Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:4-6
Such meat in these few little verses. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. It has always fascinated me, how all these concepts flow together: Rejoicing, gentleness, anxiety, thanksgiving and prayer.
The most fascinating part though, comes after these few phrases.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7
I love that peace is the result of those principles. And it’s not just peace, but peace that passes all understanding.
Understanding. Knowledge. Common sense. Thoughts. Our minds. These things all are transcended by peace. Even when our mind tells us otherwise, peace is what guards it from anxiety, through our presenting our requests and petitions to God.
Interestingly, our mind is exactly what Paul speaks to next.
Finally [sisters], 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. ~ Philippians 4:8
Then, he again promises: “And the peace of God will be with you.” vs. 9
What we do with our minds, what we dwell on and are thankful for, these things matter to our spirit. Focusing on these things, free of anxiety and full of thanksgiving, allows us a peace that transcends all that we may ponder. Even to the point that it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world.
We can find this knowledge/peace/thankful combination elsewhere in scripture. Another one of my favorite passages, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as member of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…” Colossians 3:15-16
Again, we find these concepts mixing together. Our thoughts, what we learn about, what we gain wisdom in, what we are thankful for: these things are the avenue to finding that peace that can rule our hearts.
In a time when anxiety over the state of our world is at a high point, when there are so many possible reasons to ponder the opposite of that concise list in Philippians 4: 9, we have guidance of how to avoid being seeped in anxiety. Prayer. Petition. Thanksgiving. God’s words.
May the peace of God guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus these days.