What is Philippians trying to tell us here? I don't understand this.
NKJV - 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
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Philippians 4:4-9, "Rejoice in the LORD always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The LORD is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD; & the peace of GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart & minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue & if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned & received & heard & saw in me, these do, & the peace of GOD will be with you." As Paul is directing his admonitions to the believers in Philippi, so too we are counseled in the same way. Rejoice in the LORD always. In all things, our thoughts must be of GOD, of His delightfulness, of His grace & His love. No matter what circumstances we are in, no matter how much sorrow or heaviness of heart tries to overwhelm us, it is not only our privilege, it is our duty to keep our hearts & minds stayed on Him, rejoicing in Him always. Rejoicing in Him comforts our souls. And if we, as born-again believers in Christ can't have a life filled with the joy of the LORD, no one can! Gentleness & good temper towards our brothers in Christ. When we are truly rejoicing in Him, the sweetness of His favor is like the nectar that draws the bees to the flowers. When we keep our hearts & minds stayed on Him, rejoicing in the favor that He has bestowed on us, we are an attraction to those who need Him the most. For the LORD surely is at hand & we should have an expectation of His arrival that surpasses anything else. That fact alone should be our greatest joy! I have a friend who has withdrawn nearly all of his money from the bank because he believes a bank failure is on the horizon. He told me that I should do the same. During the depression, several banks were devastated when there was a run on their holdings. People, reacting in fear, withdrew all of their money. Sadly, the truth is, the money they withdrew was nearly worthless. Not because of the bank, but because of the entire economy. Are we facing that today? I don't know, but I do know that my LORD tells me to be "anxious for NOTHING" & if I keep my heart & mind stayed on Him, "by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving", His peace through Christ Jesus will guard my heart & mind. Is the world heading for a far greater "depression" than that of 1932, I don't know that either. But I do know that His Word promises me, promises all of us, that as the faithful believers in Christ Jesus, beyond all understanding, our hearts & minds will be protected. And when the fears that are being promoted by so many try to assail our mind, Paul said to meditate on the things that are true, noble, just, PURE & LOVELY. Things that are of "good report", virtuous & praiseworthy, these are the things that should occupy our minds! Paul said that the things that we have learned, received & heard, that is the Word of GOD, if we meditate on those things, rejoicing in Him, GOD's peace will be with us. 2 Corinthians 4:6 comes to my mind & it is in it's "brilliance" that His Word shines forth: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." What cause do we need beyond the "knowledge of the glory of GOD in the face of Jesus Christ" to keep us rejoicing always!
This verse is a continuation of the book of Philippians. Paul is writing to encourage the Philippians. What the verse means to me is that he knows because he knows them that they are saved and followers of Christ. For this reason, any trials or tribulations should not matter. They have proven their belief by good deeds and generosity. Jesus will reward them for their belief and this is reason to celebrate. My paraphrase of the verse would be: "Be Happy! Dare I to say it again, Be Happy! Celebrate knowing Jesus and let the world see Jesus in you and the gentle spirit he has instilled in you. He is coming soon. Look forward to the day!
My opinion is that we must never be stressful out in anything (Philippians 4:4-6a). The way we do that is pray. We must rejoice when we are persecuted because Jesus commanded His followers in Matthew 5:12, "Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way." And we are commanded by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Always rejoice."
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