Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Philippians 4 Reflection

God has been teaching me through His Word, His Spirit and His body (the brothers and sisters in my life) how I can fight against anxiety, which can lead to depression. The teaching flows from the basic truth that God is sovereign. Whatever I experience in life, I can be assured it’s all part of His plan. 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

My anxiety is born out of my frustration with people—I feel guilty when I get frustrated with people. A couple of weeks ago I was encouraged to hear a respected church leader say, "I can't love all people. Jesus doesn't expect me to love all people." Here's what he was saying: I may not be able to love certain people—on my own. I might not be able to stop myself from being frustrated with certain people—on my own. I may not be able to forgive certain people—on my own. But through Christ I can. 

If I’m not careful I easily get caught up in my mind with people I allow to frustrate me, or who anger me or who I perceive to be antagonistic towards me. When I give my mind liberties to dwell negatively on certain situations and people I can get anxious and depressed. I won’t act out publicly, but inwardly I can experience some emotionally grueling struggles. 

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."

I’ve come to the realization that I can’t think right, lead right, or minister right on my own. When the anxieties are felt I begin to pray truth:
“Father, this is part of your plan for me and those around me. If I have any thing to learn or to change in this situation please reveal it to me through your Holy Spirit. If there are others that have something to learn, let them know through your Spirit. Empower me to think right, lead right and minister right in this situation.” 
"Focus on the true, noble, just, pure, love, good report, virtuous and praiseworthy things."

I finish out my prayer (or sometimes I begin it this way) by spending time in praise of Him for the many good things He has done and is doing. The result: Anxiety dissipated, depression avoided.  

I’ve experienced the Lord growing me in this perspective. I strive to surrender to Him so that His work in me and in others is able to take place.  

If you are experiencing similar difficutlies: Hang in there by clinging to the Lord and what He has led you to do. He will take care of you and the result will be fruit, powerful prayer and fullness of joy (that’s a little John 15 thrown in for added emphasis). 

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