Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety 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 passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what faith is? We often talk about parts of faith, for it is sometimes helpful to look at faith in parts – we say it is faith, when – you know something – you accept it as true – and you trust and rely on that – together, that is what we say constitutes faith. And to help us remember this – we learn the Bible passage – Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I believe that our problem is not that we don’t know what faith is – rather, our problem is that we don’t want to live by faith. Abraham believed God, when he was 99 years old, that although had been married many years without a child – that if God said he would be the father of many nations, then it would happen, Sarah on the other hand, laughed. So we do not talk about the faith of Sarah, but the faith of Abraham, and we remember that in speaking of Abraham’s faith, the sciptures say – it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
When we were young, we often wondered how long until we get there – when we traveled, our parents showed us the map, showed us where we were, showed us where we came from, showed us where we were going – and we could follow the progress as we watched the map – somehow that made the trip seem shorter.
Why do we have trouble living by faith? Its not because we lack a sense of direction, God has given us plenty of direction – we even have a map, to show the way, in his word. But the trouble with living by faith is summarized in the little phrase - Have no anxiety about anything. – These days it seems that just about all of life can be filled with anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune. – These are the what if’s of life.
The problem is that if you life is filled with anxious concern, there is no room, nor is there occasion to rejoice in the Lord. If there is no room for rejoicing, then worship is just another burden, something you’ve got to do, another debt that must be paid.
So, what are you to do with the concerns that do come up? Bring them to God, that’s why he taught us to pray, so that we really could cast our burdens upon the Lord. Just remember that when you bring something to God in prayer – don’t just visit it with God – that is – to take it to God and then bring it back with you – but – leave it with God, and trust that he will take care of it.
That is how the peace of God can remain with you – for when you have emptied out all your anxiety – then there is room in your life for the peace of God – don’t hang on to your troubles – surrender them to God, leave them at the cross – and receive God’s peace.
For while some may have sung – they’ll know we are Christian’s by our love – the Scripture says - Let all men know your forbearance. – that is – patient self control – for that is one of the fruits of faith – something you don’t have to hope for – it just happens, as faith grows.