devotion 9-29-15

Philippians 4:4 – 7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Rejoice always! No wonder commentators call this Paul’s letter of joy, even though it was written from prison. The word “rejoice” is repeated throughout the letter. Paul rejoices, even though he is in prison. He rejoices in their faith, in their love for him, in the spread of the gospel even through his imprisonment. Now he tells them that they as well should rejoice. The troubles he has just spoken, the dissension between Euodia and Syntyche, should be resolved and the church kept on track, but these problems should not disturb their joy – that joy is in the Lord, is in their faith.

And as they live in a deep and abiding faith, reflected in joy, their gentleness and love for others should be evident in their lives. The Lord is always near them – they need not worry. Instead, they should bring their troubles and their problems in prayer to God, and with thanksgiving, let God know their needs. And when they live this way, the peace of God will live in their hearts and minds, and guard them. Such peace surpasses understanding, for Jesus walks beside and with them, is a part of them. The peace comes from him – and thus exceeds all worries and problems.

These are words that Paul could certainly have written to us. It is easy to get wrapped up and lost in the worries of the day. But we should give those things to God – do our part, under his guidance, and give him the parts we cannot control, and let them go! Let our love and gentleness be evident to all around us. And then, God’s peace will live in our hearts, and Jesus himself will walk with us, even through dark places.

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