Talk about a time when you felt like you were following God’s will. What did that look like?
My Story and the Bible Story
I am a worrier by nature. I worry about all kinds of things. I worry about my family and my friends. I worry about safety. I worry about whether an event is going to turn out well and if people are going to show up. I even worry about other people’s problems! When I worry like this, it threatens to steal my joy. It is hard to be joyful when I am worried all the time. Sometimes my worries overwhelm me. There are times when they become too much for me. When that happens, I always remember that I haven’t given my worries to God. And when I finally talk to God about everything I’m worried about, I start to feel better. I realize that God is in control and is far more powerful than I am. I remember that God is always with me. Whenever I am worried and I pray, God always gives me peace.
We are reminded in Philippians about how God wants us to live. In this letter to the church in Philippi, Paul reminds us that God wants us to have peace, to worry less, and to have more joy. And God wants us to work together!
Read Philippians 4:1-9.
Paul says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord” (v. 4). Paul doesn’t say, “Whenever you feel like it, be full of joy” or “When things are going well, be full of joy.” He says, “Always be full of joy.” We should live by being filled with joy. That doesn’t mean we are happy all the time, but it does mean we have joy knowing that God loves us and is always there. Therefore, even in the midst of hard things, we can have joy knowing that God is with us.
Paul also says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace” (vv. 6-7a). Another way we should live is with God’s peace. God doesn’t want us to spend our lives worrying. Doing so overwhelms us and steals our joy. Instead, we are to tell God what’s going on, to give God our worries and fears. God promises to give us peace. That doesn’t mean God will make every situation better, but it does mean we can have peace knowing that God is with us.
Finally, Paul says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (v. 8). Paul reminds us to think about good things. Instead of being focused on everything that is happening around us, we should think about things that are true and right, things that are excellent and worthy of praise. When we are thinking about the things of God, it is much easier to have God’s peace. It’s easy to focus on the terrible things that are happening in our world, but when we spend time with God, God reminds us of what we should focus on. God gives us joy and peace and helps us find ways to share those with others. How should we live? By being full of joy, by giving our worries to God, and by allowing the peace of God to settle our souls. When we do that, we can show others a different way of life: God’s way!
Discussion and Prayer
- Allow each person to share their worries. Then, take time to give each of those worries to God.
- Ask your family members what they think God wants them to think about. What are some things that are true, right, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy?
- How can you remember to be joyful?
- Pray, thanking God for peace and asking God to take away your worries. Pray that you can always be filled with joy.
Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.