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Financial challenges can be overwhelming, tiring, and emotionally and physically consuming!  It is like a nagging hacking cough that is persistent day and night. It will not go away and the longer it persists, the more painful it becomes.  As the pain and mental/emotional attention toward it increases, those times of emotional, mental and physical rest become fewer and longer apart!

Financial challenges drain you day, night, and even when you want to sleep!  Have you been there at one time or another?  The financial challenges that you have more often than not consume your thinking and even how you are interacting with others.

Our time together is going to help you or those whom you know and love find rest from the anxiety and challenges surrounding their finances. 

Today of all days, post pandemic and high inflationary times, along with our nation hitting today an all time household record-high debt collectively for our nation at $17 TRILLION ($3 trillion higher now than pre-pandemic) ALONG with marketable increase in serious delinquency with credit card payments and auto loans! (Morning Brew, 5/15/23 Consumer Debt Balloons to Historic High by Cassandra Cassidy)

We are living in extremely challenging financial times.  People are being stretched and pulled in many financial directions and they are feeling it. They need rest.


God’s Prescription for Rest

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4 gives a prescription for rest, and today we would like to look specifically at the imperatives in the text of verses 4-9 to see Paul’s prescription for rest.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4–9, NIV84)”

In this text, Paul lists 6 imperatives in verses 4-9. Imperatives are instructions, requests or commands.  In Scripture, specifically from the Apostle Paul, his imperatives are the must-do exhortations, commands for the individual, or people in the church to do, the way to act, and how one ought to live!

As we see these imperatives in this section of Scripture, I would like to put some key transferable principles before you that will help you find rest as you face financial anxiety. 

1. Rejoice

  • Here is a brief word study on this Greek word, rejoice
    • This word means: Delight, overwhelmingly glad, happier. So rejoice, delight, and be overwhelmingly glad in what God has provided for you! He has provided your health, life, salvation, forgiveness, family, food on your plate, and every dollar you have to meet your daily needs.
    • “Paul himself was an excellent example of one who had inner joy when external circumstances—such as persecution, imprisonment, the threat of death—were against him” (Bible Knowledge Commentary).
  • The reason he says it twice is that it is hard to be anxious when we are rejoicing.
    • These two tend to be working on opposite ends of the scale! When one is anxious about anything, including personal finances, one cannot focus on happiness, joy, and almost always is not able to rejoice in the Lord! YET, for the one that is focused on rejoicing in the Lord about what is going on in their life, including their challenging financial situation, there is a mental, emotional and spiritual pivot that happens within that brings about a steadfast trust in the Lord and not in yourself as the provider!  


2. Let your gentleness be evident to all

  • Prior to getting into our second imperative (or command), let’s look at this word “gentleness.” It seems to be connected to the fight between Euodia & Syntyche (verse 3). This fight is clearly the opposite of gentleness, this is what Paul is seeking to avoid.  Recognizing God’s presence frees us from frantic worrying and frantic busyness to create your own reality rather than accepting the reality that God brings. As we look at this second imperative (or command) from Paul, it is important to note that our anxiety rarely ever goes unnoticed by others. Others sense and more often than not see our anxiety.  This next command from Paul comes into place, for he states that our gentleness is to be EVIDENT to all. 
  • This Greek word for this “evident” is from the root “ginosko.” It has many outflowing meanings like, to know, to learn, to understand, and it even goes to the depth of intimacy that takes place in the sexual connection between a husband and a wife! This EVIDENCE to others of our gentleness is an overflow of our rejoicing in the Lord, which is seen by others.
  • When our gentleness is evident to all, it is an overflow of faith, trust, and even our rejoicing in the Lord. This is a firm statement to others, especially in financially stressful times, which shows them that you are trusting in the Lord. This is NOT to say that you are having a “let go and let God” mindset, but it is expressing that in the financial challenges, you are taking the appropriate steps and movements ALONG with trusting the Lord, which in turn will allow OTHERS see the EVIDENCE of the Lord working in you and in your financial situation.


3. Do Not Be Anxious

Anxiety means to be worried or to be deeply concerned, to think about and/or ponder over and over on something. Paul’s imperative hereis, dont do it! Don’t be anxious, YEAH…RIGHT!  Just stop thinking about it?  Just stop processing the ramifications of the financial challenges?  NOPE, can’t do that alone. I cannot just “flip that switch” and turn it off. Yet, Paul is saying just that. DON’T DO IT. Don’t be anxious. And now Paul is giving the reason, the prescription that we are to follow that will allow us to NOT be anxious.


4. Present Your Request (pray)

Paul doesn’t stop with “don’t be anxious.” BUT in everything – prayer, requesting, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God!

  • This is the game changer. We have a choice either to live with our anxiety or cast it upon the Lord who can meet the need. This imperative “present” means to “make known.” We are to shut down our financial anxiety (don’t be anxious) through PRESENTING our specific requests to the Lord, through our prayers and petitions, coupled with thanksgiving!  
  • In everything – and that means EVERYTHING – we need to pray, put before the Lord, thank Him for what He is going to do, and the result is that we will receive peace.
  • PRAYER…PETITION…THANKSGIVING. These three things are the catalyst to move one from anxiety (trusting in themselves to solve the financial issues before them) to TRUST that God sees this challenge and that HE can and will work in and through you to bring about.

Paul knew that our minds will still wander. They will process and draw back to the financial challenges that we are facing.  So Paul is expressing that there now needs to be another command, an imperative, that we need to do to retrain and refocus our mind and heart back into the right direction…


5. Think about such things

This thinking is a form of cognitive therapy. God is encouraging us to retrain our brains so that whenever those anxious thoughts come into our brains, we force ourselves to think on things that are true, right, etc. It forces us to get out of the negative anxiety doom loop.

Our thinking on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, WILL cause us to refocus our mind and heart back to true north and get us out of our analysis paralysis.


6. Put it into practice

If you’ve learned it, received it, heard it, seen it, now DO IT! Head knowledge without action is worthless. He who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, it is sin.” (James 4:17)

As we put into practice what we have learned from Paul, IT WILL change things for us, because He is saying that HE has lived this and has a first-hand account of what hardship is like, and how to trust in the Lord to have peace. Paul is saying, I HAVE been there and this is how to get through this challenge!

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV84)

Paul is no stranger to challenges, problems, issues, ANXIETY! And Paul is working diligently to live out what the Holy Spirit is teaching him, and working in and through him!


A promise for anxious hearts

Paul wraps it up with this “And the God of peace will be with you…” A promise received for anxious hearts. 

  • God walks WITH YOU through your financial challenges.
  • You are NOT alone. 
  • God does not promise to take away your challenges, but He does promise TO GO WITH YOU through them.

These are not just trite words from Paul. He continues on in verse 11 that he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances. These words are not just fluff. 

Paul in our text today gave us his prescription for financial peace…and that is to…rejoice, to not be anxious, but be gentle (and let it be SEEN by others), present/pray to God (specifically), think about the right things, and finally, put all of this into practice…just do it!


Next Steps


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