“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.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
Continuing, Paul then reminds us the LORD IS NEAR, or could be translated “close at hand”. God is literally commanding us to not be anxious about ANYTHING, in EVERY situation. Dismissing as impossible gives our Creator little credit. God loves us beyond our human and sin natured ability to fully understand this as He, time after time furnishes us with ways to receive His love supernaturally. His words are infallible and trustworthy and by our own free will we decide whether to pursue this lofty goal. In the spirit of transparency, the verse took years for me to unwind and I am still “being made holy” as it goes. God’s instructions come replete with His promises.
BY PRAYER and SUPPLICATION (Petition). We know what prayer is and the more habitual we are about this the more we know about God’s plans for us. Jesus supplication gives a good feel for what this looks like: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save him from death, and HE WAS HEARD because of his reverent submission.” Hebrews 5:7 NIV. There is much supporting Scripture to underline why God instructs us to pray in a way that will bear to Him what is on our hearts and admit our condition is grave without Him. This verse additionally gives substance to any Christian’s claim to be transformed into the image of Christ.
“With thanksgiving” caps this commandment before Paul lays out the benefits. If we have successfully “rejoiced” (we do this by praise, worship, remembering Him and service to others), live by our “gentleness to all” (our relationship with God is evident to others in our reborn nature) and we have fervently told God what is on our hearts in a fashion that admits we are desperate without Him, we now thank God we have found the place where HE IS NEAR, HE IS AVAILABLE and most importantly, HE WILL ANSWER. When we know these things, it becomes easier to continue thanking Him for many things we overlook, the very air we breath, the shelter we have over us, the food on our table, the times we may have been healed or rescued from danger, the good health of our children. ……to be continued……
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