Philippians 4:4-5 ESV
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.”
This word “rejoice” literally means to be favorably inclined towards (to prefer, to choose) God’s grace and to be glad for God’s grace (1).
So, what is God’s grace? It is the purpose for which he gave his life up for us on that cross, and that was that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24).
So, if we choose God’s grace, we are choosing to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. We are choosing to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We are choosing to take up our cross daily to follow (obey) Jesus Christ.
And, if we are glad for God’s grace, then we are happy to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and to make him Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We are happy to forsake our sinful practices and to walk in obedience to his commands. We have great joy in submitting to Jesus.
And, do you know that this word “reasonableness” (often translated “gentleness”) means fairness, sensibleness, wisdom, and equitableness? It also has to do with what is appropriate or proper. And, it has to do with being sound in judgment.
So, what does it mean to be sound in judgment? For one it means to be wholesome, healthy, and unblemished. So, this would mean to exercise the judgment (discernment) of God as taught us in his word, and to not adulterate the word of God for sinful pleasures or for personal gain.
It means to teach the purity of the Word of the Lord (in context), to do so in love, and with the heart of God. It is never lenient in the sense of being soft on sin, or in coddling people in their sin and not calling for repentance, but it is not so overly strict that it fails to show love and compassion.
Where a moral law is not involved, reasonableness will often follow the spirit of the law over the letter of the law in order to show love and mercy and to do good to others, such as Jesus did when he healed people on the Sabbath. Thus, we need to be those who exercise mercy in our judgment.
Philippians 4:5-7 ESV
“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.”
Fear is not a good thing. When we fear we lack trust in God. We are saying to God, “I don’t believe you have this. I don’t believe you can help me or save me. I don’t believe you are in control and that you are completely sovereign over all that you created.”
Nonetheless, has being afraid or fretting ever changed anything in your life for the better? It never did for me! It only made matters much worse, for not only was I being faced with difficult and troublesome circumstances, but I added fear on top, which just added more misery.
So, when the feeling of fear hits us, our immediate response should be to pray, and we should ask others to pray for us, too, if feelings of fear overwhelm us, or if we aren’t sure what to do, such as if a decision is required of us, which it sometimes is.
But we need to immediately put our trust in the Lord, and give it to him, and trust him to work his will in our circumstances, and then just ask him for wisdom in knowing how to respond and to know what changes we need to make, or to know what steps he would have us take.
And, when we give it over to him, and we trust him, and we pray for his wisdom and guidance, and we don’t worry or take matters into our own hands, then the peace comes, because we are resting in Jesus and we aren’t fretting over our circumstances which are beyond our control.
Philippians 4:8 ESV
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
In 2008 my husband and I made the decision to examine the things we were watching in movies against this passage of Scripture. We had many, most of which were considered “family friendly.” But when compared to this Scripture, we ended up throwing them all out.
We can get so desensitized to the things we take into our minds if we are avid TV and movie watchers, which we used to be. Or even if we are big on social media in every respect and our hearts and minds are not guarded, we can become desensitized to all the junk there, too.
Even children’s cartoons contain much that we, as adults, should not be taking into our minds. Many of them can be very suggestive. They throw in all kinds of stuff into these cartoons which are targeted towards the parents of the children who are watching the cartoons with their children.
The point here is that we need to be very guarded about the things we take into our minds on a daily basis. We can’t control every environment we find ourselves in on a daily basis, but we do have control over what we choose to read, to watch, to listen to, and to entertain in our minds.
Thus, we need to fill our minds with what is of the Spirit of God, with the Word of God, with Christian music, and with encouragement from other Christians which promotes holiness and godliness, and which does not encourage continuance in sinful practices.
Philippians 4:9 ESV
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
The bottom line in all of this is that we need to be followers of Jesus Christ who not only read and listen to the Word of God, but who do what it says. We obey the Lord in all ways, and we don’t resist him or ignore him and his promptings in our hearts and in our lives.
We are good stewards of all that he has entrusted to us, we aren’t lazy or complacent, but we listen for his voice and we follow his lead and his urgings. We think on right things, and just things, and things which are pure in heart and morally upright, and not on what is immoral and wicked.
We trust the Lord in all things, and we lean not on our own understanding, but in all ways we acknowledge him and his path for our lives. And, we put the word of God into practice in our lives and we do not make sin our practice, for we love our Lord, and to love him is to obey him.
And, he will supply all we need to live holy lives for his purposes and for his glory. We don’t have to do any of this in our own wisdom and strength. Our dependency is in him alone, so he gets all the glory, honor, and praise.
Be with Me, Lord
By Thomas O Chisholm
Be with me, Lord – I cannot live without THEE,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need THY strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev’rywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me Lord! No other gift or blessing
THOU COULDST bestow could with this one compare –
A constant sense of THY abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that THOU ART near.
Be with me, Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.
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