By Kristina Cornell
As I was seeking the Lord, asking what He would have me to write, Philippians 4 bubbled up in my heart. As I began to read that chapter (for the thousandth time) I could not decide where to place my focus. In this chapter live some of my favorite scripture verses. I finally decided, we will make this a series.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Verse 4 and 5 point to how we are to greet one another and how to behave with others.
Evidently, there was some drama going on between the ladies that were working with Paul.
He was encouraging the church (his friends) in Philipi to “exhort” these ladies in love. And evidently, he felt it necessary to proceed in detail, so they would know precisely how to do it.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Yep, it means exactly what it says. No
alternate Greek meaning. The same Paul who was once the Pharisee of all Pharisees; the
Christian killer, and also the teacher, the evangelist, the prisoner; this is the opening statement on how to fix the drama. So, I was thinking about that. This means that no matter what we face, no matter who is around, no matter what, we exhibit joy outwardly. Now, I want to be clear, I have been thrown under the bus more than once in my life (as I am sure you have).
Honestly, I did not feel compelled to rejoice. I wanted to express outwardly, but it was not joy. Having said that, this whole “rejoice” thing must be pretty important right? After all, It is the beginning of the “behavioral” teaching. Then I found that when I am rejoicing, it is difficult to be negative in any way at all. The two just cannot live together. Ah… It was a set up.
The next verse “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Right now, I have this
mental image of Jesus standing beside me. Think about that for a moment. Pretty sure I would have a “gentle” spirit, as not to offend the Lord. Aha! I am starting to get it now. We are
supposed to exude gentleness while rejoicing in the Lord (who is standing right beside us),
considering how we love our neighbors as ourselves.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Not supposed to worry. Not supposed to get
distracted. Not concerning anything. Rather, we are to ask the Lord, thankful that He is listening to our hearts; for what we need.
Paul is always so good when it comes to the payoff. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Interestingly, peace in this verse translates “prosperity”. Say it that way, “and the prosperity of God”. Continuing, transcends meaning: is superior. Guard in this passage is a strong version of the word guard, translating: as a soldier would guard the city wall. Heart meaning your emotions, your will, the center of who you are. Minds: your plans and your thoughts After I dug into the Greek meanings of the words, I like re-reading it, descriptively: “And the prosperity of God is superior and will guard like a soldier protecting his land, your will, your emotions, the center of who you are. Also, all of your plans and thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
Pretty sure after hearing this message there was a lot less back biting, gossip, division. I would guess that there was a new level of unity, surely less drama. As we continue on his life we should put these verses into practice, daily. We are the church, the children of God. We are his ambassadors in a dark world. How would He want to be represented? Maybe we should commit
these key words to memory: Rejoice! Gentleness. Pray. Thankful. Prosperity.