BETWEEN SESSIONS PERSONAL STUDY
For "Anxious For Nothing: Video Series
Reflect on the content you’ve covered this week in Anxious for Nothing by engaging in any or all of the following C.A.L.M. personal study guide activities. Each personal study consists of four reflection activities to help you implement what you just learned in the video while applying Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4–8:
Celebrate God’s Goodness
(Philippians 4:4): This will be a time to rejoice in the Lord, praising him for his goodness
and for the new insight he is giving you through this study. Celebrating what God is teaching you and meditating on who God is will help shift your gaze from the problems on earth to your hope in heaven.
Ask God for Help
(Philippians 4:6): During this reflection time, you will ask God to help you not only understand what he is teaching you through the lesson but also to supernaturally transform your heart to live out this truth in your daily life.
Leave Your Concerns with God
(Philippians 4:7): This reflection activity will challenge you to leave your worries in the hands of God and pick up the specific worry weapons you are learning in each video session. That way, when worries threaten to return, you can fight them.
Meditate on Good Things
(Philippians 4:8): At the end of Paul’s prescription against anxiety, he urges his readers to meditate on things that are of God. In this activity, you will meditate on Philippians 4:4–8 and memorize a portion of it. In this way you will take the first step to replace anxious thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.
The time you invest will be well spent, so let God use it to draw you closer to him. At your next meeting, share with your group any key points or insights that stood out to you as you spent this time with the Lord.
CELEBRATE GOD’S GOODNESS
During the teaching session this week, you learned why it is important to always rejoice in the Lord. Put the lesson into practice today by reading Psalm 145:8–20, a passage that celebrates the goodness of God. If you are in a setting that lends itself to doing so, read the verses aloud. This is not only a time of ref lection but also a time of worship!
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (Psalm 45)
Look back at the passage and underline all the character attributes of God. Which one of these attributes do you have the hardest time trusting?
Why do you think you have a harder time trusting this particular characteristic of God’s heart?
What description of God in this passage brings you the most comfort today? Why does it bring you comfort in this season of your life?
Take some time to thank God for the specific character trait you just wrote about. You might pray words to this effect:
Thank you, God, for your _________. Help me not only to remember your goodness on a daily basis but also to trust in it. May the goodness of you bring out your goodness in me. Amen.
Don’t drown in the bilge of your own condemnation. There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Your future matters more than your past. God’s grace is greater than your sin. What you did was not good. But your God is good. And he will forgive you. He is ready to write a new chapter in your life. Say with Paul, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us” (Philippians 3:13–14 TLB).
ASK GOD FOR HELP
What prevents you from rejoicing in the Lord always? Take a minute to examine your heart and write down your thoughts.
Read Luke 1:26–55. What fears or anxious thoughts could have flooded Mary’s mind when she received the angel’s message?
Instead of stewing in anxiety, how did Mary respond in verse 38?
How did Mary’s posture of servanthood enable her to rejoice in the Lord?
When we see ourselves as God’s servants instead of God’s advisors, we are in a better position to trust in his sovereignty. Through Mary’s story, we can infer that one of the biggest hindrances to rejoicing in the Lord is a failure to submit to his authority over our lives. Mary can freely rejoice because she humbly submits, and her rejoicing overflows into a song of worship (verses 46–55).
Look at the song again. In verse 48, why does Mary say her spirit rejoices in the Lord?
Ask the Lord to specifically help you rejoice in him the way Mary rejoiced in him. Ask him to help you submit to his sovereignty. And finally, ask the Lord to help you deeply believe in Mary’s words found in verse 48—that he is mindful of you. He sees your worries and is with you through it all. What a beautiful reason to rejoice!
You can’t run the world, but you can entrust it to God. This is the message behind Paul’s admonition to “rejoice in the Lord.” Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord.
Rather than rehearse the chaos of the world, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty, as Paul did. “The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ” (Philippians 1:12–13 nKjV).
LEAVE YOUR CONCERNS WITH GOD
What specific concerns are clouding your thoughts these days? On a sheet of paper, make two columns – “Worries” and “Worship.
Write the worries on the “Worries” column. This is a time to get what’s on the inside on the outside, to let God’s light shine on the darkness that’s weighing on your heart.
In this session, we have been discussing a powerful tool to fight anxiety: rejoicing in the Lord. When we do this, it changes our perspective, shrinks the anxiety, and magnifies God’s glory.
Under the “Worship” column, next to each worry you wrote, write a reason you have to rejoice in the Lord. (You may want to refer to the Psalm 45 passage used in the first activity.)
Take this activity a step further by encouraging a friend with what you are learning. Text, call, and/or email a friend in your group or any friend on your mind. Ask the friend to share a worry you can pray for, and then assure them of God’s goodness, perhaps using a verse you have read during this study or just a simple reminder that God is sovereign over their life. Rejoicing in the Lord is even more meaningful when shared!
We have a choice. We can wear our hurt or wear our hope. We can outfit ourselves in our misfortune, or we can clothe ourselves in God’s providence. We can cave in to the pandemonium of life, or we can lean into the perfect plan of God. And we can believe this promise: “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
MEDITATE ON GOOD THINGS
Study Philippians 4:4 (ESV) - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” - until you can recite it from memory. Don’t forget to memorize the verse reference as well. In case you need some help, here are a few memorization techniques:
• Write down the verse multiple times.
• Say the verse aloud multiple times.
• Break up the verse into smaller parts and memorize one section at a time.
• Write down the verse on note cards and place them where you will see them often - your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, your computer, your car.
After you memorize the Scripture, ask the Lord to bring it to mind any time an anxious thought surfaces.