Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Calm Down! Cheer Up!

Great Advice or Pop Psychology?

I've heard these two phrases most of my life. But are they biblical? If you've read my previous article on recovering from weariness (click here), you know I'm looking for ways to bring newness to spiritual disciplines that have become routine. So today I'm quoting from The Message Remix because it sums up truth in precise meaty phrases that "cut to the chase." I found the following verses that relate to our title:

Philippians 3: 1: Be glad in God.

Philippians 4: 1: Don't waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Philippians 4:4: Celebrate God all day, every day.

Philippians 4:6&7: Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.

Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Aha! So "Calm down. Cheer up!" IS good advice. It's just incomplete. It doesn't tell us how to be calm and cheerful. But Philippians 4 does: it's all "in God."

Stay in Him

We see from verses 6 and 7 that we stay in Him by noticing all the good things He does for us through the day(s) and valuing them to the point of celebration. When situations come up that worry us, we don't hold on to worry and try to work things out in our own minds but we ask Him for what is needed, thanking Him for the invitation to bring our concern to Him, thanking Him that when we come in obedience to His word, He hears us.

How long to pray on one specific issue? Philippians 4:6 and 7 give us the answer: Until Christ's peace displaces worry at the center of our lives.

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