Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We now live in a technical age where we are constantly wired to the internet. We can connect through our PC, lap-top, blackberry, iPod or smart phone. Technology has exploded over the past few years. Our calendars continue to be filled to the brim with appointments and activities. We seem to be running non-stop until we drop. Stress has become a normal factor in life. Is it possible to be continually joyful? Can you “always” be joyful? Most people really don’t enjoy life, they endure it. Their lives are filled with stress and there’s very little room for joy. But here in the 4th chapter of the book of Philippians the Apostle Paul talks about being joyful in life. In verse 4 he says: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! God’s Word translation says it this way: “Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful!”
Paul gives us 3 very simple and profound statements on how we can choose joy in our lives. 1)”Do not be anxious about anything.” Without a doubt Paul is saying that worry should not be a part of our lives. Worry kills joy and is a major source of stress in our lives. Jesus tells us we are to rely on God and approach one day at a time. Worry is to have no place in our lives. I think this is the hardest command to obey.
2)”In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” What Paul is saying is don’t worry but pray. When you stop worrying you free up a lot of time. What can you do with all that free time, Pray. What should we pray about? Paul tells us “everything” because God is interested in everything in your life. Take your worries to the Lord when you pray. Prayer is a tremendous way to release pressure.
3) In verse 6 we see the word “thanksgiving”. God wants us to be thankful. He wants us to have an attitude of gratitude because this is the healthiest human emotion. Each of us needs to have a grateful heart. Ungrateful people tend to be unhappy people. Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) tells us: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Develop the attitude of gratitude and see how it affects your stress level.
What happens if we follow these 3 steps? Paul says in Philippians 4:7 (NIV) ”And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There is a promise in this verse that you will be given peace “which surpasses all understanding” and it will guard your heart and mind. It is a gift that cannot be explained, duplicated, or fabricated. It is a peace which only God can give.
During your time of prayer and fasting what’s got you worried? What’s got you stressed out? Finances? Your health? Your wealth? Your kids? Your career? When we have to choose worry or joy, choose joy!