Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
If you had to guess which Bible verse was the most popular in 2019, which would you choose?
According to YouVersion, the most popular Scripture last year happens to also be my wife Grace’s life verse. It’s highlighted in context below:
Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In this section of Scripture, we learn five ways to feed faith and starve fear.
1. Focus one eye on each track.
Some years ago, while driving in his truck, Pastor Rick Warren said something to me that has stuck with us ever since. He said most people think of life as being a series of good and bad seasons, but he felt that every season of life was more like train tracks with good and bad happening constantly and congruently. He was right.
When troubles, temptations, and trials come, we tend to see only the bad track. There is always something to be fearful of and always something to be thankful for.
2. Make your will your rudder.
Your emotions are like a sail. They are big, powerful, and drive your life. When filled with fear, your emotions are like a sail in a hurricane. Imagine a sailboat in a hurricane with no rudder. When filled with fear, many people are like that.
Instead, when anxious and fearful, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone”. Reasonableness means to use mental reasoning to make wise, faith-filled decisions that drive you forward into God’s will. This is the opposite of being unreasonable and allowing your emotions and circumstances to steer you towards rocks that will sink you. Your mind must be your rudder.
3. Replace panic with prayer.
When a spirit of fear comes over us, our first response is often panic. Some people even experience panic attacks. Our mind races with all of the possible danger. Sometimes these fears are legitimate, but often they are lies. Rather than panic, we should pray. Freaking out is not a spiritual gift; faith is. Panic helps nothing, but prayer helps everything.
To remind us to replace panic with prayer. Praying allows us to privately process what we are feeling in relationship with God. Before we talk to anyone, we should talk to God alone.
4. Tell the Father what you want.
When God is silent, it may be because He wants to hear from you. God is a Father, and we are His kids. With our five kids, we tell them some things because we need them to listen and obey, but on many other occasions, we ask the kids what they want. So long as their request is reasonable, we are prone to say yes.
Sometimes we ask God “What do you want?” and God replies “I was going to ask you the same question.”
5. Enjoy God’s presence and peace.
When we sense a spirit of fear coming over us, it can cause us to feel overwhelmed. Fear is such a common experience that the most frequent command in the Bible is “Fear not”, which appears roughly a few hundred times. God has to remind us continually to “fear not” in some form or fashion because we forget.
In Philippians 4:5-7, we were told “do not be anxious about anything” because “the Lord is at hand”. For those who choose faith over fear, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Like a soldier, God will guard the emotional life of our hearts and the thought life of our minds if we stand with Him against the spirit of fear, which is an act of spiritual warfare. It is not the absence of trouble that brings peace but the presence of God. The presence of God brings the peace of God.
What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?