We’ve all heard of the phrase mind control. In the movie “Manchurian Candidate”, (2004, 1962) the possible use of mind control to aid a political candidate win an election battle. In the 1962 version Frank Sinatra plays the lead character, whereas in the 2004 version, Denzel Washington plays the lead. Although these movies are based on fiction, they will leave you with a greater understanding of the danger of sinful mankind possessing the power to control the thoughts of others. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manchurian_Candidate
The Bible also addresses the issue of mind control… not the ability to control the thoughts of others, but the need to control our own thoughts. Control of our own thought life is one of the most important principles that a Christian should master in his walk with Christ.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:6-9)
In the context of our text, the Lord is addressing the worrisome times in our lives. During these times there are several keys to minimizing the stress that a Christian may go through. These keys are clearly presented in our verses:
Be careful for nothing;
The word “careful” comes from a Greek word that means “do not be anxious” or “do not be full of concern”. As Christians, we should be worrying about nothing… The Lord who has control of all things has promised to be with us and to work everything out for our good and His glory! (Roms 8:28-29, Hebs 13:5-6, Psa 91:all)
Instead of worrying about the issues of life that we face, what are we to do?
Key #1 – Take our concerns to Him, thinking on His greatness and His grace to us.
but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
We are to take all of our concerns and trials to the Lord, placing them at His feet and allowing Him to take care of them for us. How do we do this?
“Prayer”: (Greek – worship, adore Him) – As we bring our concerns to Him we should be thinking of His greatness, His love for us, and His promises to us. Our attitude should be one of submission and humility
“Supplication”: (Greek – to bring requests, to bring petition) – We should verbalize to Him what our trials are, as well as what we are feeling about this trial. We should feel free opening up to Him… He desires us to be transparent and reliant on Him.
“Thanksgiving”: (Greek – to appreciate Him) - We should recognize His grace in allowing us to pour out our soul to Him, and know He will take care of us.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
As we share our concerns with Him, realizing His greatness, His promises and His gracious kindness to us; we can rest assured He will take care of us. (Job 22:21, 1 Pet 5:6-7, Psa 27:13-14)
Key #2 – We are to keep on our minds centered on that which is pleasing and glorifying to Him.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
During times of trials, Satan attempts to use our thoughts to discourage and hinder our service to the Lord. By controlling our thought life, we can find rest in the midst of our life’s storms. Here is a listing of what we should be thinking of during stressful times:
True – actual to fact
Honest – honorable
just – aligned with God’s law
pure – clean, innocent
lovely – acceptable, pleasing
good report – true through testimony of others
virtue - excellence, highest point
praise – commendable
Key #3 – Follow the example of other Godly men who have faithfully gone through trials themselves.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Gain from ministry of other Godly men:
Learn from their teachings.
Receive knowledge from accompanying them.
Hear from others testimonies about them.
See example set by watching their lives.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
By applying these three keys during times of trials, the Christian is allowing Christ to control His thoughts and, in doing so, alleviating many of the avenues of temptation and anxiety.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
First and foremost, you must go to the Lord, recognizing your inability to help yourself or give yourself security in your situation. Without Christ, you have no assurance of the leadership nor accompanying presence of God in your life. (Eph 2:12-18, John 15:5-7, Acts 4:12, Phils 4:13)
But when we come to Christ, placing our faith in Him to save us from our sin’s penalty, and turning from our sin to living our life for Him, we can be certain He will be always present to help us and meet our every need as we face the trials of life. (Mark 1:15, Deut 31:6-8, 1 Chron 28:20)