Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of Philippians 4:9 in the fight against anxiety. Here it is again:
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
In this text we see that there is a very active element to receiving God’s gift of peace. God wants us to obediently follow the example of Paul, and as we do so, He promises that his peace-giving character will be with us.
What I didn’t expound on yesterday is why this command is so important in fighting anxiety. If you ever struggle with moments or seasons of anxiety, you know how it can cripple you in your obedience to the Lord. Anxiety keeps you inside yourself, trying to answer questions that you can’t answer, seeking to handle hard circumstances by yourself, and trying to get to the bottom of your struggle. Anxiety leads us to keep spinning our wheels while going nowhere. As this is happening, we are dropping the ball on our spiritual privileges and responsibilities – we forget to pray for other people, we neglect those closest to us, and we stop pursuing the Lord in worship.
This is why it is so crucial for Paul to tell us to follow his example. Anxious people need to be reminded of who God is and what Christ has accomplished for us, but we also need to be told to get busy living again – living a life of devotion to our King. The right feelings might not be there at first, but that’s when we repent, ask God’s forgiveness for not desiring Him as we should, ask Him to provide us with those right feelings, and then keep moving forward by His grace.