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Improbable Joy – Philippians 4:4-9

Apr 29, 2024

Robert Leahy, a psychologist, said the average high school student today has the same level of anxiety as an average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. Anxiety and depression are rampant in our culture, and many point to the rise of the smartphone back in 2010. We are constantly aware of what we don’t have, who we are not with, and the decline of the culture. Paul speaks to this in his letter to Philippi when he says, “Don’t be anxious about anything…” In other words, stop perpetually (habitually) worrying because it will become a part of who you are. Anxiety involves fear or worry that you can’t control. Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness.

Sources of anxiety and depression are: physical exhaustion, spiritual attack, brain chemistry, circumstances, loneliness, social media, and loss. In reality, a child of God who is always anxious and worried is saying that they don’t trust God. Worry is gazing at problems in self-reliance, rather than looking to the Lord in dependence.

“But in everything”

  1. By prayer – this is general worship of the Lord
  2. And supplication – a cry for personal needs
  3. With Thanksgiving – even when it’s hard, have a grateful heart
  4. Present your requests – He already knows, but it is an act of humility and trust to share our needs and wants with Him. We are conformed to Him when we pray.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Remember, Paul has been under house arrest for two years, chained to a Roman guard while he is writing this. When we “cast our cares” on the Lord, He will give us a supernatural ability to have peace in the most difficult circumstances. Jesus IS our peace (Eph 2:14),

and every Christian has peace with God through justification by faith (Rom 5:1).

Paul goes on to say, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” We must choose to think more on the Word, and more on Jesus.

“What the mind attends to, it considers. What the mind does not attend to, it dismisses. What the mind attends to continually, it believes. And what the mind believes, it eventually does.” Isaiah 26:3 says, ” You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.”


  1. What is weighing you down (a burden) in your life? How much time do you spend thinking about that? Have you given it to God?
  2. How do your media habits impact your mind and your heart? Reread the quote about the mind above. What is social media causing you to believe? Is it true?
  3. How can you practice thinking about “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, etc…” as a family? What you read, what you watch, when you pray together, etc.
  4. What is a habit you can start this week to put your mind’s attention on the best things so you can “practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (v9)?