Posted by: The Simple Guy | March 19, 2010

Rejoice in Christ

Lately, my mind has continually been drawn back to Philippians 4 1-9.

Philippians 4:1-9 MKJV
(1)  Therefore, my brothers, ones loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand fast in this way in the Lord, beloved ones.
(2)  I beg Euodia and Syntyche that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
(3)  And I also beg you, true yoke-fellow, help those women who labored in the gospel with me and with Clement, and others of my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
(4)  Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice!
(5)  Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
(6)  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
(7)  And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(8)  Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.
(9)  Do those things which you have also learned and received and heard and seen in me. And the God of peace shall be with you.

I think this passage is the answer to worry.  Not just because verse 6 says not to, but because the whole section is a “how to” on winning the battle against it.

Paul begins (verses 1-3) by encouraging some people who had gotten off track to live in harmony with Christ.  He tells them to be of the same mind.  (a direct reference to chapter 2 – the mind of Christ)  Lesson 1, none of this will work if not done with an upward and outward focus.

Then comes this command:  “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!”  I get lost in this sentence.  First of all, this is not subjective, it is imperative.  Not just a “I hope you feel this way” statement.  This is a direct order.  Rejoice!  Not a feeling, an action.  But I don’t feel joyful.  Nobody said you had to.  Rejoice.  But that isn’t all.  “Rejoice” is followed by a key prepositional phrase.  “Rejoice in the Lord”  Not rejoice in your circumstances, or your happy feelings, or your finances, or your great job, or. . . .Rejoice in Christ.  It does not say rejoice about Christ, either.  It is rejoice in Christ.  (in chapter 3 he had talked about counting everything as refuse for the privilege to be found in Christ, with a righteousness that was not his own – I think this is a direct reference to that thought)  So this is about by faith grasping onto the only thing constant and true – Christ – and rejoicing in Him.

How often?  Always.  Well the only thing good enough for me to always rejoice is Christ.  And this bears repeating, so he does.

Verse 5 is beautiful.  Let your moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand.  Moderation in this context is a sweet reasonableness.  Where does this come from?  The realization that Christ is in the room.  Not just thinking about Him, He is really here.

Now comes verse 6.  Don’t worry, but give it to Him, you know since He is right here.  Every worry is covered in the next phrase.  Prayer (my problem) and supplication (someone else’s problem) with thanksgiving (He is here to take the load off my shoulders and give me wisdom etc.)  Then what happens? Verse 7.  God’s peace that passes my understanding will guard my heart.  This didn’t say I would figure it all out.  It said He already has, so trust Him.

Verses 8 and 9 give me something to do instead.  I find worry gets worse when I am idle.  He knows this.  So he give me a path forward out of worry.  Think on these things (true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praise)  and act like this (look at those who have gone before and follow)

This is how to not worry.  Not my idea, He said it.

Craig

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Responses

  1. Thanks
    🙂

  2. Good words, Craig. And it is always a timely reminder not to worry.

  3. Thanks much Craig for declaring the truth of scripture that admonishes us to look to Christ and to no one or anything else!

    Feelings are fickle, but Christ is ever the same!

    P.S. Please pray for my Dad who is battling some serious health problems and for my mom and the rest of the family as we seek to care for him.

  4. Thanks Tom,
    We will be praying.
    Craig


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