“Stop worrying about even one thing” (Phil. 4:6a, Wuest)
When we obey Philippians 4:6, the heart and mind are garrisoned, protected by God's thoughts toward us - which are always thoughts of peace (Jeremiah 29:11) Click To Tweet
J.B.Phillips writes it like this: “Don’t worry over anything whatever”; and the Amplified states it “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,”. Another translation reads “Stop being anxious about even one thing!” These words “worry”, “fret”, “anxious” are translated from the Greek verb “merimnao” of which one definition is “to have a distracting care”; and the word “distract” means to draw away from. Putting all of this together we have an accurate definition of “anxious” that we’ve heard from Pastor Scibelli: “to have a mind that is divided and alienated from the Mind of Christ”. In such a state, of course, the emotions respond to this double mind and the believer (living in unbelief at the moment) lives in a self-image that is outside of who God says he/she is. Anxiety also cuts off a person from experiencing the Heart of the Father and he/she is left with a divided heart. Furthermore, the eye (perception) is out of focus and no longer single (Matt.6:21-31). What a mess! BUT, when we obey Philippians 4:6, the heart and mind are garrisoned, protected by God’s thoughts toward us – which are always thoughts of peace (Jeremiah 29:11) – and our perception is brought into proper focus according to the Finished Work of Christ. So what does it mean to have a “fixed heart, a single eye, and a sound mind”?
” … where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Some of the most piercing but comforting words that the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples, as He was preparing them for His imminent departure from them, are found in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now … bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed ; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (italics mine) The immeasurable value of our hearts before the Lord is mentioned often in the Scriptures, and the men of God who understood this, wrote strong words pertaining to it. For example, we see how David instructed Solomon in Proverbs 4 to “Let your heart retain my words” (v.4); then Solomon tells his son to “keep [my words] in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them …” (v.21b,22a), and to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (v.23) In Psalm 86:11 David implored the Lord, “Unite my heart to fear Your Name” (in another translation it reads, “Unite my heart to do Your Will”). In other words, let me not have a divided heart which will deceive me (Hosea 10:2). The Lord obviously heard the cry of David’s heart, and granted him that petition, because in Psalm 57:7 we hear the king’s declaration to God, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed”. Another Psalm writer expressed the importance of a steadfast heart like this: “I will run and not walk the way of Your commandments when You give me a heart that is willing.” (Psalm 119:32). One last Bible writer to mention is the writer of Hebrews, in chapter thirteen verse 9: “It is good that the heart be established by Grace…”. These passages will undoubtedly help us to avoid falling into the deception resulting from a divided heart. Now let’s consider a single eye …
” … if your eye is sound [single, good] your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22a)
If our heart is fixed on the needs of our lives and our eye on what can be perceived by the senses, we will be living with divided allegiance and will be unstable in all our ways (James 1:8). Click To Tweet
“But if your eye is unsound your whole body will be full of darkness.” (v.23). JB Phillips translates “unsound” as “evil”. This verse of course is preceded by verse 21: “for where your treasure is there will your heart be also”. It’s clear that a fixed heart is related to our having a single eye with the consequent joy of being filled with Light! But the Lord plainly declares that our hearts cannot be loyal to two masters at the same time: if our heart is fixed on the needs and desires of our lives and our eye on what can be perceived by the senses, we will be living with divided allegiance and we will be unstable in all our ways (James 1:8). Little wonder then that the Lord tells the disciples (and us): “Stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on …” (v.25) In fact, this preoccupation with and fixation on the things of this world produces lukewarmness; and we know what the Lord has to say about that: “I will spew you out of My mouth!” (Rev.3:16b) Recently I heard a comment that “repentance” means to “vomit up whatever is wrong in my heart, mind, or emotions”! Better that someone vomit up sin than have God vomit him up!
Philippians 4:6 also says “Be not anxious” – or “Stop being anxious” – “about even thing!”, not even one small thing. Paul was saying this to a church that had a lot of problems: their Pastor was sick, Paul was in prison, two women were divided and in danger of causing division in the entire church. Therefore, it was vital that the Philippian believers be united in Finished Work perception, in the certainty that He means what He has said and will do what He has promised – e.g. He “will liberally supply, fill to the full their every need” (Phil.4:19, AMPL); He “will abundantly bless their provision” (Psa.132:15); He will never leave them helpless or without support, never leave them or forsake them (Heb.13:5); and it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). Now, if it the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom, will He not certainly give us the bare necessities of life?! Thank God for His Grace toward us to “let this Mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus”, Who although totally God made Himself totally dependent on the Father, trusting Him implicitly to provide for ALL of His needs: of Himself He could do nothing, say nothing, decide nothing, think nothing apart from the Father. Therefore, He never once fretted! Paul (Phil.4:6,7), Peter (I Peter 5:7), and David (Psalm 37:1,7,8), and many others in the Bible, understood this and have proven to us that it is possible to live “fretless” and worry-free, though of course we are never promised a problem-free life!
“He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of Love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Let us receive abundant Grace to keep our minds stayed on the Lord (Isaiah 26:3)! Click To Tweet
Why should we fear, fret, worry, or be anxious when He Himself has given us a sound mind; “a calm, well balanced mind, discipline, and self-control” (Ampl)? “The Spirit which you have now received is not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption … in [the bliss of which] we cry, Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15) It is so unnecessary for us to live in double-mindedness, to be “hesitating, dubious, irresolute, … unstable, unreliable, and uncertain about everything …” (James 1:8, Ampl). We can receive abundant Grace to keep our minds stayed on the Lord (Isa.26:3); to choose to receive HIS thoughts toward us, which are always thoughts of peace (Jer.29:11); to firmly fasten our minds on those things that are pure, honest, lovely, of good report, that have virtue and that produce praise (Phi.4:8); and Grace to be fully persuaded in our own minds that what He has promised He will always do.
“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you!” (Psalm 116:7)
What do we do when we realize that we have allowed worry, anxiety, or fear to sabotage our lives, dividing us from the Heart of the Father and the Mind of Christ, experientially? We remember what has been promised to us through regeneration, in the new creation. He has given us a new heart, and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), a heart to know Him (Jer.24:7), and the very Mind of Christ Himself (II Cor.2:16). Ezekiel 11:19 gives us an astounding promise: “And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God], that they may walk in My statues and keep My ordinances and do them.” – i.e., walk in faith-obedience to My Word, with a heart that is united to do My Will.
Therefore, Lord, we pray as did David in Psalm 143:12: “In Your Mercy and lovingkindness, cut off my enemies and destroy all those who afflict my inner self [anxiety, worry, fear, lust] for I am Your servant.” (emphasis mine) Amen.