“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Genuine believers will react thankfully to trials and suffering.
Preventive spiritual maintenance is very important. If we are disciplined believers, we’ll practice it and prepare ourselves for any kind of trials and hardships. Then when the unexpected happens, we’ll be able to respond in a godly manner and truly appreciate what the Lord is teaching us.
The attitude expressed in today’s verse is basic and is one of the strongest antidotes to fear and lack of preparation in the face of trials. The apostle Paul affirms an attitude that allows us to call upon God for help in difficulties but does not leave room for doubt, blame, or second-guessing. Those responses reveal an absence of faith and a lack of acceptance of what God has for us.
A prayerful and grateful reaction to God’s tests in our lives, no matter how painful, unexpected, or difficult to understand at the time, results in our receiving His unsurpassed peace. A careful look at Philippians 4:6, along with verse 7—“the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”—proclaims that God’s chief concern for us is not so much specific answers to our every request, but that we know His supernatural peace. We can also glean this principle from the long series of questions Job asked God about Himself. God chose not to answer Job’s questions per se (see Job 38—41) because His purpose was simply that Job know God’s sovereignty and submit to it.
That may be His purpose for us as well. Therefore, the Lord wants us to be prepared for trials and sufferings with a faith-filled, grateful response, one that recognizes He has an ultimate purpose for us (1 Peter 5:10) and remembers His promise that we will receive no trial or temptation we can’t bear (1 Cor. 10:13).
Suggestions for Prayer
- Ask God to help you stay faithful in your reading and study of Scripture so that the preventive maintenance of your soul will be strong.
- Thank the Lord for His peace that is available even in the most difficult circumstances.
- Praise Him for a specific time when that peace was especially comforting to you.
For Further Study
Read Ephesians 2:14-15; 6:15; and 1 Thessalonians 5:23. What important components characterize peace?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.