4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 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. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
As our Redeemer has come and brought new life, we now live as a people who view the world differently. We are a people of hope (remember – confidant expectation) and of rejoicing.
The Apostle Paul’s words have an upbeat and encouraging tone. All of these verses are oft quoted and rightfully so. In just a few words we find these encouragement:
- Rejoice – He deals with the fact that as Christians, we always have reason to rejoice – always. You may not want to rejoice about your current situation, but you can always rejoice about your life in Christ and His work for you.
- Reasonableness – What an interesting word! When dealing with others we always hope for them to be reasonable. Don’t we want to be known as someone who can be dealt with effectively and with reason?
- Anxiety – There is no reason for anxiety for we have Someone who can handle all our difficulties. We need only to hand them over to Him and watch Him work.
- Peace – I love this verse (7). God’s peace is ours even when peace seems to be the last thing available to us; it surpasses understanding! I’ve seen that work in my own life and it is pretty amazing.
- Finally, we have a long list of admirable traits upon which to meditate.
- Lovely things (or people)
- Commendable things
- Worthy of Praise – Only God Himself is Worthy of our Praise
How would your day be different if you were mindful of these things all day long rather than the ridiculous things we hear in the news, or on the gossip we are exposed to at work? That takes a personal decision to train your mind in the direction of the true and lovely things of the world rather than the junk that surrounds us. Far too often I am approached by people who are thinking about lies, dishonor, injustice, filth . . . you get the point. And they can’t figure out why their lives are difficult and sleep evades them. Paul’s words ring out against those thought patterns and God’s Holy Spirit can enable a different lifestyle. But we must cooperate. Sometimes I choose to wallow in that miasma of pain and wow – that’s just crazy. But God has a better path that is not contingent upon my circumstance but instead upon His grace. And that path is true, and honorable, and just, and pure . . .