Today’s reading is from Philippians 4:4-8
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So it is telling us to rejoice in the Lord always. Does that mean ‘always’? Through the good and the bad? How do we do it?
Recently, I went through an intense waiting season for 16 weeks, to see if I was going to be eligible for unemployment. I even had a hearing with a judge, which was nerve wracking and anxiety producing. I prayed, others prayed, and we waited. I felt confident I did a good job representing myself.
The answer was NO.
So I am told in this passage to rejoice always, even when the answer is no.
When the questions remain unanswered.
When I feel like I am not heard, and my heart is confused.
When Life is not fair.
I am told to rejoice. Not once but twice.
So the writer is making a point. REJOICE.
When your heart is hurt, even when you feel unappreciated or misunderstood. REJOICE.
It is a choice. That is how we do it, we choose.
We take action with our hearts to rejoice.
Then the writer says, in the midst of your rejoicing, let your gentleness be evident, to all around you.
Our gentleness, even when we want to be angry or not so pleasant, our gentleness is to be observed by all, who are watching and walking the journey with us.
Just as we choose to worship, we choose to
Then he reminds us ‘The Lord is near’.
Now I know in my heart if the Lord is near, rejoicing is a reaction we all will have.
We will naturally move into worship towards our God.
So is he telling us to remember ‘The Lord is near’.
To remind us,
you don’t walk this path of life alone.
That is a wonderful reminder that He doesn’t leave us, even when we may feel like he did.
The Lord is near.
Then the writer moves to encourage us.
To be not anxious. Be prayerful. Be thankful.
The end result will be PEACE. A peace that we won’t understand, can’t understand because it is from God.
Read it again with me.
“The peace of God, which is beyond our understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds if we walk in the presence of Christ Jesus.”
He will guard our hearts. So when we are wounded or attacked we will stay safe. The core of who we are, our heart condition, will stay clear and focused, even when we don’t understand.
The answer might be no, but IF we walk.. in the presence of Jesus He protects our hearts and our minds. He protects us.
Isn’t that an awesome promise?
The rest of this chapter continues the thought.
Vs 8, “Finally brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practise. And the God of peace will be with you.”
I hope this brings encouragement to you.
When life brings us struggles, and we don’t understand why it is not fair or just.
We can hold onto the the thoughts, that the Lord is near and in control.
We don’t have to understand everything.
We just have to Trust in the one who does.