Lesson: A Guarded Heart is a Contented Heart (Philippians 4)

Philippians 4 is a continuation of lessons helping older elementary students to establish and make a daily quiet time with God a priority.

When believers spend time daily in God’s Word and prayer and putting into practice what they learn their hearts will be guarded from sin.

Bible Passage: Philippians 4
Bible Story Title: A guarded heart is a contented heart
Target Age Group: Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
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Supply List: Bibles, printed copies of Philippians 4 for students to mark key words, colored pencils/pens

Learning Goal: Students will learn that when believers make having a quiet time with God a priority they are guarding their hearts from sin.

Learning Activity #1:  As students arrive give them copies of Philippians 4.

Sample instruction sheet:

  1. Draw a blue box around peace of God/God of peace and color yellow. (Verses 7,9)
  2. Circle each reference to God/Lord, Christ Jesus, Him red and color yellow.  (Verses 1-2, 4-5, 7, 10, 13, 18-23)
  3. Make a purple cloud around rejoice/joy. (Verses 1,4,10)
  4. Circle-All/Any/Anything/Every/Everything/Nothing with green. (Verses 6-8, 12-13,18-19)
  5. In Philippians 4:8 Using blue underline twice the things we are to dwell on (think about).
  6. Draw a squiggly brown line under circumstance in verses 11-12.

Test: Review Questions

Memory Verse:   Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Bible Lesson: A guarded heart is a contented heart (Philippians 4)

The past 3 weeks we have been discovering the importance of a daily quiet time. What are some things you have learned or remembered from our lessons in Philippians 1-3? (Allow responses)

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

If you are a believer, each day you make Bible reading and prayer a priority you are guarding your heart.

In Proverbs 4:23 why are we told to guard our hearts? Because everything we do and say is an overflow of what is in our hearts.

How many of you have gone to a party where a piñata was hung for the guests to hit with a stick? Typically, what comes out of the piñata when it is broken? (Candy) What if the person throwing the party put sand and pebbles in it? Would anyone be happy with that?

Our hearts are kind of like that piñata. What we fill our hearts with will come out in our words and actions.

  • Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
  • Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

We have talked about how a believer has two natures, a sinful one and a spirit-filled one. When we don’t make spending time with God a daily priority we will allow our sinful nature to be our boss. When we allow our sinful nature to be our boss we fill our hearts and minds with things that take our focus off pleasing God. We allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts and actions when we make reading God’s Word and praying a daily priority. When we put into practice what God teaches us our hearts are controlled by God’s Holy Spirit. What comes out of our mouths will reflect a life that honors Jesus and points others to Him.

Let’s turn to Philippians 4. When you marked your observation sheet what are some things you discovered? Let’s read verse 4. What attitude does Paul tell believers to have? (Rejoice) Who are believers to rejoice in? (The Lord) When are believers supposed to rejoice? (Always)

Read 4:6-7. What does it mean to be anxious? What makes you anxious? How often does Paul tell believers they should allow anxiety to control their hearts? (Never) What does he tell us to do when we are anxious? (Pray) When we pray about everything what will God fill our hearts with and guard our minds with? (The peace of God)

Let’s imagine you and I are having our quiet time and we read these verses. We stop and pray that God would help us to put these verses into practice. What do you think our lives would look like when we are going through our day and something makes us nervous and fearful? We would immediately stop what we are doing. If you are not in a place that you can pray out loud, you would pray in your heart and ask God to help you not to be anxious. If you can pray out loud, stop and ask God to help you not to be anxious about your circumstance. (Give an example and model it)

Making a quiet time with God a priority is about being able to walk in obedience and victory with Jesus. It’s not about adding something to your schedule so you can be prideful that you had a quiet time. Your quiet time should affect your heart. By reading and obeying God’s Word you are filling it with thoughts about God and His way. By doing this you are guarding your heart.

Read 4:8-9. When you marked your observation sheets you underlined the things we are to think about. What are those things? (Things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise) When you think on these things your heart will be guarded by the God of peace.

How would these things we are to think about change what we watch, listen to and read? (Allow responses) When you and I choose to think on the things God tells us to we are guarding our hearts from evil things that take our minds off of Jesus.

Finally, when we guard our hearts we will be content. What does being content mean? (Satisfied with what we have, not wanting more or anything else)

Paul is our example of why we can be content. What do we know about Paul’s life as a believer? Here is a sample of things Paul experienced as a believer: Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. (23 been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.)

How many of us have suffered for our faith in Jesus as Paul has? Yet we can grumble and complain about many things.

Let’s read 4:10-13. What has Paul learned in verse 11? To be content in whatever circumstance he is in. Why can Paul be content in whatever circumstance he is in? Verse 13-I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.

As we continue in the Christian race that we are in until we see Jesus face to face we must guard our hearts. We can have victory over the things in our lives that displease God. Christ will give us strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to do all things well.

Close in prayer remembering to pray for the students who may not be saved. Pray for the students who have a relationship with Christ to daily walk with Him and guard their hearts.

Review: Students create questions from the lesson.