Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
Over the past several weeks, I have been meditating on Philippians 4:4-7. Several things have been landing on my plate and I have struggled with worry and anxiety. My mom has always said that I have an “old soul.” By this she means that I struggled to live in the moment and enjoy the day before me. Paul’s words in Philippians have been balm for my soul over the last few weeks. What I want to do is walk through this passage phrase by phrase and offer a few personalized thoughts that might be helpful if you struggle with worry and anxiety:
“Rejoice in the Lord always”
Be happy in the Lord…ALWAYS. Even when things are crashing in around me I need to rejoice. There are so many difficulties in life yet, I can rejoice. I can rejoice at who God is in my difficulties. I can rejoice that he walks with me daily. I rejoice because he sustains me and works in me through various trials and troubles. He never changes even though my circumstances change – that is why I can rejoice in Him always.
“Again I will say rejoice”
Just in case you did not get it the first time, Mr. Hardhead, REJOICE. Be joyful; give thanks for who God is and his goodness in your life. If you woke up this morning and took a breath, you should rejoice – His mercies are new every morning!
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand”
It is easy to get along with others when I am rejoicing…always. This takes on even more intensity when I consider that Jesus could return at any moment. Would I want him to find me fussing and fighting with others or rejoicing?
“Do not be anxious about anything”
Anything? Yes – any single thing. Don’t fret. Don’t worry. Yeah right! There are so many things I need to worry about. What do I do with all the things that land on my plate – things I have to take care of right now? If I can’t worry what am I suppose to do?
“But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”
I need to lay every single thing I am anxious about before the Lord. I need to do this with thanksgiving. Why? He can handle all of my requests. He can deal with those things that seem insurmountable. He is God! After all, his burden is easy and his yoke is light.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
God’s peace (the complete opposite of anxiety) is given to me when I lay my cares and concerns at his feet. This is not just any old peace but peace that is unexplainable and uncontainable. Peace that permeates every aspect of my being. It guards my heart, the seat of my emotions. It guards my mind, the seat of my thoughts. It overflows from within.