Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, NLT
But how, Paul? How does this work in real life? Give us some steps to walk this out, please. Let’s pretend that Paul is thinking, “I’m glad you asked.” because he goes on to say in verse eight, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Joyce Meyer has concluded, and I agree that our battles are fought in our minds — “Fix our thoughts…”
Well, my thoughts don’t stay fixed. How ’bout you? My thoughts are kinda like my hair. I fix it every day, but it doesn’t remain fixed. A big wind can blow it near slap off my head. Even when the wind is calm, I still gotta fix the stuff every morning. It is a daily practice, as is wrangling our thoughts.
So, if a big part of calming our anxiety includes fixing our thoughts, let’s look at a few steps Paul (with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) offers to help us walk on the calm-er path:
- Pray about everything. In the Greek, everything means, everything — all
- Thank God for all He is doing in your life
- Fix our thoughts. This word is an action word. We choose to — meditate, deliberate on, consider, take into account — truth, honor, right not wrong, clean, modest, sacred, excellence, things worthy of our praise
I’m going to add, on the authority of Scripture, memorizing key Bible verses that target our current battle. A few memorized Bible verses targeted toward our current battle is like a good firm-hold hairspray. They help us stay firmly planted when the wind is blowing. How about these (including Philippians 4:6-7 above):
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you. All whose thoughts are fixed on you.” Isaiah 26:3, NLT
Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7, NLT
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3, NLT
What are the results of choosing to take our thoughts captive and commanding them to do something different? We receive God’s peace. A peace so deep and wide, we can never fully understand how it’s happening while we are living in the middle of craziness. A peace that guards our hearts and minds against going toward unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
Less anxiety and more tranquility are possible when we practice fixing our thoughts on things worthy of praise.