“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)
I love this scripture. Rejoice! Who doesn’t want to rejoice, to celebrate, to show great joy, to feel good?
It is easy to rejoice when things are going well, but when troubled times come, when it feels like your life is falling apart, rejoicing is not the ‘normal’ reaction.
In this verse it says to rejoice in the Lord always. Always? What does that even mean? Are you supposed to go around being joyful all the time even when bad things happen in life?
This verse is showing a way to not only get through difficult times, but to experience peace during the difficult times. How?
Take your focus away from your problems and focus on something that is beautiful and wonderful; focus on God and His love for you. Focus on His promise of peace. Rejoice in the Lord. By putting your attention on God instead of the burdens that are too big to bear, you are focusing on what is right, pure, lovely, admirable, and definitely praiseworthy. You are focusing on hope, on what is possible—with God ALL things are possible.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Instead of being anxious and suffering through another day, know that you don’t have to handle it all on your own; you are not alone.
Pray. Have a conversation with God. Tell God your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, and how you feel. He already knows everything about you, but by having a conversation with God, you open yourself up to hear from Him.
Present your requests to God. Seek His guidance in all things and trust that God will lead you, that He will guide you in the best way to go. Trust that God has got it handled.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” Be willing to listen for answers to your prayers. Be open to what God may want to do through you to help your situation.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Imagine yourself being gentle. Does this not evoke a feeling of calm, of peace?
By focusing on God instead of your problems, you will receive peace beyond all understanding. You will be able to rejoice in His love, knowing that He loves you so much and that you are not alone.
God is almighty, all-powerful, and He loves you! Who better to have on your team in times of trouble? Knowing that you have given it all to God, that He has promised you peace, you can go forth filled with hope that is greater than any fear or doubt.