Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
How wonderful is this passage! It has several different topics, hence the title. Let's begin!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Amen to that! :D A key word in this phrase is 'always' - always means... well, always. It's hard to rejoice always - through hard times, during sad times, when people are being mean to you, etc. But when we have the joy of the Lord as our strength, we can rejoice in the Lord. We can be thankful and rejoice about all the blessings He has given and provided us. When the Bible says something more than once, it really and truly means it. The emphatic word 'rejoice' is used (according to Bible Gateway in the NASB version) 191 times in the Bible. I used NASB, but several other versions come up with multiple hits:
That is a LOT! That's an average 205 times the word 'rejoice' is used in the Bible. I mean, I didn't take it in Greek/Hebrew, which would be more accurate, but still..
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
Gentle spirit, slow to anger, ready to help....
The Lord is near.
The Lord IS near! He is always with us, and as yesterday's passage noted, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR FORSAKE YOU.' says the Lord.'
Be anxious about nothing,
N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Comprendes? The next section explains why...
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
By prayer, by supplication, and with thanksgiving - God hears our cries for help, and He is in control. By all means, this does NOT mean we should just sit around and chill and expect money to come in the mail to pay the bills. No, of course not! We should work for what we need, but we can also ask God to supply for our needs because we know He will (needs vs. wants....)!
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is comforting for me! In this day and age, as a young lady, I truly want the peace of God to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. His peace is amazing - it surpasses all comprehension (then again, how sleeping works still stumps scientists, but...). I have given my heart to God, and I never want to take it away. He is my true love!
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Whoa, whoa, slow down Paul! We often skip over this because we know what it means. We've read it before, and it's just a whole bunch of whatevers. Right? Wrong.
I'm not a preacher, a Bible teacher, a seminar professor, a Bible major, or anything like that, but as a teen, I see this as the following:
- whatever is true
- whatever is honorable
- whatever is right
- whatever is pure
- whatever is lovely
- whatever is of good repute
- if there is any excellence
- if anything worth of praise
We are to dwell on the above. But go back and read each one - each time you read it, think of the things that you see as 'true' or 'pure' or 'of good repute'. For me, each time Paul adds something, it narrows the selection of things to dwell on. Once you get down to the last one, I'm pretty sure you've eliminated some of your choices.
Because... we should dwell on God's Word. It's true, it's honorable, it's right, it's pure, it's lovely, it's of good repute, it's excellent, it's praiseworthy.
And how exactly should we dwell on God's Word? First of all, by reading it. Then, memorizing passages such as this one, or the others that I've posted here, or even just verses of the day on Biblical sites. If you need ideas for what to memorize, just ask! I enjoy trying to memorize several consecutive chapters. It's really actually very fun!
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Practice these things - the things we have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in Paul. Just read his epistles, and it'll take you a long time to be able to practice all these things! :D
The God of peace be with you..
To God be the Glory