Reading: Philippians 4: 1-9
Verse Five: Let your gladness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Paul has just finished writing about pressing on towards the prize for which God calls us heavenward. He has spoken about those who believe in Jesus having a citizenship in heaven. Paul has written of the glorious transformation that will come – the one that He and other believers eagerly await. Our passage today begins with Paul’s encouragement to “stand firm in the faith”.
Paul quickly shifts gears to plead with two people who appear to be fighting. Paul asks others in the faith community to help them solve their differences and to “agree with each other in the Lord”. Paul then again shifts gesrs, maybe giving evidence if why we should be of one mind. In verse five he writes, “Let your gladness be evident to all. The Lord is near”. As we rejoice in the Lord, it really should be evident to all. And when we feel anxious or begin to worry or doubt, Paul reminds us to take it to the Lord in prayer. He is near so we should quickly go to Jesus in prayer. When we do, we will find that peace which passes all understanding. To summarize: stand firm, be of one mind, rejoice in the Lord, pray often, live in His peace.
Sounds like simple steps. They can be. But at times these simple steps can be so hard. My mind easily returns to that pile of to-do on my desk, to that person I need to visit, to that uncomfortable conversation that needs to happen… At the core of it all is trust. Do I trust God to lead, to give me guidance, to give strength, to give all that is needed for what is at hand? Paul’s advice is good advice: pray. In all things, turn it over in prayer. When I do, I find His peace.
Paul concludes today’s Word with things to fill our minds with that remind us that He is near. These are things that keep us close to God and that keep our gladness evident. Paul calls upon us to think of whatever is true… noble… right… pure… lovely… admirable… He is calling us to think of God in Jesus Christ. When we choose to keep our minds on Jesus, we are ever reminded that “the Lord is near”. When Jesus Christ is near, peace and joy are close as well. This day, may we rejoice in the Lord!