4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
For some children, all sorts of situations cause worry. They have paralyzing fear about homework, schedules, and teachers. They agonize whether they are going to fail a test or have friends to sit by in the cafeteria. The fear can even make them physically ill. Psychologists say the cause of anxiety disorders in children is both biological and conditional. Some children are more prone to being shy or perfectionists, and these tendencies show up during the school years when pressures increase. Anxiety disorders are not limited to children, but also plague countless adults.
In our discussion about our self-image and identity, we often focus on external characteristics like appearance or possessions or accomplishments. But what about internal issues that threaten to derail our secure identity in Christ?
Today’s passage in Philippians is worth committing to memory, for it offers advice for those who are anxious in spirit. It begins with a command, “Rejoice!” (v. 4). The command may seem puzzling, worry has just been mentioned. When are we to “rejoice”? The answer is “always.” But the source of our rejoicing is not found in ourselves or our circumstances, but “in the Lord” (v. 5). Our lives are embedded and transformed in Christ. We are not our old selves.
The reason we can rejoice is found in verse 5: “the Lord is near.” God is near to you today. He knows you and your circumstances. He knows what you will do and say. He goes before you. Therefore, the next verse makes sense. “Do not be anxious about anything” (v. 6). This is perhaps the best advice that can be given. We can tell everything to God—even all of our worries. God is the only one who can see the future. He is the only one who can truly help. In return, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7). What better news can we get? The peace of God is ours.
TODAY ALONG THE WAYIn order to find peace, we have to spend time in the presence of God. Too often we fill our lives with talking, reading, or doing something. Today, meet with God in silence. Close your eyes and meditate on His character. Be still, and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10). You can cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Not only does He care, but He is all-powerful and able to bear any burden. Allow the peace of God to calm your anxious heart.
Rejoice in the Lord today!!!