Rejoice Always!

Philippians 4 is a powerful chapter in a powerful epistle. I would to show how verses 4-7 tell us the kind of life we are meant to live. It shows us how powerful prayer is, how we should respond to life (the ups and downs, good and bad), the kind of attitude we should have and the promise offered to us.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

The theme of joy is prominent in Philippians. The command to rejoice can always be obeyed, even in the midst of conflict, adversity, and deprivation, because joy rests not on favorable circumstances, but “in the Lord.” Paul uses repetition to emphasize this truth. When we see a word phrase repeated in the bible, we should take special notice of them. Paul is telling us rejoice always that in each moment we are to rejoice for all is a blessing life is a miracle. All of us have suffered through bad time, but how often do we take time to rejoice. It’s more important to rejoice in the bad times, because that is when we need it most.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Gentleness denotes the generous spirit that rises above offenses, of which Jesus provides the supreme example.  Jesus models the kind of life we are meant to live. We are called to love, serve, heal, and join together all to the glory of God. The second sentence of this verse may be understood as looking to Christ’s coming a future event and taking hope from this. Paul may also be speaking of Christ’s abiding presence with those united to Him. I think that it is the second. Our hope and strength comes from the present and abiding presence of Christ. This verse is speaking about how we present ourselves in and to the world. We are showing the world how life with God has and is changing us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

This verse is packed with a lot. We could spend our whole life studying and living out this verse alone. Anxiety specifies the manner that is incompatible with trust in God. If we trust in God, there is nothing to worry about, because God is in control and if this is so then God means all for our good. It may not look that way to us, but even our darkest moment God can use to bless us. In every situation means at every time, there is not a time when this is not so, whatever is happening wherever we are we are to do this. The four terms used here make up two couplets. Paul is not defining separate types of prayers. Rather, the cluster of words shows what importance he attaches to the practice of prayer. Prayer provides an outlet for anxiety. Doing so with thanksgiving is itself an antidote to worry. Pray to God at all times not in anxiety but with thankfulness. There is no need to worry. Prayer is important and powerful. Thankfulness is the right attitude to have. God has lavished on us unlimited and unconditional love and grace, we have been blessed with so much and should be thankful for all of it. Thankfulness is not a prerequisite, but a response to what is already ours.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is the direct promise to prayer. What cannot be fully comprehended can nevertheless be peacefully experienced by those who are “in Christ.” Peace that comes from God is never-ending and can withstand everything that comes before it. There are certain things we will never understand, yet if we prayer and trust God we will deepen our faith and may gain further knowledge, but peace, hope, and grace are not always things we can understand and are not in any way intellectual. I didn’t understand the Trinity and this is still something I cannot completely comprehend but I opened myself to letting this change and affect me and it has. Our life is fullest, most beautiful, and rewarding when lived In Christ.

I have only touched on these verses I could say more, but that will have to wait for another time. I hope that I have highlighted enough to show how powerful these lines of scripture are and may provoke you to study them further. I know I will and I will share my findings.

Grace and peace

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