Strength to Meet my Trials

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Daily Challenges and Distractions

Every day has its challenges. Some days are good, and some are not. Depending on where you live, all your days may seem to be bad, or they may seem to be all good, or they may be a mixture of both. And, of course, this is speaking solely from a human standpoint. But it is certainly true that some people have it far worse than others, and some people appear to have it so much better than others, but appearances can be deceiving, too.

But the point here is that life, in general, has its ups and downs. Living in flesh bodies in a world full of evil with a devil who is after those of us who walk in faithfulness to our Lord has its daily challenges, for certain. For we have an enemy who is like a roaring lion prowling around seeking whom he may devour. So we have to be on the lookout and have our guard up daily so that we are not taken by surprise by the enemy of our souls.

Satan is on the rampage seeking whom he may devour, so we can’t get lazy about our Christian walks of faith. We can’t play with fire and expect not to get burned. We have to be careful about what we get curious about, too, and where that may lead us. And if you spend much time on the internet at all, or on social media, there are tons of things to get curious about being thrown at us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is amazing!

So, if we believe God has us on social media for a godly purpose we do have to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and we do have to put on that armor of God daily with which to fight off the devil’s schemes against us, and we have to exercise much godly discipline with regard to the things we click on, and with regard to the things we allow in our feeds (social media talk here). And we have to not let curiosity get the best of us.

There are just so many distractions on the internet that we never faced in our younger years. Yes, we had television, and that, too, can be a distraction. We got rid of ours 14 years ago. Best decision ever! And so we must be people of God who are disciplined, and especially if we are on the internet we need to be purposeful in what we do on there so that we are not led into any rabbit holes. For there are many of them!

Don’t Be Anxious

Now, one of the biggest weapons that our enemy is going to throw at us is fearmongering. And believe me, this is everywhere in the news and on social media, and it is on the internet just about everywhere. Angst seems to be what is being fed us on a daily basis. They (the powers that be) are always trying to get us afraid of this or that. They want us worrying constantly. For that is how they will conquer us if they can keep us constantly afraid.

But we who follow Jesus Christ with our lives should not be people who are constantly worrying about this or that. We should be people of faith who put our trust in the Lord in all things, and who believe that he is fully sovereign over all that he has made and that he is working things out in our lives ultimately for what is best for us, even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. And if we begin to feel fear we should immediately reject it.

Instead of fearing our circumstances or the “what ifs” of life we should be people of faith who are trusting the Lord with the circumstances of our lives. But this may be a daily battle for us, meaning that daily we may be resisting the devil and fleeing temptation to fear and putting on the armor of faith, for like I said, fearmongering is pretty much everywhere you look now. And I am not including in here the fear of the Lord. Totally different!

But let’s take a moment to discuss that here. The fear of the Lord is a good thing and it is something that all of us who believe in Jesus should be putting into practice in our daily lives. And this is what should keep us from going the wrong direction and from falling into sin. Many people calling themselves Christians these days do not know what it is to fear the Lord and so they have no consciences about sinning against the Lord, either.

But this fear is the opposite of worrying and being anxious. This is about putting our trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not worrying about what life is going to throw at us next. And this fear is about believing God for who he is and believing what his word teaches and giving him and his word honor and respect and submission and obedience. This is about taking God at his word and then behaving accordingly.

Prayer and Supplication

We who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives are to be people of prayer who take our concerns to the Lord in prayer and who lay them at his feet, and who then trust him with our circumstances rather than us fearing and fretting over our circumstances. But prayer is not some formula we follow or some routine we do for a certain period of time each day. Prayer is open communication between us and God all day every day.

We who are following Jesus Christ with our lives should be able to communicate with our Lord anytime throughout the day no matter what else we are doing. For we can pray while driving a car or while doing dishes or laundry or while taking care of small children. And that is because prayer should be like Jesus is right there with us standing next to us in the kitchen while we do the dishes and we just talk with him and him with us.

And when we have this kind of open communication between us and the Lord, not only can we talk with him whenever we need to, but we can also hear his gentle voice speaking to our hearts throughout the day guiding us in our decision making and in our thinking and in our actions. For remember what the Scriptures teach. It is us who are being led by the Spirit of God who are the children of God. So please be listening for his voice, but then test the voices you hear in your head against the Scriptures, too.

Anyway, when we talk through our circumstances with our Lord in our daily conversations with him, which is what prayer is, and as we learn to trust him with all of our circumstances, and to believe in his sovereignty, and as we learn to yield to him in all things and to not go our own stubborn way, then he fills us with his peace. And peace is wonderful! And it is a peace that is beyond comprehension. And that is because it is of God and not of man.

So, when life throws curve balls at you, instead of fearing, pray, and listen to the Lord, and follow him. Do not be anxious, but trust the Lord with your circumstances, and then do what he says to do. And when Satan throws his darts of fear at you, resist him, and fight back with the truth of God’s word and with your faith in the sovereignty of God. And believe the Lord Jesus to work all things for good in your life, as He defines “good.”

Day by Day

Hymn lyrics by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg, 1865
tr. by Andrew L. Skoog
Music by Oskar Ahnfelt, 1872

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

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