The other night I gained a new perspective on a much-loved Scripture. “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.” (Phil. 4:4-7)
I was reading in Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life by Christi Gee, and she made the comment that the ability to follow the instruction “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (v6) and rest on the promise “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (v7) hinges on the four words at the end of verse 5 “The Lord is near”.
She went on to say, “That changes everything. Faith isn’t based on the evidence of answered prayers but on the promise of a God who hears and is near. Because the Lord is near, we can have a peace that passes all understanding, even when we can’t see the Lord of Hosts’ army surrounding us.” (See 2 Kings 6:16-17)
We were created to glorify God: “whom I created for my glory” (Is. 43:7b), and He stays near to His creation: us! “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:18) As we call upon Him, how can we enter into His presence with anything less than rejoicing? We are to “rejoice in the Lord always” because He is our sovereign Lord, the creator of all that we see and all that we can’t see, and our provider. With that rejoicing and our thankfulness of all that He provides (even trials to strengthen our faith), we can rest in the peace only He can provide while guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. And with that peace, we can allow others to see our gentleness, which is Christ in us (see The Picture of Christ In Me from yesterday).
Whatever you are going through today, I challenge you to enter into His presence with praise, lay your anxious thoughts at the foot of His cross, present your petitions to Him with thanksgiving, and ask for His peace to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, and watch as Christ in you gives you His gentleness for others to behold–a light that will draw others to our Lord. Take a breath, feel His presence and “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34:3). I wish you a peaceful weekend, and will see you back here on Monday!