“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Last Sabbath the Sabbath School group I sat in on was talking about the book of Philippians and it was so good I decided this morning I would look for the next few days at the texts in that little letter by Paul to the believers in Philippi that I found worth remembering as I journeyed through the Bible this summer. It’s just a little book, only 4 chapters, but as someone in class said—it’s such a powerfully positive book!
REJOICE—in the Lord—always—I will say it again—REJOICE! I think Paul is trying to say something! J When I am “in the Lord” I have something to rejoice about. I wonder how direct the correlation is between how much I am “in the Lord” and how much I will rejoice? Or said another way, I wonder if the evidence of rejoicing in my life is directly correlated to the measure of my life being “in the Lord?” Just a wondering thought!
There are actually three things I can do, as recorded in this and the next three verses that help me today as I focus on being in Him.
2. Be gentle
3. Pray (so I don’t have to be anxious!)
4. Think about these things (which I’ll save for tomorrow’s text!)
Being happy, being kind, and knowing where to turn when I get overwhelmed. That’s what Paul says to me this morning! Being happy is good. Other people like to be around happy people! Being kind and gentle is good. People like others who are kind and gentle, and I know I like being around people who are kind and gentle to me! But the one that caught my attention most this morning was the one about praying. “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” EVERYTHING appears to be fair game to pray about! And it doesn’t appear to be about begging or pleading but simply presenting my requests—WITH THANKSGIVING. I wonder if I have missed the mark in prayer sometimes by thinking that I have to plead rather than just present (thankful that I know God knows what’s best and is listening.) Maybe prayer is more about sharing my life with my friend God, knowing and being thankful that He is both my God and my Friend, than selfishly expecting Him to give me whatever I ask for!
But here was the best ah-ha moment this morning—HOW God answers my prayer. After I “pray about everything- with thanksgiving” he says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It doesn’t appear that God is just a genie in a bottle ready to grand MY every wish the way I want it. He is a God that promises His peace and His presence in my life always, which is greater than getting what I want, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Paul mentions several times in this letter the idea of “guarding my heart,” maybe because He knows my tendency to let other things rule my heart, the greatest consumer being myself! I want to control my life and everything in it. When I can’t, as a Christian, sometimes THAT is the only time I pray—to get God to give me what I want. But removing the “anxiety” in life apparently does not come by being in control but being confident in Someone greater that will be with me and give me PEACE, which is apparently greater than whatever it is that I am asking for. Does that make sense? It clicked with me this morning. I pray that God will relieve your anxiety today as well as He offers you peace and you experience His presence in your life.
Have a great and peace-filled day (rejoicing and being kind and gentle to everyone!)