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. Philippians 4:4-7
Paul in today’s passage tells four important things. He tells us to rejoice, he tells us that the Lord is near, he tells to be anxious about nothing and he tells us about the peace of God.
In verse 4 of today’s passage Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Paul is telling us that in all circumstances, including suffering, we must learn to rejoice and gain strength by recalling the Lord’s goodness, faithfulness, nearness and promises. Joy and gentleness in the middle of difficult times will definitely stand out and “be evident to all” because such an attitude it typically lacking in people who, without God, have no sure and steady means of coping with life’s stresses.
In the very next verse (verse 5) Paul tells us “The Lord is near.” Paul is telling is that we must believe that Jesus may come at any time. The New Testament tells us that Christ’s return is imminent-certain and soon. This hope and expectancy has always characterized New Testament Christians and Churches. Christ wants it to be that way so that we are always ready, working and watching for his appearance.
In verse 6 Paul tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Paul is telling us here that the one sure cure for worry is prayer, for the following reasons: (1) Godly prayer takes the focus off the difficulty of the situation and puts it on the power of God. (2) Through prayer, we renew our trust in the Lord’s faithfulness by releasing to him all our anxieties and problems, knowing that he will take them because he cares for us. (3) When we release our problems and concerns to God, he will replace them with his peace. This supernatural peace will guard our minds and protect our hearts as a result of our communication and companionship with Christ Jesus. (4) Through prayer, God strengthens us to do all that he desires of us. (5) Through prayer, we receive mercy, grace and help in time of need. (6) As we spend time with God in prayer, he is able to assure us that in all things he is working for our good.
In the last verse of today’s passage (verse 7) Paul tells us, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul here is telling us that God’s peace is the opposite of human anxiety. And it comes when we call on God from hearts that are fully devoted to Christ and his Word. And by committing our cares to God, we can determine not to worry about them because they are now his concern. And we also see three things about the “peace of God”.
(1) The Peace of God is an inner sense of calm and assurance delivered from Christ by the Holy Spirit within us. It is not based on emotions or circumstances, but on the solid foundation of our relationship with God. It involves a firm confidence that Jesus is near and that God’s love will be active in our lives for our good.
(2) When we commit our troubles and concerns to God in prayer, his peace will stand guard at the door of our hearts and minds, preventing the cares, worries and heartaches of life from troubling our lives and robbing us of our hope in Christ.
(3) If fear and anxiety return, we can go to God in prayer with a thankful heart, and once again he will send his peace to guard our hearts. Under God’s “protective custody” we will again feel safe and be able rejoice in the Lord.