I want to begin by reading part of the scripture that is found in Philipians 4:4-9,
"Rejoice in the Lord, alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known until all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
In this section of scripture, the apostle Paul addresses several specific areas of conduct regarding the saints:
1. Our rejoicing. Verse 4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord." Inspite of the fact that Paul was in prison while writing this epistle, he emphasizes the importance of joy. Seventeen times, the words rejoice, rejoiced, rejoicing, or joy are found in this epistle. He tells us that the source of our rejoicing should be the Lord. It is not rejoicing in one's circumstances (which are frequently a cause of anything but joy); it is not rejoicing in your favorite sports team having won the Super Bowl; it is not a political/election victory; it is rejoicing in the Lord because He is the source of true joy.
The season of rejoicing: when should we rejoice? Always. Always. In some versions, the scripture says, "alway" without an "s". We would say always today. This word means to always be rejoicing in the Lord. We cannot rejoice in other things always, because other things are always changing. But we can rejoice in the Lord always, because He never changes; He is always good. The apostle Pauls stresses the importance of rejoicing by saying, "...again, I say Rejoice" (verse 4). This repeating of the exhortation shows the importance of rejoicing in the Lord. This will cure depression, stop doubts, and end discouragement. It is very important that the saints rejoice in the Lord.
2. Our reasonableness (verse 5). The meaning of moderation when he says, "Let your moderation be known unto all men" is difficult to express in one English word. Wuest's commentary states that it means "not being unduly rigorous; being satisfied with less than one's due; forbearance". Others have explained the word in such terms as "big-heartedness; mildness; and gracious". It is a disposition that is not contentious; difficult to get along with; selfish; cruel; or cranky. It is a person with a pleasant attitude or disposition. He said let it be known unto all men. Let is show. We should be this way to all people. Some of us are nice to some people, but not nice to all people. I know that it is difficult to be nice to some people, but we should at least try. What is the motive for this? He said, "The Lord is at hand". This refers to, yes, the coming of the Lord, but it also means that God is always watching, and this should motivate us in Christian conduct.
3. Our Mindset. Verses 6 and 7 are very important because in these verses he is teaching against worrying and anxiety. I have come to understand that worry and anxiety are a big problem for alot of Christians. Right here in these two verses is the cure for that problem. It tells us to relax, and not to be uptight and burdened with numerous worries and anxieties. Years ago, Elder Douglas coined a phrase: "Don't worry about a thing," and I caught a hold of that. I would hear him say it over and over again and it kind of sank down in my spirit. I caught a hold of: "Don't worry about a thing". Here in verse 6, the apostle tells us to "Be careful for nothing". In the Greek order of words, it says "nothing, be anxious about." God is not trying to encourage carelessness and irresponsibility. The word translated careful means to be anxious; to be troubled with cares. It is an exhortation to not worry.
4. Our Answer. He tells us in verse 6, that the cure for worrying and anxiety is prayer. The kind of praying necessary is described by saying, "Let your requests be made unto God." He says, "in everything by prayer...". I find that in my own personal life, I find myself becoming fretful over things and not praying about them; trying to figure it out without talking to God about it. When he says "everything", that means that nothing is to be excluded from prayer. Anything that can upset you and cause you to worry is something that needs to be taken to God in prayer.
Next he says, "by prayer". The word prayer, in this verse, speaks of words addressed to God as an act of worship and devotion. Then he mentions "supplication". This word supplication speaks of the passion in our praying and devotion, or worship to God. This word speaks about the energy in prayer. Prayer is not to be a casual exercise. "Prayer and supplication with thanksgiving": when we give thanks to God, we are praising God. Prayer without praise is usesless. If you cannot thank God for His blessings, why should He bless you again? Don't expect much from God if your praying does not honor Him.
Then, he uses the word "requests". The word requests refers to the petitions involved. Praying involves asking for specific things. In verse 7, he talks about the "peace of God". This peace of God is not to be confused with salvation which brings peace with God. When we take our needs to the Lord in prayer, God will give us a peace that is beyond our comprehension, and this peace will take care of our hearts and minds, and will remove the worry and anxiety that has afflicted you.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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