Do What You're Told!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.
Verses 4, 5, and 6 of Philippians provide three of my favorite commands in scripture:
Return to the joy found in relationship with Jesus! Did you know that returning to joy needs to be a priority in your life. It’s a literal command. In order to be an effective and obedient follower of Jesus, you need to be making time in your life to rejoice (recalibrate your spirit in joy) in the Lord! In saying that, if you are having difficulty returning to joy, you may need to break some emotional relationships with your circumstances. Your level of joy is not supposed to be led by what’s happening around you, it’s led by what God has put in you… Himself! You do not have permission to allow your joy to be led by your finances, external relationships, physical health, or the culture you live in. Your joy, which you get to manage, is only allowed to be led by your relationship with Jesus. The cool part is when you choose to direct your joy towards your relationship with God. It actually makes a positive difference in your decision making. This new found clarity in joy, actually will begin to affect finances, external relationships, physical health, and the culture you live in. Joy actually becomes a source of strength, which then empowers us into the next clear commandment in Philippians 4…
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Now, that our joy has revealed the Lord is available to us intimately or as quoted in verse 5 “The Lord is at hand”, we are commanded to reveal Him to the world through gentleness or more simply put, friendship without expectation. I like to look at this as pressure free evangelism. There is clearly a place for focused and strategic evangelism, via door to door outreach, tent-meetings,etc… No doubt about it, but most of us will find the bulk of our evangelizing opportunities by just building expectation-free relationships in our day-to-day lives. The people that go where you go on a day-to-day basis. When we are intentional in allowing our joy to affect our everyday relationships, people are impacted. Here’s the thing: most people are desperate to be “happy”, which is a by-product of joy. Encountering someone who’s joy is not impacted by external circumstances is unusual and almost startling in most communities. It causes people to take notice, question their own hearts, and provides a Holy Spirit built door for you to witness where your joy is found. Have you ever heard the expression “You attract more flies with sugar than salt”. Of course, we are not comparing unbelievers to flies, but the concept that walking in a gentle spirit is spiritually attractive to people. This brings us to the final commandment we find in this passage of Scripture.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Anxious for nothing, seems like a tall order doesn't it? There seems to be too many opportunities in my life for anxiousness to creep in to be “anxious for nothing”. Can I get an Amen? Anxiousness is a defense mechanism our mind uses to tell us to protect ourselves from danger or discomfort. So how the heck am I supposed to turn that off? Well, the answer is found in the first commandment, return to joy. When I feel the pressure of anxious thoughts beginning to fill my mind it’s easy to be overwhelmed, but I still have a choice. I can respond to the anxiety by making a reactionary decision in an attempt to find joy in my circumstances (always a disappointing choice), or I can use anxiousness as an alarm clock to remind me of what I am made for, the Presence of God. Thus returning me to the point, joy forged in relationship with Jesus! See how that works? Now, instead of responding to fear, I am using fear to guide me to respond to God. In playing the enemy's hand against him, I can acquire the clarity of truth for my mind, soul, and spirit that can only be provided from Heaven's perspective. This gives me the ability to pray effectively and actually make a difference for the Kingdom I’m destined for. This is the part where the peace of God becomes a guard for hearts and minds.
So let me ask you a question. Are you doing what you are told?