“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
Paul gets to write to us to tell us to rejoice because he was in a situation not many of us would be rejoicing about. Paul was under house arrest when he wrote this. Yet he is telling us that his joy and ours too is in Jesus! It’s not in the circumstances he was in. Boy don’t we all feel like we have been a little under house arrest this past year. One day I was having a big old pity party about the whole realm of this past year and I was whining to myself, “I miss plays, I miss sporting events, I miss visiting with friends and having friends over, I miss concerts!” Then all of a sudden it dawned on me, I really am not even a big concert girl, too many people and too loud most of the time. But I still miss the idea of them. But Paul is telling us to rejoice always while he is sitting under house arrest and not able to go anywhere. At least with us it’s the whole world that looks different. Pauls world was passing him by.
The next line “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone” is translated in other versions “let your gentleness be known to all men”. The greek word here is epiekeia. This word can mean gentleness, patience, softness. He then follows that statement with “The Lord is at hand”. What I see Paul as saying here is how we handle our circumstances that we are in will show if the Lord is at hand in our lives or not. Me having a pity party was probably not a very Godly thing to do at the time. We are supposed to be rejoicing anyway, even if things don’t feel very joyful and be patient about the circumstances so that we can be a light in the circumstances or the pandemic or whatever is going on. Why? Because we live in the awareness of Jesus return and in the awareness of His presence in our everyday circumstances.
“do not be anxious about anything” I have always loved this verse and it is one that gets quoted quite a bit in christian circles. But it is oh so hard at times. We live in an anxiety ridden world. For years I did not know what it was like to struggle with anxiety but the last few years brought it to the forefront of my mind. But Paul doesn’t say here, now try not to be anxious he plainly says “do not be anxious”. This is not an option! And now that Paul has told us to rejoice in our circumstances, to be patient and gentle and to be seen that way with all men and not to be anxious about anything, he will tell us how to be and to combat all of that.
“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
In everything – God doesn’t just tell us to don’t worry, be happy! The only way to combat the anxiety that comes from circumstances, the only way to be joyful even when the days, the months, the year doesn’t seem joyful and the only way to show ourselves gentle to the world is to bring it all to Him. In prayer ~ stay in communication. In supplication, the definition of supplication is the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Go ahead and ask him for what you want. And with thanksgiving ~ be grateful that you know that He hears you and that He is already working toward an answer for you.
And what happens when we do these things, we will have the peace of God. So much peace that we won’t even understand why we feel the way we do and it will be a guard to our hearts and our minds. I have had it happen! I have had circumstances that I was in the middle of that I had no choice but to bring it to Him and lay them at His feet and I have had the most strange calm and peace over me in those circumstances that I knew it could only be from the Lord.
So whatever is troubling you today, keep laying it at His feet. Keep in close communication with God over it, ask Him for resolution, beg Him if you need to, and be grateful that He is already working it out and then let Him show you His peace in it!