Well, hello, everyone. My name is Ron, and I’m one of the pastors here at the bridge church. And we’re so glad that you’re watching with us today.
We’re in a message series that I believe is so very important. The message series is called Anxious For Nothing and the name of today’s message is Praying Through The Pain.
Now, we’ve been starting out each week with a passage from Philippians chapter four. But before we get into that, I just want to acknowledge something that many of you may not have thought about. But it’s absolutely true.
Often times the things that we’re struggling with the most the battles that we are going through our battles that no one else is aware of. So often, the battles that we’re fighting our battles in our own minds. And we often show on the outside, that we’re confident that we’re strong, but on the inside, secretly, we’re insecure, and we’re struggling.
We often look like we’re strong, but the truth of the matter is that we feel weak. And we can put a smile on when we’re around other people. But when we get home and we’re by ourselves, suddenly we’re filled with anxs, we’re filled with fear, we’re filled with anxiety, we’re overwhelmed. There’s a heaviness, there’s an insecurity. There’s a fear, there’s a dread.
So what do we do when we find ourselves struggling with anxiety? Well, our texts that’s driving us through this message series is Philippians chapter four. And I want to read it to you again, today. And I want to remind you, as you experience the power of God’s word, that this was the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit writing to his friends in Philippi.
But he was writing from a Roman prison, he was chained up 24 hours a day to prison guards, he was awaiting trial, he did not know what the outcome was going to be. If there was ever someone who had the right to be anxious, it would have been Paul, in this moment.
And under this type of duress, here’s the words of power of life of truth that he wrote. He said this, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Remember what we learned last week? The Lord is at hand. Why does the Lord whisper? Well, he whispers because he’s close, the Lord is near. Then the Apostle Paul says, do not be anxious about anything. Another translation puts it this way, be anxious for nothing. Don’t be anxious about anything. But do what?
Listen to what he says here. But in everything, no matter what’s going on, no matter what you’re battling, no matter what you’re facing, if you’re worried about your job if you’re worried about the economy if your teenagers are freaking you out, no matter what it is that you’re going through, in everything, he says, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. And here’s what you do. You let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In every situation, every situation, by prayer and petition, we present our requests to God. And so I want to start out today by doing just that.
Let’s bow our heads and let’s pray together. Father, we come to you right now. And we just acknowledge our need for you. For many of us in this moment, in life, we’re just overwhelmed by things. Whatever it is that we’re struggling with today, God I pray that we would lean into you that we would listen for your whisper and that we would be filled with your peace now speak to us today. Through your word, bring us to your truth. Let us experience you today and allow us to grow in our faith, in our strength, and in our hope through you. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever given thought to exactly what its anxiety is? The answer to that is very complex. There is no easy way to explain it. At times anxiety can be physiological, it can be emotional, it can be situational. But I would argue it is always spiritual.
Because anxiety is so very complicated, we’re going to take a holistic approach to it. But we’re always going to start by praying. Now, we may also seek professional help, we may go to a doctor, we may get advice about supplements or about changing our diet. We may, under professional care, take certain medication, we may seek counseling, but we’re always going to take a holistic approach.
It’s over the sake of our conversation today, I want to focus completely on the spiritual side, because I can’t prescribe medication to you, nor would you want me to prescribe medication to you.
But what I can do is I can offer you a spiritual prescription that I believe will be very helpful to you today. So what is anxiety?
Well, listen to how pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Church explains what anxiety is. He writes this, how many of you have ever had one of those annoying red lights come on in your car, that indicates there’s trouble? Any of you have had that? Have you had that? Yeah, well, that gives me anxiety any time that check engine light comes on. What is the check engine light? The check engine light is not the problem. The check engine light signals that there’s a problem somewhere else. The signal indicates that if you’re smart, you should take the car into the manufacturer, take it to the one who made it because that’s the one who created it. And they’re the ones that are going to know how to fix it. The light is not the problem, the light is a signal indicating you should take it to someone who knows how to address the situation.
What is anxiety? Among many things, anxiety is a signal alerting you that it’s time to pray.
Let me say that again. It’s the signal, it’s the alert, it’s the indicator that something else is not right. That you would be wise to go to the manufacturer or to go to the creator, go to the one who made you. Anxiety is the signal alerting you that it is time to pray.
In other words, if it’s big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about.
If it’s on your mind, it’s on God’s heart.
Be anxious for nothing but in every situation, take your request to God. If you’re worried about an upcoming doctor’s appointment, take it to God pray about it. If you’re worried about it, the decision that you need to make pray about it. If you’re worried about whether or not you’re you’re just going to be able to hang out with your friends again, like you used to pray about it. If you’re worried about your kids doing school online, or hybrid learning, or whatever it looks like, pray about it. If it’s on your mind, it’s on God’s heart. Take your requests to God.
Some of you might be thinking, that sounds good, Ron, but I don’t even really know how to pray. I mean, I’ve never learned that I’ve never done that. I don’t even know where to start.
Let me just say to you right now, there is no specific formula. God just wants to hear from you. He wants you to come to him as you are and there’s no special words that you have to use. You can just communicate it in any way that comes natural for you. Just bring it to God. Have a conversation with God.
You know, I think about my own kids. I have four children. And I will tell you, they are drastically different. If you’ve ever been around my kids, you will know that this is true. I mean, they are so unique from each other. It’s hard to believe they came from the same parents, but they did.
And you know, each of them communicates differently. And how they come to me when they have a problem and how we talk and how they express that is very different.
But me as a father, how they come to me doesn’t really concern me. What I’m most concerned with is that they bring their needs to me so I can help. Believe it or not, as a dad, I want to help. I don’t want them to know that but I do. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel that I have a place in their life. And in oftentimes, there’s maybe something that I can do.
Well, in God’s situation, he is always able to help. He cares about us, and He wants us to present our needs to Him. He wants us to let our needs be made known to him.
I love the way that Peter talked about how to handle anxiety. Peter’s, a guy that probably did have anxiety, if you look the way he lived his life. And this is what he said, were to do when we find ourselves anxious.
He said in First Peter, chapter five, verses six and seven, he wrote these words, humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand. Now for a moment, I want you to focus on the words that he used, he says, under God’s mighty hand. And we’re gonna come back to this and in a few minutes. Under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. And then he said, cast all your anxiety. Do you feel anxious? Do you feel a weight? Are you afraid? Remember, we’re going to approach this holistically. But we’re also going to take it to God, we’re going to cast our anxiety on Him because He cares for us. What do you do? You Humble yourselves and you pray.
Now, for me, there’s been so many times in my life where I have been overwhelmed by things. There have been moments where the bills were piling up. And honestly, Michelle and I, we didn’t know how we were going to put food on the table.
Maybe you’ve been there. We didn’t know how we were going to make it. And I can remember going for long walks. And as we would talk and as we would walk, we would also pray.
And at that time, even though we were filled with so much anxiety, the only thing that would lift our spirits and take us out of that darkness was to have a conversation with God.
And what we learned through time is, as we did that, as we brought our knees before him, first of all, we felt better, because he began to fill us with His peace. And ultimately, he proved himself faithful. It was moments those were moments that ultimately ended in triumph and victory because we saw that our heavenly father was a good father and that he was going to take care of his children.
What do we do when we are filled with anxiety? We go to our Heavenly Father. Remember anxiety, it’s a signal alerting us. It’s in signal alerting you that it’s time to go to the one who cares about you. It’s time to seek God in prayer. Do you find yourself feeling down? Do you feel depleted? Do you feel like there’s too much going on? There’s too much weighing on you and you find yourself sinking?
Well, guess what Peter can relate. He says Humble yourself. Therefore, under the mighty hand of God. I love this picture. That God may lift you up. That will mean so much more to you if you recognize who was writing these words.
Peter was writing this. Peter was the one who was in the boat and saw Jesus walking out on the water. He was the one who stepped out of the boat and begin to walk towards Jesus. And he was the one who was walking on water when suddenly he saw the wind, he saw the waves and he began to be filled with anxiety. Anxiety took over. He took his eyes off Jesus and he started to sink. And then what did Jesus do for Peter? Jesus didn’t say, your good for nothing faithless guy. What’s wrong with you? No, Jesus reached out with his hand.
Did you catch that?
He reached out with his head, humble yourselves under his mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. When you go before God in prayer, if you’re sinking, perhaps the problem isn’t that you’re sinking. The problem is that you’re not reaching out to his hand. There is someone who is there for you. If you reach out to him, he will lift you up in due time.
This is why when we pray when we worship, we often lift our hands. And we think about it. What do lifted hands represent? What do they symbolize? Well, they symbolize victory. Yes, we won. They also symbolize surrender. Okay, I surrender. In this case, as we pray as we surrender, as we lift our hands, we are both surrendering and celebrating that God is with us that He cares for us, that he is comforting us that he’s strengthening us that he is with us.
So what do we need to do? If you’re battling with anxiety, there’s a cycle. There’s always a cycle and the cycle looks like this. What do you do when you feel anxious? Well, you feel that anxiousness, you feel that weight, you feel that anxious, you feel that dread, you feel worry take over?
So what do you do? You try to control it. I’ll make this happen. I’ll get her in the shape, I’ll fix him, I’ll control that. You try to take control. The problem is, the more we try to control the more we realize that we’re not in control. And what happens is we fear that we’ll lose more control. And the more we try to control, the more we try to control and the more anxiety we begin to feel.
So what do we need to do? When we start to enter into this cycle of anxiety? We need to break the cycle. We need to shatter the cycle. So how do we do this? We recognize this truth. we internalize it, we embrace it, we live it, we let it sink into our soul. We let it heal our mind. We let it bring comfort.
What do we do? We recognize the truth that you don’t always have the power to control but you always have the power to surrender. You can always surrender. You can’t fix everything. You can’t change everything.
Medicine won’t always fix it. counseling won’t always fix it. Changing of circumstances won’t always fix it. We can’t always fix everything. But we can surrender anything that is a burden on us to our God, we can take it to God.
Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Cast in the Greek, it’s a term that means to throw, it means release, it means surrender, It means let it go.
In other words, we’re gonna say, God, I give this to you. And not okay, God, I give this to you, and then 15 minutes later, we take it back. No, this is God. You are sovereign. You are always good. You are always perfect. You are always higher. You are always working in all things to bring about good to those who love you, God.
And you’re bringing it to those who are called according to your purpose. We believe God that no weapon formed against us will prosper. We believe God that the devil is a liar. We believe God, you’re going before us and you are working with us. And God, we cast our cares on you.
What’s weighing on you today? wherever you’re watching this right now, maybe you’re at home alone, maybe you’re there with your family, maybe there’s friends around? What’s really going on inside of you? what weight are you carrying? What is it that’s just putting so much fear and doubt in your heart? Maybe it’s your future. Maybe it’s your job, your finances, your marriage, your children. What they’re doing or what other people are going to think. Maybe you’ve got aging parents or maybe it’s your health.
Whatever it is, whatever it is that that’s keeping you up at night, whatever it is that’s filling you with that anxiety. Remember, it is a signal alerting you that it is time to pray. Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation with prayer and supplication, we let our requests be made known to God.
We present our requests to God in the promises that the peace from heaven, the peace of God. Notice, this isn’t a peace that comes from this world. It’s not something that this world can ever give you, therefore, this world can’t take it away. This is a peace that comes from God that will guard your hearts and your minds. in Christ Jesus.
Your anxiety is a signal to you that it’s time to pray, it’s time to bring that to God to stop trying to handle it on your own shop, trying to work it out on your own and bring it to Him.
So right now, would you have a conversation with God? To have a moment with him, stop all the activity, whatever else you might be doing, as you’re watching this. Just have a brief but honest conversation with God. And whatever it is that’s taking you down this road of anxiety, that starting this cycle of anxiety, would you just let that be made known to Him?
I want to pray for you right now as you do that.
God, I thank you. I thank you for the words that Peter wrote, that tell us what to do with our anxiety that we can cast it on you. We can surrender it to you, God. We don’t have to hold it, we don’t have to handle it, we don’t have to wrestle with it. God, we can just bring it and lay it at your feet. God, that’s really hard for us to do. So we need your help. We want to give it to you and we want to leave it with you today. So whatever it is that those that are listening in right now, that they’re struggling with, whatever burden they’re carrying, God, I pray that today, this would be a moment, this would be a time of complete surrender, where finally they would fully give it to you and just trust you with it. Whatever you’re gonna do with it, God that they would just trust you, they would give it to you and stop handling it on their own.
Whatever it is, God help us to do that. Already, as we lift our hands in surrender, God we are simultaneously lifting our hands in victory because we know when we release those things to you, God, we experience your powerfully demonstrated in our lives. And this is the only place that we can be where we can really have the strength and the peace and the hope that we longed for. So right now in this moment, God we surrender. And we celebrate the victory that we can have in you. We pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Well, thank you again so much for joining us this morning. Just a couple of things before we close out the service.
I just want to say if there’s something that you are struggling with that you’d like to share with us, and we would love to know how we can pray for you. We have a prayer team that takes every request that comes into our church and daily, they seek God and they pray for those needs. So you don’t have to be bringing your burdens to God alone. Others want to come alongside you. And so you can use the digital Connect card that’s in the comment or description section, just click that link and share that with us.
Also, if if you’ve made some kind of faith decision. Maybe today’s the day that you just finally say, God, I’m handing you the keys to my life. I’m surrendering myself to you, God, I want to follow you. I want to accept what you did for me on the cross, I want to accept your gift of salvation. And today is the day that you surrender your life to God. If you’ve made that faith step today, we would love to hear that to celebrate that and to help resource you as you begin this new journey with God.
Also, I’d encourage all of you out there to just continue to be generous, you can see all the information on how to give in the comment description section, click on that, and you give online or text to give whatever it is that’s most efficient for you. What’s most important is that we continue to be generous. We want to share out of the abundance that God’s given and help those around us who are in need.
I’m so glad. In fact, on Saturday, this week, we had a team that was out at The Recovery Advocates, 5K Run, and they were out handing out water bottles and smiles under masks. Just being an encouragement to people there. Just being generous. You know, the reason we can do things like that out in the community that we can bring those resources and share those with people is because you’ve been faithful in your generosity. You know what we want to do ultimately there and everywhere we go is we want to bring the love the hope of Jesus to this world. And so by you being generous, it helps us to do that. So thank you so much for your faithfulness. I encourage you to continue to do that consistently each week.
Well, thank you so much for being with us today. We have been the church here, now let’s be the church out there.