I’m camped on Philippians 4 at the moment and I just have to share. The simple yet powerful, back to basics truth that is written is incredible. Check this out:
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 every situation, 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.
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 practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:4-9 NIV)
I mean, c’mon! Firstly, Paul encourages us to rejoice. No matter what’s going on, no matter what is weighing you down, no matter your circumstances, no matter what worries or fears are flooding your mind – rejoice! And he doesn’t only say it once. He says it twice, which means he’s trying to get our attention, huh?! Rejoicing is about bringing your attention and focus back to where it should be – not on your worries but on your Creator. Rejoice!
Secondly, Paul commends us to be gentle. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I feel or even think of doing when I am frazzled and burdened down with life is being gentle. I think that he is reminding us here that it matters how you respond to those around you. That it despite what’s going on in your mind or your circumstances, you need to treat those around you and everyone you come in contact with, with gentleness. No-one really deserves to be treated harshly, especially when there is no actual reason for it other than what’s going on inside of you. Be gentle!
Thirdly, I think Paul is teaching us that God is faithful and trustworthy. That God’s got it. That His peace covers all and we don’t need to worry, we only need to trust. So simple, yet so difficult to do. I believe that journeying with God is all about laying everything down and letting Him do what He needs to do. Put simply, trust God! That’s it! Trust Him! He is the Author and Creator of all, He is the Faithful and Just and He who began a good work in you will complete it. Trust God!
Lastly, we are to live ethically. Paul goes through a list of commendations that I believe are designed to exhort us to focus on good living. It’s about a change of perspective. Taking our eyes off our worries and focusing them on God which gives us room to concentrate on what living is really all about, and to do it well. To live ethically is to make the right choices, to live according to God’s Word and to live with a clear conscience. It’s incredibly freeing and less-stressful to live without having to cover up lies or deceptions, to make good choices and to do everything to the best of your ability. Live ethically.
This is pure GOLD! I could go on and unpack this even more, and I will, but I won’t bore you with any more of my musings today. I’ll continue in private. I just felt to encourage you with this beautiful section of scripture. I hope that you get something out of it too.
Let me leave you with The Message version of the same scripture portion – just a little more beautiful food for thought…
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!
Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.
Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realised.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
(Philippians 4:4-9 MSG)
Blessings, lovely one!