St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Anything & Everything

Podcast Version

Philippians 4:5-7—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.

So, how have you been with the people in your life? Your spouse? Your children? Your friends? Your family? Your co-workers? Your fellow citizens? Your authorities? Have you been gentle?

You know, when our gentleness starts going out the window, it’s generally because of two things lacking. And it isn’t a quicker end to COVID and it’s impact. It’s a lack of trust in God’s promises which reflects itself in a lack of prayer.

Maybe you’re praying more now than you did before the pandemic came. How shameful of us that it takes a pandemic to turn to our God in prayer! But also look at your prayers. Are they focused on God’s promises and the needs of others, or mostly on you? Now, there’s nothing wrong with praying for yourself, but if your prayers are all about you and your needs or desires, is that faithful prayer? Is that a faithful clinging to all of God’s Word and promises?

It’s so very easy for us to become very self-centered, especially as this shutdown drags on. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of good being done by all of you, but take a deeper look in your heart. How much is done with a smile on your face, but with a frown in your heart? How much is done to look good in other people’s eyes, instead of out of pure love for God and your neighbor? How much talking and thinking are you doing about those you disagree with that contains little else but venom and rage? How much of what you are doing is lacking gentleness with those you know and love most?

When we find ourselves in these ruts of unrighteousness, remember that the Lord is near. That’s frightening law for your heart of sin. The Lord knows it all!!! But it is beautiful and comforting gospel to your heart of faith!
The Lord IS near. He is with you every day and every step of the way! And knowing this beautiful promise is what sets your heart free to not be anxious about anything… Hearing God’s promises of unbreakable love and forgiveness for all your sins of doubt, harshness, and meager prayer life is what relieves your heart of anxiousness. God is in control.

But there is another gift God has given to help you in your need. You have heard from him in his Word, but he also wants to hear from you—about anything and everything.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And what is the result of letting our hearts rest in God’s promises and unburdening our hearts in prayer to God? Paul gives the beautiful answer that has been and will continue to be a closing blessing of countless worship services:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dear friends, rest in Jesus’ peace. Let his peace fill you with gratitude and gentleness. Let Jesus’ peace also guide your prayer life as you pray for yourself and all people.