Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
“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.”
If you look up the word “rejoice” to see its meaning coming from the word in the original text, you might learn that this rejoicing is literally delighting in God’s grace. And what is his grace to us? It isn’t just that Jesus died to forgive us our sins and to give us the hope of eternal life with God.
God’s grace to us, in sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and to be resurrected from the dead, is our deliverance from our bondage to sin via dying with Christ to sin. And it is the freedom to now walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation to us, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness (Tit 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:24).
So, if we rejoice (delight in God’s grace), then we take pleasure in and satisfaction in our Lord delivering us from our slavery to sin so that we can now, by the Spirit, live holy lives pleasing to God. And this means that we now say “No!” to sin and we say “Yes” to God as a matter of practice.
And we are to let our reasonableness (gentleness) be known to everyone. And this has to do with treating people with fairness and equity. But it also involves justice which seeks the real intent of what is really at stake. For it fulfills the spirit of the law.
Now understand here that this is not speaking of relaxing God’s moral standards, for when Jesus spoke of the spirit of the law, often what he taught was much more strict in its interpretation than what was stated in the ten commandments.
For example, Jesus taught that to look at a woman lustfully was to commit adultery with her in one’s heart. So, he stretched the meaning of adultery to go beyond just the physical act, to what is also performed in the mind in the way of sexual desires outside the confines of the marriage relationship.
So, this can include viewing porn, fantasizing sex with others in one’s mind, self-gratification, sexual or romantic contact or conversations outside of marriage, and reading or watching anything with sensuality and sexually suggestive or explicit material in it, etc.
So, if you are married or not, and you are doing these types of things, and in your mind you are lusting after others to whom you are not married, God calls that adultery. Plain and simple! And if married, that means you are sinning against God and spouse and your marriage bed is NOT undefiled.
What kinds of things today might lead anyone of us to be anxious? Fearmongering appears to be front and center in the news on a daily basis: We are to fear the virus, and to fear not taking the injection, and to fear people who don’t wear masks or who don’t take the injection.
And we are to fear that we might infect others if we don’t take the injection, or if we don’t wear a mask, and that they might die on account of us. And we are to fear guns and people who are different from us and conflict and differences of opinion and not being in unity with the world.
But is that what God has designed for us? No! We are to be anxious for nothing!! We are NOT to fear viruses, people, no masks, no injections, guns, conflict, differences of opinion, or people who are different from us. And we are NOT to be in unity with the world, but with Jesus Christ.
Is God still sovereign over our lives? Yes! Is he still all powerful? Yes! Is he still in control? Yes! Can he take care of us? Yes! Should we be sensible people like at any other time in history? Yes! But we should not be afraid of anything. We just need to let the Spirit guide us in all of this. Peace!
So, instead of letting every news story instill fear in us, we need to pray. We need to seek God’s counsel. We need to pray for wisdom to make the right decisions for ourselves while still being considerate of others, too. We don’t need to demand our rights, but we also should not give way to fear. Peace!
If our Lord leads us to not take the injection, then we shouldn’t take it, and we need to trust him with the results, even if we are called out and called names because we made a conscious decision before God to do what is right for our own bodies and minds and hearts.
If we don’t go along with the crowd, and if we don’t unite our minds and hearts with the world, and if we don’t compromise our faith and convictions, we are going to be called lots of different things, and we will be falsely accused of things we did not do, too.
But we can’t fear what other people will think about us or do to us. We have to do what is right for ourselves in the eyes of God, and we must follow the teachings of Scripture and not compromise with the world to make peace with the world.
So, don’t let people intimidate you into doing what your conscience is telling you is not right for you. Stand your ground! Do it with kindness and gentleness, but don’t give in out of fear. Jesus called us to be his holy people and to be unlike the world because we are being made to be like HIM.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.