Philippians 4:4-9: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
It has been my understanding and my feeling, as I am out and about, that people are struggling. They are having trouble processing the mess that our society is in. Because of that, we meet a lot of negative, angry, rude, and grumpy people! There is road rage, unbelievable violence, and depression, and people are distraught and dismayed. Generally speaking, people are anxious. Yet, in Philippians 4:4-9, it admonishes the believer in Christ to rejoice in the Lord! It tells us twice in Philippians 4:4 “to rejoice”, but how do we get to the place where we can “rejoice in the Lord always”? From these verses, I find seven pathways to rejoicing in the Lord.
- Be calm. Verse 5 of Philippians 4 says: “Let your moderation be known unto all men…”. Another word for moderation is temperance. Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23, and it means “self-control, calmness, to become less intense, to avoid extremes”. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have self-control so that we become less intense and avoid extremes! One of the pathways to joy is to be calm. If we tell others that we are a Christian, that we read our Bible, that we go to church, and then we are not calm in front of them, they are not going to believe that God is in control of our lives!
- Be comforted. The last part of verse 5 says: “…The Lord is at hand.” In other words, the Lord is near to us. It says in Hebrews 13:5-6: “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” The Bible tells us over and over again that the Lord is near, He is close, He is at hand. That should give us comfort and security. We are never alone. Our second pathway to joy is to draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto us. He will comfort us.
- Be careful for nothing. That is to say, do not be full of care. It is alright to have care, but it is not alright to be full of care. The Bible says in I Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. There are things we have to care about such as our family and job, but we are not to be overwhelmed with the things of this world. It is alright to have some anxiety, but don’t be full of anxiety!
- Be prayerful. It says in Philippians 4:6: “…but in every thing by prayer and supplication…”. The word “supplication” means “earnest prayer requests, your humble petitions”. We need to pray earnestly unto the Lord. We should be humble and sincere when we pray. Have a prayer request list! We then need to leave it with Jesus and rejoice that He will take care of it.
- Be thankful. It also says in verse 6 of Philippians 4: “…with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Count our blessings! (I Thessalonians 5:18.)
- Be thoughtful. Focus our thoughts on good things! Don’t dwell on the bad.
- Be fulfilling. We need to fulfill our duty as a Christian!