Bible Topics
in the Christian Library

Philippians 4:4-7

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. General remarks on our lesson text.

1. Once again Paul commands us to rejoice in Christ. The entire book gives us the right recipe on how to live life full of joy.

2. In our present text Paul deals with the greatest robber of joy in the believer's life-- worry and anxiety. Worry is an "inside job" which decays in a slow and anguishing way our trust and zest for living life fully.

II. Consider the topic of worry as presented by the Bible.

1. "Worry" -- The Greek is literally, "full of care" and in our modern use is better translated as "anxious."

2. The concept conveyed by this word is that one is "pulled in different directions". Hope pulls us one way and fear pulls the other, thus we are pulled apart!

3. The words of v. 6 are not suggesting an option, but they are a command! Literally, "Do not, under any circumstances, worry about anything!"

4. The kind of worry which ties the stomach into knots so we cannot eat; it puts a crease in our brows; it makes us irritable and hard to get along with.

5. This is not an isolated command (1 Pt 5:7; Mat 6:25, 28; 31, 34; Lk 12:22; 21:34). "Thus we discover that Scripture consistently forbids the child of God to worry, to permit himself to be tied up in knots, to become frazzled and nervously exhausted. That is a device of the devil. It is a sin and has no rightful part in the life of the child of God" (Pentecost).

6. This command does not mean that we are to be aloof and indifferent to the perils and struggles of life.

a. We had better be deeply concerned for our soul's destiny, the souls of family member and friends as well.

b. We had better display concern that we are serving God in every possible way.

c. "To care is a virtue, but to foster care is sin, for such anxiety is not trust in God . . . " (Muller).

d. In matters where we are helpless or incapable of doing something about the situation, we had best not worry!

III. In our present text Paul deals with what most of us would admit is our "besetting sin". We can gain a joyous freedom from this sin by closely applying the words of Paul.


I. Freedom from worry is found by REJOICING (v. 4).

A. One who is truly freed from the sin of worry announces this freedom by the ability to rejoice in every situation.

1. The double repetition emphasizes the great obligation to do this.

2. Far too many do not have the determination to rejoice, therefore they lack joy.

B. We should rejoice "always".

1. Paul was talking reality not rhetoric (2 Co 6:10; Ac 16:25).

2. Does this mean that we are to never frown? No, but the prominent attitude of the Christian is rejoicing! (Eccl 3:1, 4).

3. The Christian is bound to rejoice everywhere and under ALL circumstances!

C. The Christian's ability to rejoice always is because s/he is "in the Lord"!

1. Christ is the source of gladness -- He will last longer than all and His rewards far exceed all that we have hopes for on this earth.

2. A Christ-centered life will rejoice (Ps 16:11; Hab 3:18).

3. "Amid your tears keep a trustful, restful, joyful heart, not rejoicing in your gifts, in your successes, in your friends, but in Him--rejoice in the Lord . . . The secret of perennial joy is in the realized companionship of the Redeemer" (Meyer).

4. Rejoice because you are "in the Lord" where worry and stress cannot harm you!

II. Freedom from worry is demonstrated by one's FORBEARANCE (v. 5a).

A. One who is free from worry will not become alarmed, but remain calm and controlled even in the most trying ordeals.

B. This word suggests a concept of gentleness and yielding. Such will gladly yield rights and show consideration and gentleness to others.

1. Worry has a terrible way of causing one to be disgruntled and contentious, of losing our patience.

2. As we are free from worry we will be ready to give in for peace's sake--but not in the sacrificing of biblical principles. Such a person will be known as "easy-going" because of the inner change that has taken place.

3. Note: We are to be gentle to ALL men!

III. Freedom from worry is possible only through an explicit CONFIDENCE IN GOD (v. 6).

A. What causes worry? Basically our fear of failure in some area. What we need to realize is that God's strength is more than enough to make up for our failings!

1. Many events in life are quite beyond our ability to do anything -- the best we can do is fail!

2. But a trust in God, even when we cannot understand, is the one thing Paul says will help us win over worry! (Pr 3:5-6).

B. Notice how we are to place this trust in God.

1. Ps 55:22 -- There are some things just too big for God's child to carry, he cannot handle them. But his Father in heaven can! We must transfer our burdens to God who IS ABLE to carry them!

2. Ps 37:3, 4, 5 -- "Commit" is literally "to roll off." "Let your burdens roll off onto the Lord!" Many believers cannot do this because they refuse to let go and let their burdens roll (SEE POEM, "Let Go And Let God"). Often we need to simply relax our grip on problems and allow them to roll of onto God, who will bear them for us!

C. How can I let go and cast my burdens on God?

1. By Prayer -- Presenting our wishes and desires to God. Telling God what we would like Him to do. We should pray with a conscious dependence on Him.

2. By Supplication -- A specific request for special needs. To be relieved of worry we ought to pray specifics. Ask God to help with specific problems.

3. By Thanksgiving -- By looking backward to prayers that were answered and giving thanks because God will again answer our prayers and needs. Confidence in the future is based on God's performance in the past! Note Job 1:21 -- Job did not thank God because his children were dead. Rather he said, "God, I will keep on trusting and praising thy name despite the tragedies and heartaches of life!"

D. The solution to worry is trust in God.

1. If you worry you do not trust God enough!

2. Faith believes that God is able to bear whatever we cannot bear and He will bear it if we will give Him the opportunity!

3. Is YOUR God big enough to take your problems? Do you trust Him to do so? Will you let go and let God take hold of them?

4. WHY WORRY WHEN YOU CAN PRAY? (Ps 34:15; 56:3).

5. I once called on a saint of God who was going through troubled waters. Her burdens and problems were many, but she relied completely on the Lord. As we discussed her problem she told me she would often awake during the night. But she said "Whenever I do, I just take a sleeping pill." This seemed to me a poor gesture for such mature faith. Then she smiled and said, "Of course, my sleeping pill is Psa. 121." Then she awakened in the night she quoted that Psalm over and over until she fell asleep. How wonderful to know that with every adversity of life we can look to Him who is beyond the hills, the Creator of the hills, with the assurance that His strong arm will not fail! (Blair, p. 107).

IV. Freedom from worry is assured by remembering the Lord's EVER-PRESENCE (v. 5b).

A. As we think of Christ's omnipresence we will have help to:

1. Let our forbearance be known to all men.

2. Be anxious about nothing.

B. Let us be mindful of our Lord's nearness at times when we are prone to worry. He sees our needs and stands ever ready to assist us! "The Lord is at hand. Say it when you need to be stable. Say it when Euodia has quarreled with Syntyche. Say it when your joy threatens to fail. Say it when you are irritated and think there is no reason you should yield so persistently to another. Say it when you are worried and anxious" (Meyer).

V. Freedom from worry brings God's WONDERFUL BLESSINGS (v. 7).

A. There is the blessing of PEACE.

1. Jn 14:27; Is 26:3.

2. Even in the midst of turmoil we can have an inner-peace and contentment. This is not manufactured by ourselves but comes from God.

3. It does not remove the trouble that causes worry, but it does prevent it from driving us away from Christ.

B. There is the blessing of PROTECTION.

1. "Keep" is literally "guard."

2. Providentially we will be protected from those things which are too great for us to bear.

3. Note again that it is only possible for the one who is "in Christ".


I. The child of God should never worry! Note the main thought of Matthew 6:24-25. We are the servants of God. Because we are God's. He will take care of our needs and we should not be anxious!

II. Are YOU rejoicing ALWAYS? Perhaps we can learn a lesson from the little four-year-old boy who noticed a deep frown on his father's face. "Daddy, aren't you happy this morning?" he asked. "Why, of course I am, son," his father replied. "Well then, hadn't you better tell your face?"

III. Let us heed the words of Paul in verse 6 and the words of Hebrews 12:1-2. May we cast aside the sin of worry and cast our cares on God! We can live without worry, without fear, without anxiety, without nervous exhaustion, and without frustration -- but never without the help of God! We are "in Christ" therefore let us rejoice!

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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