4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4:8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
4:9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians from his prison cell. Paul was a man deeply acquainted with struggle, abuse, ailment, and persecution. Yet, even when he should be at his worst he is telling the Philippians to rejoice with him in the gospel. This seems strange to many people who do not know the Lord but Paul expected this, stating that the peace of God surpasses all understanding. How does one find joy and peace in the middle of a struggle?
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The battle over our hearts and minds start with us. Do not focus on your circumstances but the one who see us through the circumstance. We must keep our minds on the things of the Lord and not on the issues of this world, which serves a different master.
This passage is filled with God’s powerful promises if we choose to turn and trust Him fully. This passage teaches several different truths about what it means to rejoice in hard times and the steps that we can take to fully pursue leaning on God’s promises instead of being overwhelmed by anxiety.
The first is found in verse 5, the command is to lead your gentleness be known to everyone. That basically means to allow for others to see that we are remaining calm and trusting God during a hard trial as opposed to giving into fear. The way to react to life’s adversaries is a true testament to our close walk with God. It shows that we are practicing what we preach and in acting on our faith.
The second is found in verse 6. This is a command to not worry about literally anything! The reason why God gives us this command is because when we come to Him in prayer we know that we can fully trust that He is listening and that He is in full control of the situation. God’s sovereignty trumps our life’s events. His plan for our lives is not thwarted by a mere negative event that takes place. During the storms of life He is still in control is there ready for us to come to Him to take the burden off our backs.
The third is found in verse 7. When we choose to place our trust in Him, what we get in return is not just any peace but GOD’s peace! His peace is not comparable to anything else we’ve ever experienced. It is a peace that overcomes any anxiety and fear that we face and it is a peace that is sustained by God’s hand working in our lives.
The fourth and last is found in verse 8-9. This is a command to take our eyes off our circumstances and focus on God’s thoughts and perspectives towards life’s struggles. When we choose to focus on all these things we begin to move away from all the negative and scary things that we have convinced ourselves could happen during our hard times. God does not intend for us to focus on our scary and harmful situations. He longs for us to take our eyes off ourselves and focus on Him and His promises for our lives. God’s peace is sure to be with us, lean on that sustaining and everlasting promise.