First, let me tell you a story about how I came to write this post.
At my church service yesterday, we had a guest pastor give an amazing sermon about spending time with Jesus. By the end of the sermon, and being honest, I realized much like the pastor and many other members in the congregation, I don’t spend enough time with Jesus.
I realized I call on Him in many different situations, such as when it’s a sunny day, when I’m frustrated, or even when I succeed at something I found to be difficult, but he gave me the knowledge and skill to accomplish the task.
I also realized, even though I speak with Him in these different scenarios throughout my day, I don’t spend time with Him like I would like to, as I would like to do with any friend or relationship in my life.
I made the decision to change that with Him, but I had to figure out how.
The guest pastor gave some ways about how we could do that yesterday, none of which I really wanted to do. However, I know God speaks to us in many ways and through many people, situations, etc.
So, I knew there had to be a way I could do it, with His help, of course.
The solution ended up being actually closer and easier than I first thought it would be.
I grabbed my phone, and looked at 2 apps I have: The Abide app and the Bible app. Abide gives me daily audio devotionals, which I listen to when I remember, but I wanted more than a 2-3 minutes with Jesus.
So, I opened my bible app and staring me right in the face was the verse of the day — Philippians 4:6. I’ve included 4 translations below, King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version, and The Message.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
So, as a starting point, I’m going to spend more time with Jesus and have Him in my life more by not just reading the verse of the day, but really trying to understand the message He has for me.
I also wanted to take notes and let my what I’m learning really unfold, but I have terrible handwriting and I prefer using technology.
So, I figured no better place than to use my website and at the same time, I might be able to help other people.
Dissecting Philippians 4:6
One of the most eye opening experiences I’ve had when it comes to reading and understanding scripture, has been realizing the defintions of words as I learned them growing up in some of the 20th century and now 21st century, don’t mean what they originally meant in centuries past.
So, lets go back to the Greek words and definitions to discover the original meanings of some of the words in the verse.
Anxious in Greek is merimnaó, which comes from the word merimna, which means care. Merimna actually comes from the word merizo, which means through the idea of distraction.
This tells me that because of our thoughts, and our own careful thinking, our mind can become distracted.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be distracted. Being distracted means I’m not getting things done or I’m not getting things done as quickly as I’d like to.
Now, in two of the translations, the word supplication was used, and in two others, the word petition.
For me, supplication means a heartfelt ask.
As for the word petition, well, the first thing that comes to mind is people who go around attempting to get others to sign petitions. So, to me, petition would mean to ask for something and get agreement from others with the same mindset or belief.
Let’s see what the Greek definitions have to say.
Supplication in Greek is deésis, which comes from the word deomai, with the root of the word ‘deo’ meaning to have a deep personal need.
Petition or ‘a petition’ in Greek is enteuxis, which comes from the word entugchanó or entygxánō, meaning to meet someone to converse with or consult.
Defining petition got me really excited, because I immeditately thought “Yes! I want to meet and consult with Jesus. Sign me up!”.
We’re not done yet, but let’s see where we are so far with really understanding Phillipians 4:6, based on our findings.
I might say as much:
Don’t get distracted by your thoughts. Instead, in all situations, pray by taking your most personal needs, and going to meet and consult with Jesus.
Is this amazing or what? This is so good, I could stop right here, but there’s more to learn from this verse and how to stop being anxious, or as we learned also means how to stop getting distracted by thoughts. So, let’s continue.
Thanksgiving seems obvious, being thankful, but it might have more to it — we’ll see. We have the word requests, which I would take to mean requesting or asking for needs, desires, wants, problems, etc. to be met or solved.
Lastly, we have some phrases like “present your requests”, “be made known”, and “let God know”. Other than present, known or know seem to be the common word here.
Let’s find out what the Greek meanings have to say about these words.
Thanksgiving comes from the Greek word eucharistia, which comes from the word eucharistos, meaning thankful. So, our guess was right here, but there’s something deeper as to why we are thankful, so let’s discuss that.
The charistos part from the word eucharistos, actually comes from the word charizomai, meaning to graciously forgive, deliver or pardon, or grant favor.
By what Jesus did on the cross, we are delivered, pardoned, saved, etc. and our sins forgiven, but there’s more.
The root of charizomai comes from charis, meaning grace and favor, and especially God’s influence in our life and the change and influence He has in our heart.
Going back to knowing what Jesus did for you and I, the whole world, we know everyday we have been given an opportunity to live another day, we are shown His favor and grace.
To me, that’s incredible when I actually think about things this way.
Lastly, the word charis actually comes from the word chairó, which means to be calmly happy or rejoice, especially when meeting someone or leaving.
So, if we recall we defined petition earlier, where we got really excited to learn we were meeting up with and consulting with Jesus.
When we put all of this into perspective, when we pray (meet with Jesus), being thankful is more than just being thankful. There’s a reason why we are thankful and a reason why we have a desire to meet with Him and share our life fully with Him.
Ultimately, I’ve learned from the word thanksgiving, I’m not only thankful when I meet Jesus, I’m happy about it.
The word requests comes from the Greek word aitéma, which comes from the word aiteó, meaning to ask, beg, or desire. Again, we guessed this one, but as we should know by now, there’s more to it.
If we look at a similar Greek word, punthanomai, it also means to ask a favor, as well as to understand and inquire about what’s hidden.
This tells me, when I meet with Jesus aka pray, it’s not just a time to ask for what I want, but it’s also a time for me to ask questions, and understand what I don’t know — which is honestly, a lot of things.
Let’s put this word into perspective too.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t like going to my friends or family, complaining and asking for favors all the time. As I’ve come to understand the word requests better, I now see when we spend time with people we care about, the request isn’t so much to ask for anything other than just their time.
Then, it’s in that time we make our relationship better and stronger, by asking questions, discussing and understanding each other’s perspectives, ideas, and the things we don’t know.
Be Made Known
Know/Be Made Known comes from the Greek word gnórizó, which comes from ginóskó, meaning to allow, have knowledge, to be aware of.
This one really shook me, because of the word allow.
That word alone, from what I’m understanding, by consulting with Jesus, I’m also making the choice to allow Him to know my requests. He already knows my requests, but by me going to Him and choosing to share more with him directly, I’m building our relationship and allowing Him to actively work in my life.
Basically, He will not try to force Himself in my life, force me to hangout with Him, or force me to openly share what He already knows, I have to choose these things. Then and only then will our relationship grow, and I’ll see and experience more of Him and the blessings and promises He desires for me.
This is absolutely incredible to me, because this is the foundation of any good relationship we form with anyone.
The word present or phrase ‘to present’ comes from the Greek word parechó meaning to offer or to give in an up close and personal way.
The par part of the word originates from para meaning to be in closeness with someone or beside.
The echó part of the word means to have or to involve.
So, this tells me, when I meet with Jesus, we’re getting closer and I’ve once again chosen to involve Him in my life by sharing my life desires, needs, etc. with Him.
I don’t know about you, but I learned a lot from Phillipians 4:6.
I might be so bold to say, but I think if I’m anxious I can overcome it by thinking about Phillipians 4:6 in this way:
Don’t get distracted by your thoughts. Instead, in all situations, use prayer to meet and consult with Jesus. Knowing all He’s done for you on the cross, you can be happy when you meet. Freely take to Him all your desires and ask about everything you don’t understand or have knowledge about. Your openness will bring you closer together, and allow Him to show you what you ask and involve Himself in your life more.
Can I now say I will never again be anxious aka be distracted by my thoughts? Definitely not, but what I can say, is I’m aware enough now to recognize when it happens.
Then, in the moment, I will either step away to meet with Jesus (pray), or if I’m unable to step away, in my heart and mind begin to speak to Him. I will ask Him to help me understand what’s unclear to me or show me why I’m in the situation I’m in, etc.
If this has been helpful, so you now know how to stop being anxious, or how to stop getting distracted by thoughts, let me know by commenting below or sending me a DM on IG @thisislink.