Our human nature is to wallow. Those moments where we are so sad we can barely pick ourselves up off the (fill in the prone position of choice…bed, floor, ground, grass…) and move forward in life. So, how is it that some of us continue on to the next moment?
Most of the time, my answer to that is, “I don’t know…I don’t know how I get up every day and figure out how I’ll follow my daily schedule. I just don’t know.”
In these saddest of happy days, I somehow remembered a sermon regarding Philippians 4.
How is it that Paul can tell us to rejoice…all the time? Wait, he says it like this (and then some): 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 every situation, 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.
I have to dissect. Verse 4 says not only Rejoice in the Lord, but Rejoice in the Lord *always*. Not just when happy things are happening…but ALWAYS. How do I rejoice today? I know someone who passed away at 40 yrs old (geez, I’m 10 yrs older than that). And, left a wonderful wife…great person, she is a doll. And…not just a wife but two children under 18 yrs old! How do I rejoice in the Lord when this has occurred?
I think that in verse 5, after he commands us to be consciously and obviously gentle, Paul explains how we can rejoice. “The Lord is near.” Now, those of you who are not believers OR have a hard time believing are going to say, “Why in the world would THAT make me rejoice?” It all comes from the fact that the belief is BEYOND what we see on TV and hear in the news. Belief is not religion. Belief is that we have been saved, and that beyond this short, transitory life….there is the true promise. The promise that we will transition into life eternal.
This world is exactly that. The world. Of human shortcomings and the trappings of the evil one. It’s temporary…our time here in the big cosmos is so brief. But one day, when it is our time to be with Christ, we will also be with the ones we love, the ones we’ve lost. Friends, families…I personally believe pets too…so darn it, I’m gonna be covered in greyhounds.
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 every situation, 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.
When Dad passed, I wondered how we would get along, how any of us would ever Rejoice again. And, to be quite honest…some days, rejoicing is downright difficult. There are just times that I don’t WANT TO WAIT until I go to be with Jesus that I get to see my dad again. That’s my humanity. I have to do a few things to keep my faith. They are:
- Pray. Paul says so in verse 6. Oh, many others say it too…but we’re talking about Philippians 4 here. Pray. Present your requests, your petitions to God. My prayer, my petition – it’s simple. “Lord Jesus, Savior, Brother, Friend – intercede on our behalf to bring us closer to you. As we intensify our walk with You, remind us daily that this is not the end but just the beginning. Remind us that we are not in control, but God our Heavenly Father is. Remind us to put our trust in him.”
- Fix our eyes on Jesus. Says so right there in the previous sentence. When I lose that focus, I start to stray from everything that is good and pure. Everything that feeds the hope I have in humanity…yes, I do have hope in humanity…we were made in God’s image so we’ve ALL got good in us. What’s the line? I am made in God’s image, and God don’t make no junk. Fix your eyes on Jesus…stay the course. The rewards are immense.
- Rest. Rest my mind, my heart, my soul, my being…safe in the knowledge that my faith has bought my redemption. I truly am saved, as I believe Christ Jesus is my savior and redeemer. And, I know that my redeemer lives.
- Repent. Yeah, I’ve got to do this one constantly. I make mistakes and must ask forgiveness…and try not to mess up like that again. But I will. And then I’ll repent. I will return to the foot of the Cross and ask for his blood to continue to wash me clean.
- This is the big one – it’s where MY PEACE that passes all understanding comes from. Love one another as Christ has loved us. Look without judgement, fear, hatred, loathing, envy…all those “fruits” of the evil one. Look at your “neighbor” and say, “I love you – agape love.”
Oh, there’s so much more. But in rejoicing, in reminding myself of the abundant Life I have in Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, and my Friend – well…I lift my eyes to Heaven and Thank Him who has made me, and given me all the true blessings of my life.
You, those of you who are reading this…and those of you who skipped…you are blessings in my life.