The words of Philippians 4:4-7 are extremely challenging but incredibly freeing all at the same time.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Let’s dissect this sentence and really think about what it is saying… Rejoicing in the Lord could also be reworded as “finding joy in who God is and what He has done for you”. What does this command imply? That rejoicing in the Lord is a choice that we have the ability to make!
We can’t ignore the last word of that command, always. At first thought, unceasingly finding our joy in God probably seems impossible, but that is why God gave us the Holy Spirit! He knew that in our own strength, we could never be obedient to this command, and because He loves us so much, He wanted to help.
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
Another way this verse is written is “let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do”. At first read, this command may feel like an invitation to perform for the people around you. However, if we look at the verse through the heart of God, it becomes evident that we are being asked to “put the interests of others above our own”, not to be considerate for the approval of man.
Do not be anxious about anything… but in every situation, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
This verse is so freeing! We not only don’t have to worry, but Paul is commanding us to not be anxious. Instead, as followers of Christ, we have the freedom to replace every anxious thought with thanking God that He works everything for good, no matter the outcome. Paul is suggesting that we move from thinking about something that makes us anxious to thanking. God will be faithful. He will NEVER leave nor forsake you.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Finally, the promise. Although this promise is conditional, it is not exclusive. Anyone who surrenders their anxiety to God and instead begins to give thanks will experience the peace of God.
Some say that college presents the most opportunities to be anxious; but from Paul’s perspective, college really presents more opportunities to experience the peace of God by taking steps of faith.