Dear brothers and sisters,
During the course of this series, we’ve talked about worry; and recall that we need to believe that worry is a choice as Jesus states when he says “do not worry” (Matthew 6:31,34); and that worry is not merely something that we just fall into and cannot have some control of. Jesus reminds us that worry does not add anything in our life, and he gives two strategies to handle worry: to seek first God’s kingdom; and to live in the present moment. Last week we looked at how we can seek first God’s kingdom through prayer, specifically prayer of praise, petition, and thanksgiving. Today we address how to live in the present. Paul says to the Philippians: I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity. The Philippians were funding parts of Paul’s ministry, and they had recently renewed that commitment. Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient (Philippians 4:10-11). Their lack of funding did not affect his soul – he was “self-sufficient” or content either way. When it comes to content in Christian life, there is a difference between a righteous discontent with sin, and a discontent that leads to worry. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things, I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need (4:12). The “secret” that Paul is speaking about is contentment in Christ. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me (4:13); other translations say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul is saying that we can tap into that power source, that strength. Problems are going to come our way, but Christ will give us the strength. The saying, “God doesn’t give us anything that we can’t handle” is only partially true, because honestly we are going to be overwhelmed at times, even driven to our knees. Yet even then, we need not worry, because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Remember when you feel overwhelmed, that Christ is your “power supply.” Questions for Small Groups:
If worry does not add time to our life or do any good, then why do we do it?
When have you experienced God’s strength in helping you past difficult circumstances?
What does it mean to find our strength in Christ?
Read aloud Philippians 4:11-12. Do you want that kind of contentment? What would it be like to live with that kind of contentment and confidence?
How does accepting the inevitability of problems help diffuse us of worry?
What would your life look like if you trusted God with your tomorrow and did all you could today?
What worries you right now and keeps you up at night?