In the much-anticipated CSB Tony Evans Study Bible Notes (now available!), one of today’s most influential church leaders presents biblical truth in a way that reaches through the screen and grabs hold.
In his notes on Philippians 4:6–13, for instance, Tony Evans applies the familiar passage to teach dealing with anxiety, how to avoid feeling frustrated when we pray, and more. How many takeaways will you find in just a few short paragraphs?
A moment in which you are plagued by worry is not the time for one of those general prayers for God to bless the world. To deal with anxiety, make sure your petitions are precise. Get real with God.
One of the reasons we don’t keep our peace is that we tend to dwell on the things that are set in opposition to the peace we’re asking for. If we continue to entertain messages that work against our peace, anxiety will soon return. [/pullquote]
Prayer can often feel frustrating—like when you go to a soda machine, put in your money, punch the button, and nothing comes out. But thinking of it in those terms causes us to miss how prayer works. God wants us to make requests with thanksgiving. Give thanks, not for the problem itself, but for the God you are inviting into your specific problem. Offering thanks is a demonstration of faith in God’s goodness and provision despite what you see.
4:7 When you pray as instructed in 4:6, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [you] in Christ Jesus. In other words, you’ll experience calm in the midst of chaos. You will know God heard your prayer, not necessarily because the problem is solved, but because of the peace that God gives you. It’s as if God puts soldiers and sentries around your feelings and thoughts.
4:8 We don’t want to lose the peace God grants us in the next hour or the next day. So to prevent that, Paul says we’re to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, and if there is any moral excellence and … anything praiseworthy, we’re to focus our attention there. One of the reasons we don’t keep our peace is that we tend to dwell on the things that are set in opposition to the peace we’re asking for. If we continue to entertain messages that work against our peace, anxiety will soon return. We must, therefore, ask ourselves if we are able to praise God for the things that we are dwelling on. If we can’t, then we’ll soon lose the peace God has given us.
4:9 The Philippians were to handle things the way they had seen Paul handle things. He was in prison, but he was praising God instead of worrying. One of the purposes of the church is to connect believers with other kingdom-minded people. We need support, and we need good examples. When we’re rejoicing and praying and dwelling on the right things and watching the right people, we don’t just have the peace of God, we have the God of peace. We get his peace, and we get his presence.
4:10–12 Contentment means being satisfied and at rest about where God has you, despite what’s happening around you. It’s not natural or automatic; it must be learned. God teaches us contentment through the ups and downs of changing circumstances. He wants us to learn to depend on him and his divine enabling no matter what.
4:13 Many times, it seems that God doesn’t come through for us until we can’t take one more step. Then he provides at just the right time, strengthening us. The lesson of contentment is most effectively learned during times of suffering or need.
The above is excerpted from CSB Tony Evans Study Bible Notes. Get yours today for lessons on kingdom living, devotional thoughts, inspirational articles, and more that explain God’s Word in a fresh way.
The title of this post is the addition of the editor. The author’s views do not necessarily represent those of Faithlife.