We continue our sermon series entitled “It’s time to REST”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Beverley Sills.
Overthink – To think too much about (something): to put too much time into thinking about or analysing (something) in a way that is more harmful than helpful. (Merriam-Webster)
Over the past two weeks, we have highlighted some of the distractions that divert us from experiencing good & God rest; from a lack of spiritual, family and work-life balance to lethargy in Christian service. This week we are dealing with our thoughts and the danger of overthinking situations in our lives.
- The prophet received a wonderful vision of the day of the Lord when Christ establishes his Kingdom.
- The strong city potentially – Mount Zion Jerusalem
- Isaiah describes open gates being a spiritual and marvellous sign of God’s salvation welcoming people in who keep the faith. (See also Psalm 118:19-20)
- The Hebrew expression translated as perfect peace is literally “peace, peace” = the double emphasis speaks of a superior type of peace only found in Christ. (See also Isa 9:6 & 11:6-9)
- Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi against worrying over their problems in life. Instead, take them to the Lord in prayer and trust that God is able to provide deliverance.
Change the channel of your thoughts! – Isa 26:1-2 & Phil 4:6
“The mind is magnificent, but it has its own agenda. Rather than focusing on positive affirming thoughts, the mind prefers to settle upon negative ones that intensify stress worry, anger and frustration.”– Sacred Rest pg. 46
- Here we see two different passages and contexts but the same focus. God is the channel that provides hope, peace, and contentment despite difficult circumstances in life.
- By focusing on our problems, the channel remains fixated on the problem itself.
- Choosing to change to God’s channel we take the focus away from the problem to the power, might and endless peace that comes from God.
“Mental rest involves relinquishing the constant stream of thoughts entering your mind quickly and obtaining a sense of cerebral stillness.”– Sacred Rest pg. 46
Such stillness is available when we change the channel of worry and anxiety to the channel of prayer and thanksgiving.
Focus your thoughts on God’s character!
- Now that you’ve changed the channel from worry and anxiety to God’s channel of peace… it’s time to focus on His divine attributes.
- Paul lists 7 divine attributes that we can focus our attention on = Truth, noble, whatever is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent/praiseworthy.
- (V7 Guard) Paul’s choice of a military term implies that the mind is in a battle zone and needs to be protected.
Those with a mental rest deficit often experience brain chatter while asleep and never feel at peace. Stressors from the day can remain in the brain’s stream of consciousness and be carried over into sleep, keeping the mind active when it should be at rest.”– Sacred Rest – Pg. 48
If you feel exhausted because of overthinking your problems, meditate this week on Paul’s advice to the church in Philippi. Seek to replace worry and anxiety with God’s thoughts and allow His peace to guard and protect your mind.
- Even as a Christian, anxiety can be a powerful tool of Satan. What does Satan hope to accomplish by attacking us with anxiety?
- Why can it be difficult to focus on prayer when we find ourselves in a state of worry? Why is it so important that we remain committed to prayer when we are anxious?
- What are some practical ways that we can fix our thoughts on what God says are “true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable”? Read Hebrews 4:12.
- Note the close relation here between ‘city’ and ‘salvation.’ Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonians in 586 BC. Read Philippians 3: 20, Heb. 13: 14 and Revelation 21: 2. What kind of ‘city’ do you think Isaiah has in mind? Heavenly or earthly?
- Here we find the words “righteous nation.” Given that every nation has a percentage of unrighteous people (unbelievers), what type of nation could Isaiah be referring to? What is godly righteousness? Hint: think about the city in verse 1.
- Define “perfect peace.” How is peace perfected for the believer?