The book of Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul while he was first imprisoned in Rome around 61 A.D. The clear theme of his letter focused on encouraging believers to rejoice in the Lord.
Ironically, here is Paul in prison, being persecuted for his faith—while exhorting believers to rejoice in the Lord. He exemplifies what it means to rejoice in the Lord when going through various trials, knowing that the testing of his faith was producing perseverance.
Rejoice In The Lord And Be Anxious For Nothing
The Apostle Paul also makes a profound statement in Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This is a comforting verse. No matter what difficult trials we experience in life, the Lord tells us to rejoice and not allow anxiety to steal our joy. Joy is a crucial element in the Christian faith. It doesn’t mean one feels happy or excited.
Rather, joy is deciding to trust God, even in the midst of turmoil and hardship. It’s like being in the eye of a hurricane. You know danger is around, but there is a calmness and confidence that God will make everything right.
Let Your Desires Be Known To God
Furthermore, this passage informs believers to let their requests and desires be made known to God. We are to demonstrate these requests through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Prayer is simply communication between God and you. It’s noble to be authentic and really share your heart to the Lord.
Job is a great example in the Bible about being authentic in prayer. Job was a righteous and wealthy man who lived in the land of Uz. One day, a great wind came and destroyed his house and he tragically lost his sons and daughters in the storm.
Scripture says that Job arose and tore his robe, shaved his head, fell to the ground and worshipped. He was obviously distraught, upset, confused, and angry.
However, in the midst of this great trial, he said: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:20-22).”
Despite this tragedy, Job did not blame God. He did not become bitter towards God but instead worshipped. This is the type of attitude we should have when things don’t go as planned in our lives.
Bitterness will not heal the soul. Anger won’t bandage the wounds—they lead to anxiety and stress. Instead, we are to be anxious for nothing, but trust in God’s sovereign plan. Psalm 136 tells us: “Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good. His mercy endures forever.”
I know this is easier said than done. The natural response for us when tragedy strikes is to be angry and upset over the pain and suffering we experience in life—whether that’s losing a loved one, health issues, job circumstances, or being treated unfairly by friends or co-workers.
Even Job lamented when he said: “For my groaning comes at the sight of my food, and my cries pour out like water (Job 3:24).” Despite our circumstances, God has called us to always rejoice.
Peace of God Will Guard Your Hearts And Minds In Christ Jesus
What happens when we constantly rejoice in the Lord? The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The Greek word for guard is φρουρήσει, and it literally means a “watcher in advance.” God knows the future. He is not only guarding us in the present, but he is preparing our steps for the future. Isn’t it comforting to know you have a God who orchestrates your steps?
Moreover, the Lord is guarding your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It’s amazing that when we trust in the Lord and allow the King of kings to renew our minds, we will have a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Don’t you want this perfect peace? Isn’t it a joy to be free from anxious thoughts? The world tries to find peace through wealth, job status, family, and entertainment. However, this is a temporary peace. It’s not the peace of God that surpasses all comprehension. Jesus told us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
In summary, the Bible teaches Christians to rejoice in the Lord always, and not to be anxious for anything. God will never leave us or forsake us. When we go through various trials, the Holy Spirit will comfort and guide us through. The Lord promises that He will guard our hearts and minds from negativity, the evils of this world, and from anxious thoughts.
As I stated before, the word for guard that Paul uses in the Greek is a “watcher in advance.” It’s encouraging that God sees the whole forest, not just the tree in front of us like we do. Therefore, because of all these truths, we have one simple command: Rejoice in the Lord. For God is in control. Amen!
Article written by Chad A. Damitz (M.Div)