest we have to the Lord
D. A Worry-Free Mind comes from living under the right disciplines:
1. Praying with adoration, adjuration, & appreciation
2. Pondering on good & noble things
3. Practicing what we preach each & every day
E. A Content Mind comes from looking to the right resources:
1. The Providence of God – He is in control & nothing takes Him by surprise!
2. The Power of God – He is greater than any circumstance you may face!
3. The Promise of God – He will see you through!
And it’s only in the power of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ & in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that you can truly sing: “DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!”