All of us love Philippians 4:6&7, “6 Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” What wonderful verses they are! However, for us to end up living in His peace that passes all understanding, we start in the wrong place. God wants us to start back in verses 4&5 and end up in verse 8&9 which usually get bypassed in our journey to claim the goodness and power of verses 6&7.
In 4:4, Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Nehemiah gives us a hint why this verse is so important. “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah 6:10. Joy has great currency in the spiritual world. Take a look at the following verses from Psalm. Once you read them, it’s easy to recognize why rejoicing/joy is so important at the beginning of spiritual battle:
- Psalm 95:1, “Come, let’s shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly (rejoice) to the rock of our salvation!”
- Psalm 20:5, “Let us shout for joy (rejoice) at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May the Lord fulfill all your requests.” When you genuinely rejoice in faith, “fulfillment” comes with your request. Can you imagine how much the devil hates to hear God’s people rejoicing in Him.
- Psalm 21:1, “Lord, the king finds joy in your strength. How greatly he rejoices in your victory!”
Now, let’s move to verse 4:5, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” When a person is gentle, he/she is settled with God in control of their being. The Lord loves a gentle spirit. I love how Psalm 25:5 describes a gentle spirit, “a gentle tongue can break a bone.” Gentleness is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. When you let gentleness have its way, you are living in the fullness of His Spirit. Paul exclaims with joy and gentleness inhabiting your being, “THE LORD IS NEAR.”
In verses 8&9, He tells us how to remain in peace. In verse 8, Paul explains, “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things” and not the things in this chaotic, ruthless world focused on the flesh, and all of its shallow pride and selfishness. In verse 9, Paul tells us to practice our faith. The results of your mind dwelling on Him and walking out the things of God is “ the God of peace will be with you”…the peace that passes understanding (v.7).
So, don’t go straight to vs. 6&7 to stand in God’s wonderful peace. Start with rejoicing, then recognize the strength of gentleness realizing “God is near”. Lastly, dwell on the things of God and practice His presence. Life in abundancy will be yours.